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The importance of a good home rider – with Darragh Kenny

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. Darragh Kenny. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


Text © World of Showjumping



As the calendar once again is filled with shows, and most riders are away from home for the majority of each week, WoSJ wanted to look closer at the importance of having a good home rider. Is it possible for the riders to keep their horses in top shape without one? Which qualities do the riders look for in a home rider and is it possible to find the perfect person to take care of the horses at home? Darragh Kenny is the first rider out to answer our questions. 

“A good home rider is very important; and you need someone that you can trust and rely on," Kenny says. 

In the business we are in, the home rider is one of the most important members of our staff. 

"As international riders, we are mostly away at shows from Wednesday afternoon until Sunday, and somebody has to ride the horses at home during that period of time. My horses normally get Saturdays off, but there are still three days they need to be ridden when I am not there,” Kenny says. 

“I personally want a home rider that works the horses consistently. I don’t want anyone that works the horses very hard one day and hardly at all the other day," Kenny points out. "I believe consistency is one of the keys to a healthier and happier horse. I also don’t want anyone being hard on the horses, they don’t need – or deserve – that. So, I’m looking for someone that really cares about the horses and how they feel."

I prefer a rider that rides a bit similar to me, to keep the program the same for the horses.

"The most important for me in the flatwork is to get the horses to relax, stretch in the body and work in a nice and happy way – and I want a home rider that has the same idea," Kenny says. "I definitely don’t want someone who works too hard or strong with them, so they are tired and unhappy when I come back.”

“I don’t believe it is possible to do the top sport properly without a good home rider. We depend on having a home rider that can work the horses to keep them fit, but also that feels if the horse is a bit tired and then would give them an easy day. We need someone that can keep our horses happy and motivated when we are not there,” the Irish rider points out.

“It is actually very difficult to find a good home rider. To find someone that really cares about the horses; how they are feeling in terms of fitness and energy, if they are sound as well as how happy they are. I want someone that talks with the horses and really cares for them," Kenny says. 

To find that someone, that wants to put that level of effort into the horses to get them in the right place, without competing themselves, is not easy.


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