Johnathan Bowman is a successful international showjumper and runs his own Riding School and Academy. He is also an ambassador for Raging Bull and loves nothing more than getting the chance to slip on one of our Tweed jackets.
When did you first start to ride and are you from a ‘horsey’ background?
I was just two years old when first put on a horse at the local riding school. I am not from a horsey background at all and in fact had two older sisters who were heavily into drama, so I got dragged to all their productions. It was at one show, which was Snow White I think, that backstage there were some horses and as a tiny tot I just fell in fell in love. My parents must have recognised that so took me off to have a go- even at that tender age.
As my big sisters were taken along for all sorts of auditions I ended up being thrust into one and got the part. I was about 6 at the time and I remember I had to play a Tudor schoolboy kicking a ball around in the street. The upside from this was I used my fee to buy Caramel, my first pony.
Was it difficult to get into actual show jumping competitions?
I started competing around the age of 7 years in local village shows and loved it. That first rosette is always a highlight! I must have had some talent because I remember graduating seamlessly to jumping and doing quite well. I was selected to compete internationally for England which was an awesome honour and I ended up competing at events in Belgium and Ireland.
Do you still compete?
I do indeed still compete internationally as a senior. I love representing my country and it is such a proud moment when our national anthem is played at these events. I have around x15 horses that I ride competitively - mostly 4 – 6 year olds with some wonderful horses coming through. I have high hopes for a beautiful 4-year-old French bred mare called Emotion who looks a wonderful prospect.
It is a big step from riding to teaching in your own academy – how did that happen?
When I was growing up I never dreamed I could make a living from riding but at a British Horse Society training establishment they suggested I did my teaching exams. Forward wind a few years and here I am doing something I love as my full time job.
Once I was qualified, I decided to set up my own Riding School. I teach all standards but also run an academy for around 30/40 riders who really take it seriously and want to progress within the sport with properly structured training
So what does a usual day look like for you?
My day revolves around my horses as I ride every single day. A typical day would be to get to the yard at 7.00 am in the morning and ride 3 different horses, then teach at around 9.30 for a few hours followed by riding another 4 horses. After that I could be teaching from 2.00 until 5.00 pm.
When you get away from riding what do you get up to?
My leisure time as you can imagine is very, very limited especially as I am a proud dad to little Charlie who is just 14 months old. Charlie, of course, got introduced early to horses and has his own pony - Rupert. The way Charlie holds the reins I can see, even at this age, that he has already got lovely soft hands. My wife and I also got him a rocking horse which as you can imagine is his favourite toy.
One day out I do have is when I take clients to the Cheltenham Races which is just a brilliant day and gives me a chance to wear my Raging Bull tweed jacket.
You are an ambassador for Raging Bull – how did that come about?
Phil Vickery’s wife Kate is a real horse person and I met Phil through her. Chatting to Phil, who was kind enough to come and hand out some awards at my school, led to me trying the clothes which I loved and that led to me becoming one of their ambassadors.
So, what is it about the clothes you like and name your favourite outfit?
I do get the chance to change out of my riding clothes occasionally and I love dressing smartly for Awards ceremonies or client events and this is where Raging Bull comes into its own. The good quality and really subtle styling details appeal to me and I love wearing one of the jackets teamed up with their chinos and a crisp cotton shirt. I really like the small detailing you get with RB such as the button holes and pocket handkerchief on the jacket and the little bull logo on the sweaters.