Many of you may remember the foray with fame enjoyed in the 1990s by dreadlocked Londoner Oliver Skeete, who earned countless television appearances and print space on the back of his novel bid to showjump at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
A former motor mechanic, bouncer and footballer, Oliver only began riding aged 36 after “getting bored” watching his daughters learning at Ealing Riding School and was immediately hooked. He sold the family car to buy a horse and within a year had started showjumping competitively.
“My two daughters were five and eight and I took them to Ealing Riding School one summer,” Oliver Skeete tells H&H. “I was watching, getting bored, so I decided to have a go myself. The first horse I sat on nearly chucked me off, but I fell in love with it. Because I couldn’t do it – I really was useless – that’s what did it for me, I wanted to get better.”
Oliver bought his daughters a pony each and learned everything from mucking out to grooming.
“I then bought a cob called Odd Job – he was definitely PC Plod!” says Barbados-born Oliver. “But I learnt on him and my daughters carried on riding until they were teenagers.”
Soon Oliver had…