Meet Graham Lovegrove

Graham enjoyed a great pony and young rider career but then took time out running a business before returning to show jumping and enjoyed winning at 4* grand prix level with several horses, including Tin Tin, Alfie 192, Pandur & Val Blanc Van Het Panishof. Originally from Essex, Graham now lives with partner Louise Saywell in Nottinghamshire.

Age started riding: I was nine. I had a motorbike, my sister had a pony, Dad took me motorbiking and Mom went to shows with my sister, splitting the family up at weekends. Something had to give, and they were never going to sell the pony!

First horse/pony: Cashan, bought for me and not a hand-me-down - a proper, 11hh gymkhana pony and amazing around the bending poles.

Best win: I have to have two, both with Pandur (a former ride of Nick Skelton) – the Grand Prix in Maubeuge, France, and the Potimao, Portugal, 4* GP, my first 4* GP.

Best horse: Pandur without a doubt. See above, nothing else comes close.

Horse you’d most like to ride: Hickstead. He was so athletic and an out-and-out winner.

Equestrian hero: Nick Skelton. I watched him on TV at HOYS and Olympia and always wanted to be Nick.

Alternative career: From aged 22 – 30 I didn’t ride as I had a plant hire firm, I’d still be doing that if I hadn’t got back on a horse. From 18 – 20-years-old I was very ill with Crohn’s Disease and I still have to watch what I eat and drink, although a glass of red wine helps and makes me more comfortable.

Show Jumping ambition: I don’t have any for myself anymore, I want to see Louise (Saywell, partner) reach the top. Before, it was my own targets, now I want Louise to be as successful as possible.

Favourite song: Eminem, Guess Who’s Back. I listen to this a lot when I’m going to jump in an important class, it gets my head right.

Ideal dinner party guests: Friends from the village Amy & Dave, a Ferrari car dealer and fantastic to spend an evening with; If Louise wasn’t there (frown from Louise!) it’d have to be [singer] Anastacia, she has gone through such a lot, Crohn’s Disease and breast cancer; Muhammad Ali would be amazing; and as story-telling goes, Mick Saywell isn’t at all bad!

Photos © Wikimedia Commons, LGCT/Stefano Grasso and Jumping Around