A veteran equestrian rider says her horse "gives her a reason to get up in the morning" - and has written it into her will.

Jacky Chandler said she thought her career was over after her mare Honey died shortly before the Covid pandemic but rescued her current horse Banjo and revitalised her career at 77.

Now Jacky, the oldest person to qualify for equestrian World Championships with Team GB, said that having always loved horses, she has written Banjo into her will so he is cared for when she passes away.

Jacky, from Blackboys village near Uckfield, said: “I’ve always loved having horses, but when I lost my husband in 2003, that was when it became a bigger part of my life.

"I moved to a yard closer to my home in East Sussex and met a Skill at Arms instructor - who would change my fate.

“Skill at Arms is a series of competitive disciplines inspired by military equestrians. I entered competitions across the globe with my lovely mare Honey for a long time, until she sadly passed away about seven years ago.


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"I didn’t get another horse thinking my riding career was over, but when Covid hit I felt like I was waiting for God, so I rescued my Banjo.”

Jacky grew up in Blackboys and took part in her first donkey race aged four, kicking off a love of animals that has lasted nearly 75 years.

After losing a horse in 2017, Jacky initially stopped riding but purchased Banjo from a horse trainer in Gloucestershire, after he was found by a Welsh horse dealer. 

After rescuing Banjo, Jacky began competing with him in equestrian competitions.

To prevent Banjo being left without an owner in the future, Jacky wrote Banjo into her will through the Harry Hall One Club, meaning that if she were to pass away Banjo would be cared for.

Liz Hopper, managing director of Harry Hall, said: "This will help to save beloved equines from uncertain futures that could include being abandoned or forgotten."