The next in my series of lockdown mini-interviews is with Newmarket-based Bubby Upton.
So, my name is Bubby Upton (real name Isabelle) and I’m 22 years old (March 2021).
I live at my family home just outside Newmarket, where I have lived my whole life and that’s where my first riding memories are.
Alongside my riding commitments, I am also in my 3rd year studying Sports Management at Edinburgh University. A lot of people think I’m absolutely mad when I tell them this, as do I some of the time (!!), but I have always loved my academics, which is something a lot of people don’t know about me I’m sure.
I’m not from a very horsey background, with my mum being the only one that’s really interested in horses. But my family have been the most incredible support for me over the years and I owe a lot to each of them for all that they’ve done for me.
Alongside my mum, who essentially holds the fort together when I’m studying at University, I have been lucky enough to have the most amazing grooms and support team over the years who I have put so much trust in and have therefore made the juggling act and time management of University and horses a lot easier.
Katie Dutton has recently joined my team as Head Girl, so the horses and I are very lucky to have her onboard.
I am always learning, and I take great pleasure in learning. Therefore, I’m a big believer in the fact that you can learn something from everyone. And although I have a core group of trainers, who I have so much trust and belief in, I have been lucky enough to have lessons over the years from a variety of different people who have each contributed to my toolbox of knowledge, such as Scott Brash.
Since 2018 I started training with Tina Fletcher for jumping and she has been a huge part of my career and development as a rider. And I also train with John Ledingham when he’s over in the UK for jumping too.
For dressage, I have trained with Judy Harvey since 2012. I owe a lot to Judy as both her training and overall support throughout the years have been invaluable and knowing that she’s at the end of the phone for me provides me with great reassurance. And I also started training with Ian Woodhead last season.
I have been lucky enough to represent my country five times at the Youth European Championships and to win seven European Championship medals.
Each time I have ridden for my country it has been a huge honour, as it was a childhood dream of mine. But the highlights have to have been my Gold medals in 2017 and 2019, as hearing the National Anthem being played for you on the podium is a feeling like no other. I am also very proud to have won the Star of The Future Award in 2019, awarded by HRH Princess Anne.
I feel very fortunate to have had such happy past memories and successes with some very special horses, however I don’t want my success to be defined by what I have achieved in my youth career and therefore I am striving daily to achieve my future goals.
It’s actually been a bit of a bonus for me as it's meant that all my University studies have been put online and so I don’t have to commute every week back and forth from Edinburgh to Newmarket. I think I am one of the very few people who are able to say that though!!
I’m really looking forward to the 2021 season and the ultimate goal is to make my 5* debut, which I am working very hard to achieve.
COLA III, CANNAVARO and MAGIC ROUNDABOUT IV will all hopefully campaign at 4* level, which will be a step up for Magic, with the aim of getting them all qualified for 5*.
I also have two lovely six-year-olds to campaign this season, IT’S COOLEY TIME and DHI HEVESKA, whose aim will be the Six-year-old Championships and a seven-year-old, COOLEY AS ICE, whose aim will be the Seven-year-old Championships.
I am genuinely so excited about each of them, so I hope they will all be ones to watch in their own way. But after the way COOLEY AS ICE performed at the Six-year-old Championships in 2020 to finish 3rd, I am so excited to see how he steps up to Intermediate and 3* this season.
I have always loved the horse Springpower, so I’m intrigued to see how he performs this season.
Tim and Jonelle Price have also taken on a few new rides over the winter, such as Vitali previously ridden by James Avery, so I’m excited to follow their success.
Finally, a horse I rode last season called GRAVEUR has just been sold to a top US rider, so I can’t wait to follow his progress and see what their future holds as a partnership.