When our client Ben James bought warmblood mare Diva three years ago, it was with a future career as a broodmare in mind rather than as a dressage horse.  That plan changed when he realised how talented she was. 

Spotting potential

Diva had been backed and ridden as a 4 year old and then did very little for the next 3 years. Ben, who previously showjumped, switched to competing in dressage 3 1/2 years ago and saw the potential in Diva.  With three lovely paces and a willing temperament, Ben realised that her planned career as a broodmare would need to be put on hold.  Now aged 10, Diva has progressed under Ben’s tutelage to competing in British Dressage at Medium.

Future training goals

In October, they qualified for the Petplan Summer Area Festival Championships at Arena UK, where they competed in the Elementary and Medium classes, finishing an excellent 7th in Elementary.  Ben and Diva are now training at Advanced Medium, working on achieving a more ‘uphill’ carriage, with help from Tessa Thorn. 

Ben, who currently has 8 horses on schooling livery, said: “I really enjoy producing young horses and watching them develop into something special. Although Diva was older when she joined us, she had a presence and has proved to be very talented. We really enjoyed our trip to Arena UK and learned a lot from the experience. Diva recently had her routine teeth rasping with Lucy [Brock] and since then she has improved her way of going and feels fantastic. She is very spoilt and her special treat is bananas – she loves them!”

Follow Ben and Diva’s progress on Ben’s Facebook page, Ben James Dressage.