Thursday 25th of February 2021

Jesse Campbell on preparing for the new season


“I’ve recently returned from Spain where I spent ten days training with Luis Alverez Cevera who is the show jumping coach of the New Zealand Olympic Team and has competed at Olympic level in both Show Jumping and Eventing.

We travelled to Aranjuez, which is Luis’ base just south of Madrid with Kaapachino, Amsterdam, Cleveland, Cosa Nostra and I Spye on the lorry. Luis has stunning facilities and the warm dry weather was a relief after such a long wet winter here. It was great being able to turn the horses out without any rugs and seeing them enjoy the sun on their backs. I went to Spain as I wanted to work intensively on my jump riding and each day I had two lessons so alternated it between the horses.


Luis’ method is based on repetition. He likes things done in a certain way and there’s a lot of detail involved. He’ll find something very small which needs to be addressed every round you do which can be frustrating at times but his training is about being disciplined one hundred per cent of the time. You might think you’ve done a good job, and you’re happy with your round but it might not be how he wants it and he will drill you until you get it right. There was a lot I had to work on but it was a very productive week and I feel I’ve gained a lot from it that will set me up for the season ahead.

With Kaapachino we worked on finding different exercises to help keep him fresh. It would be impossible to revolutionise his technique at this stage in his career, as he’s now 13 with a lot of experience behind him, but we can find exercises to help him improve. His target is the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials at the beginning of May.

Cosa Nostra, a six-year-old, and the five-year-old  I Spye are both young horses and their Spanish experience developed them a huge amount. Cosa Nostra was the only mare on the trip but she’s treated just like the others. I’ve never been a demanding-type of rider, and if a horse makes a mistake, I will just quietly ask again, staying soft and relaxed rather than having a fight and I guess this is why I get on with the mares as well as geldings. Cosa Nostra’s aim is the six-year-old World Young Horse Champions at Le Lion D’Anger later in the year.

I Spye reminds me of Cleveland in many ways. He has a huge engine and he’s a very strong, well-balanced horse that makes him very easy to ride. He’s only a five-year-old so he’ll have a quiet season this year, mainly doing Burghley Young Event Horse classes to give him valuable experience.


We played around with different bits for Amsterdam who’s a ten-year-old. He’s continuing to look like a very exciting prospect at the higher levels. He settled really well in Spain and impressed me with his attitude throughout our time there. He’s a horse who knows what he’s doing.

Cleveland, who’s nine, was also very good and we made just very small changes. The aim with him are some CIC3* classes this season starting at Houghton.

I also train with Grant Wilson and I find his style really compliments Luis. While Luis is very disciplined Grant is very laid back and brings out a bit of flair to the way I ride.

Back home, the horses are starting their canter work and we will also have a session of team training. I will take the horses out to some dressage and showjumping competitions and then it will be all systems go in three weeks time with the season starting for us at Lincolnshire on March 10-13.”

Amsterdamin school

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