From a note on a ‘To Do list’ to a force like no other
“Meet Jess” aka @life_on_the_buckle and find out what makes her tick, plus learn why we have a Brand Ambassador and why Jess Maye.
Jess Maye jumped on board with Country & Stable of Olney (C&S) back in January 2020 and has been a pleasure to work with since. Her witty, fun and addictive personality had us hooked from the start and her character, teamed up with her love for horses and the C&S brand, has been a force like no other.
So why take on a Brand Ambassador? Honestly, until we came across Jess and met her in person, it was really only a note on a ‘to do list’ rather than an urgent task to fulfil. We knew it was something we wanted to do, but it was key we found the right person. Our aim was to reach out to the country & equestrian community through a “real person”; someone who was submerged in the lifestyle already and could provide honest and knowledgeable experiences of both C&S and the products we sell.
Jess initially hit our radar after she entered one of our competitions plus, she would quite often tag us when reviewing products she had purchased from C&S. Her vivacious online presence and entertaining posts quickly caught our eye and we knew then that the note on our ‘to do list’ was now a natural plan in action.
After a few meet ups and informative chats plus the signing of the all-important and unavoidable formalities, Jess became part of the C&S family and swiftly hit the ground running like a pro.
Enough from us, we know you want to hear from Jess herself, here is a fun and informative insight in to Jess via a great Q&A session we had with her during lockdown.
Jess, hit us up with three words that you would use to describe yourself?
Oh, this is tricky! I’m a huge advocate of being kind, so I definitely hope I’m this! I would like to think I’m funny, well I make myself laugh on daily basis. I’m very tenacious, I tend to set myself goals and like a dog with a bone, won’t let it go until it’s achieved.
How old were you when you first became interested in horses and how did it come about?
I first sat in a saddle when I was much smaller, my mum would take my sister and I to ride a cracking pony called Red (I wouldn’t really count it as riding more like bobbing about in the saddle) I must have been about 6 years old. As I grew slightly older, around the age of 10, I would spend the summer holidays in Ireland with my grandma. My grandma signed us up for various activities with one of those being horse riding. Both my sister and I loved it, learning to ride in Ireland was incredible, we had no fear and learnt the traditional way, no reins or stirrups with our eyes closed! We really lived life on the end of the buckle. When we returned home, my mum saw the pure enjoyment it brought us both, so ‘hey presto’ we got our first ponies and let’s just say the rest is history!
How many horses have you owned and dare we ask, any favourites?
Ooooo, so I’ve owned 5 horses in my 20 years of riding and loaned many more. Sid my current boy is my horse of a lifetime, I’ve achieved my wildest dreams on him and he owes me nothing. Thunder is a close second, my Mum now owns him. I call him my slipper, typical sports cob, full of personality but safe as they come. When I’ve had a tricky ride and need to reset the clock, going for a hack on Thunder putting the world to rights is another favourite thing of mine to do.
What disciplines have you tried in the past and do you think you have now found your one?
I’ve tried many disciplines from Eventing, Hunting, Team Chasing, Dressage. I have a massive need for speed so if I had to pick, it would be Team Chasing, I haven’t found anything else quite like it. Those 6 minutes with your team mates out on a course navigating huge hedges with Sid gives me the biggest thrill. The trust you have with your horse is the best feeling.
What Horse brands do you rate and why?
These are my go-to brands:
Ariat, they do the best riding boots on the market, I’ve worn Ariat Bromonts for years and they have never failed me.
Kent & Masters, both my saddles are by them, having interchangeable gullet bars is a life saver for me. They are a quality British brand.
Le Chameau, there is no welly that can compare! I still wear a pair I’ve had for 7+ years. I doubt you’d find another brand to compete with that.
NAF, my go to on supplements and grooming essentials. Every equestrian must have a NAF product somewhere in their tack room. Sid has never looked so bouncy (from his supplement) and shiny.
The ‘day to day’ managing of a horse is no joke, we know from experience it takes a huge amount of dedication. What is the one task you absolutely dread doing when it comes to looking after Sid?
Bathing! If you own a coloured or a grey, say goodbye to lie ins. The poo and wee stains are incredible. I now see why people only buy bays! It’s not too bad in the summer but in the winter at 6am it’s blowing a gale and Sid has a wee stain covering half his body, you have to get it off or you are left with a yellow pony for at least 6 months.
If you could ride any horse, past or present who would it be?
Or animation?! Haha! I love the Disney film Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron. So, it would have to be Spirit – if you haven’t watched it you NEED to. Then you will know why
What do you enjoy most about working with Country & Stable?
I love working with C&S because they really do care about their customers. You can see a lot of passion and dedication is invested in to making sure top customer service is delivered. Their Instagram grid is a testament to that with the #csShareit campaign highlighting all their happy customers. I mostly love being able to provide real and honest reviews on products. I think it’s really important that people trust that me and C&S advocate honest reviews and never ask me to fake a review or make things up, they want to learn from feedback as much as we do. Plus, to top it off, they are a fab team and a huge source of support for both Sid and me.
Photo credit @amycorcoranphoto
What are your Instagram goals and where do you see yourself in five years’ time on the platform?
Not to get banned! Joking! To stay creative and produce content that my followers enjoy. I want to love what I’m doing and when I don’t anymore, then that’s the time to hang my boots up. I’m always trying to think outside of the box and not follow the crowd, it’s important to me that I continue that. I’m hoping I’m still “doing me” in 5 years’ time; I’m sure Instagram will be very different by then and I really hope I’ve evolved with it.
You live with your husband and dog, have you ever fancied adding any further furry friends to the household? (Not that we are saying your hubby is hairy or anything!) If so, what would it be?
Definitely not! Chinny our Chihuahua would pack his nap sack up and move out if we introduced a new furry family member. Balancing between Keith, Sid and Chinny is tough enough. I feel our furry family is complete.
When not horse riding or working – what do you enjoy doing?
Eating? Eating is my hobby; I am not afraid to say that. I’m a HUGE foodie. Actually, I am obsessed with good food. I love lunches and nights out with family and friends enjoying delicious food and banging cocktails!
You post some great quotes, but what’s your life mantra?
“Stand up for what you believe in, even if you are standing alone.” I’m so passionate about this, I hate following a crowd and if I see something that’s not right it’s so important to call it out, even when you might be the only one to do this. Shining a light on uncomfortable topics and trying to make a difference by opening up that conversation is something I like to do.
Can you finish off by telling us what positive thinking you revert to when life throws you a curve ball?
When life throws me a curve ball (happens often) I do two things, I try not to overreact – I can be very dramatic sometimes! My life is not over, and I just need to take a deep breath and realise tomorrow is new day. The second thing I do is to get some perspective, it’s OK to feel worried but don’t let it take control. I’m loved, healthy and doing OK, I’ve repeated that often and it helps me level out.