Sunshine Tour Rider Spotlight: Nathan James

18-year-old English rider Nathan James has shown age is just a number when it comes to establishing himself in the horse world. During his stay throughout the six weeks of Sunshine Tour, James brought in over a dozen top 5 placings on his three horses, including major wins in the Young Horse classes aboard Esta, his six-year-old mare. Like many other young riders, James plays many roles while at the show, such as rider, groom and trainer. JN’s Dominique Gonzalez caught up with James while in Spain to discuss how the circuit played out for him and how he takes things day-by-day.

Photo by Dominique Gonzalez

Question: How many horses did you bring and what are they showing in? 

James: “I brought three horses; Eric, Kanye, and Esta. Eric and Kanye have been showing in the Medium Tour, while Esther showed in the Six-Year-Old classes.”

Question: How did the Sunshine Tour play out for you?

James: “It’s been good. The venue is really nice, and the weather has been amazing compared to last year. It’s a great place for the horses to really grow into themselves and learn the ropes. They get to show in different rings every week, which really helps them see different things.”

Question: What is the biggest thing you’ve learned so far this circuit?

James: “Continually learning more about my horses every week. Like what bit is more appropriate for each one and how they like to be schooled before a class.”

Question: What have you enjoyed most being here?

James: “This show really benefits my horses quite a lot. They can take each week with a new mindset and can look forward to jumping the bigger tracks as the weeks progressed.”

Photo by Dominique Gonzalez

Question: What has been your biggest highlight throughout the circuit?

James: “It has to be Kanye going clear and placing in one of the competitive Medium Tour 1.45 classes. He jumped great that day and really learned more at the bigger tracks.”

Question: Did you have to overcome any struggles during the circuit? If so, how did you learn from them?

James: “Every week was pretty consistent. There were a few days here and there that were rough, while I was trying to figure out my horses more. I took a step back and tried to think about how to change what was happening. It also came to trying to find a new appropriate bit to use.”

Question: What are your goals for this year and the beyond?

James: “I don’t really do goals, I take everything day by day. Mostly figuring out how to take on one day at a time. But I do want to keep running my business; selling and trading horses is my career goal.”