Mention the name Jacky Green in eventing circles and everyone has a story – it’s always a good story and generally about how the pint-sized sassy blonde has helped them.
She’s a Brit but may as well be a Kiwi, and admits she’d probably switch passports in a flash if push came to shove. As the ESNZ high performance United Kingdom administrator, she works alongside all the top Kiwi eventers.
But Jacky grew up around a very different type of horse power. Her father Chris Williams was a motorbike road racer who competed in the Isle of Man TT and Manx races as well as racing vintage bikes.
“I grew up in the world of motorbikes but it is a similar environment to eventing,” says Jacky. “We were on the road every weekend to venues. It too is a dangerous sport that has amazing competitors who accept the risks.”
She co-opted her first pony from her cousin at 13 purely because she could stay on Talisman and said cousin couldn’t.
“We had a donkey on the local farm which we would drag to the top of a hill in South Wales and then take bets as to who could stay on the longest as it bronced its way down.”
Like most horse-mad youngsters, she grew up thinking she would ride at Badminton. “Then suddenly I am in a world where my husband (David Green) is an Olympian and our friends are people like Sir Mark Todd, Andrew Nicholson and Blyth Tait, and I realised I was never going to be good enough!”
It was through Heelan Tompkins and Glengarrick that her Kiwi connection began.
“I adored Glengarrick – or Nugget as we called him. He is my total and utter horse love of my life. I just loved him to bits. I competed him, galloped him at Badminton, rode him in Athens, on the beach in Taranaki and cross country schooled him at Taupo . . . Heelan was so generous like that.”
Maizey Manor in Marlborough was a popular international base over the years she lived there. It was also where her very special friendship with Tim and Jonelle Price started too.
When Faerie Dianimo was just four, Jacky told the couple the horse would go four star. “Everyone laughed at me – she is just a total legend. Classic Moet was a bit of a write-off when she came to me but Jonelle has made her a superstar.”
Jacky says she herself feels she is a bit like a “classic eventer”.
“A Jack of all trades and master of none. I have various talents that add up to a sum of parts but my main back-up is the contacts I have made over the years – and that is invaluable in this job.”
No two days are the same for Jacky.
“I love that. I am basically on call whenever the riders need me, so it might be an early call to swap horses at an event, a query or a re-route or a question . . . anything. I love the outdoors squad training in the summer and grit my teeth along with the riders in the winter.”
Jacky also writes blogs for riders.
“It is a real passion of mine and I am lucky enough to have a fairly free rein as I write them under my name. It’s fun to write about the good times but often much more fun to write about the rubbish times.”
She considers herself the “luckiest” person in the world to work with a great bunch of riders and support crew, but also her “rock”, high performance operations manager Warrick (Allan).
“I simply love being involved with the high performance ethos,” says Jacky. “Everything from the attention to detail to the backing, to the operations schedule . . . it is top level sport with the very best of athletes and that is simply the best scenario in the world.”
She’s heading to WEG in North Carolina this year with the eventers. It is by no means her first, with six under her belt, including 2014 where she was chef d’equipe for the Canadian team.
“WEGs and Olympic Games are the ultimate team competition. That’s the amazing thing about our sport – we go to Badminton, Burghley and Luhmuhlen and others as individuals, but when the opportunity comes up for a team gig, everyone loves it and rallies around.
“Teams are so much more pressure and put much more intensity into the organisation, but it is the pinnacle of our sport. That’s the thing about high performance – competing against the best to be the best.”
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ