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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Money from selling sheep helped Hocking vault from farm to FEI

ABOVE: Jamie Hocking started selling cross-bred sheep and wool to get the money together to compete overseas.

A YOUNG man that hails from the small farming community of Woolsheds, near the Barossa Valley in South Australia, looks like he’s once again going to compete for Australia in the Vaulting Equestrian Team at this year’s FEI World Championships in Denmark.

Jamie Hocking was the first Australian ever to compete at an FEI World Cup Vaulting event and at only 19, managed to place third against some of the world’s best.

He’s always been focussed on what he wants to do.

“When I was nine, I borrowed money from my parents to buy my first 10 breeding ewes and a ram to start a small flock,” he said. “I paid it back slowly over three years.”

He managed to sell several thousand dollars’ worth of his cross-bred sheep and wool and that helped him get to Europe to realise his dream of competing on the international stage and at an FEI World Cup event.

At 25, he spends as much time as he can in Denmark, training under the direction of Lasse Kristensen, one of the best horsemen and vaulting coaches in the world.

“My horse French Kiss, who has been with me since the start, is due to foal and I have a new partnership with a really nice German warmblood gelding owned by Lasse named Sunny (Sunday Song),” he said.

“He has been amazing after only one year of vaulting and is also a high-level team driving horse.

ABOVE: Jamie Hocking and French Kiss at Jamie Hocking and his mare French Kiss at Aachen in 2019. Picture: CHIO Aachen

Hocking said Lasse helped him to be the first Australian to compete in a World Cup Series in Europe in 2018.

“I was rapt just to be there and despite our inexperience, French and I achieved a fairytale result – third in Paris, fourth in Germany and an eighth place World Cup ranking in our very first season,” he said.

“Thanks to the fantastic support from generous family, friends, even fellow athletes and kind strangers I raised just over $10,000 to help fly French and I to the US for the World Equestrian Games.

“This was another Aussie vaulting first – me and French flying to another continent with over 500 European horses from all disciplines – an unforgettable adventure and thrill for French and I to represent Australia at the highest level of international competition.”

Hocking also represented both his own sport and country as a youth ambassador and panellist at the FEI Global Sports Forum in Switzerland in 2018, and in 2019, put back in as Chef d’equipe/team manager to the Australian junior squad when they competed at the World Championships in the Netherlands.

“We are just starting to compete again after Covid stopped most international competitions for two years,” he said.

“It’s been a tough and disappointing time for many athletes but I’ve tried to see it as an opportunity to consolidate our training regimes at home base in Denmark.

“Despite the challenges of Covid and not being able to get home to do my farm work and see family, I was fortunate to already be in Denmark when travel between Australia and Europe shut down.

“I don’t think I can make it back to Oz anytime soon but that’s ok because Sunny, Lasse and I are working hard and still aiming to do Australia proud at the World Equestrian Games.”

The championships will be held from August 6 to 14 in Herning, Denmark.

ABOVE: Jamie Hocking a long way from Woolsheds in South Australia.


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