How Jane Savoie & Henri Prudent Took Paul O’Shea’s Riding to the Next Level

Home > Blog > Show Jumping > How Jane Savoie & Henri Prudent Took Paul O’Shea’s Riding to the Next Level

Great successes typically bring out two types of people: those who like to bask in the limelight, and those who like to share it.

Ireland’s Paul O’Shea belongs to the latter camp, a fact that became apparent after the biggest win of his career on Friday, February 15th in the $210,000 Longines Grand Prix during the second week of the Palm Beach Masters Series at Deeridge Farm in Wellington, FL.

Riding the 11-year-old Belgian gelding Imerald van’t Voorhof, O’Shea was one of only three riders in a field of 44 to unlock the key to Alan Wade’s first round course and make it through to the jump-off. There, the Irish rider made use of Imerald’s tremendous speed across the ground to keep U.S.A.’s Margie Goldstein-Engle and Royce at bay on a time of 36.03 to 36.78 seconds.

In a competition that tight, every tenth of a second counts and, O’Shea says, a horse’s rideability can often provide that winning edge.

“I’ve had a lot of help from a lot of people over the years—really great people,” he says.

Most recently his “people” have been trainer Henri Prudent, dressage coach Jane Savoie, and dressage rider Ruth Hogan-Poulsen. In 2018, O’Shea concentrated his efforts specifically on his horses’ flatwork.

“Ruth comes and she can ride the horses, and she gets them going a little better, and I can get the feeling of what that’s like,” explains O’Shea.

“Jane is the same. It’s all very soft and easy—there’s never a fight, the horses just seem to do what we want them to do. It’s not a big deal, you know? [Jane] has, like, five solutions to every problem, and they’re all nice solutions.”

Still, the Irishman adds, his decision to start working with Savoie was less a case of careful planning than it was a stroke of good fortune.

“With Jane, I had a book of hers, like, 20 years ago [in Ireland]—I think it was called That Winning Feeling! When I moved over [the USA], I was told to look up somebody [to help with my flatwork], and the only dressage person I’d heard of was her!”

During the last two years, O’Shea says his own riding has also improved greatly under the tutelage of Henri Prudent.

“With Henri, everything is very simple, which suits me, because I can make things too complicated. [It all] just feels very easy and natural, and I like that about him.”

O’Shea adds that Prudent’s ability to figure out what each individual horse in his program needs is his special gift—that, and his go-with-the-flow mentality. “[Henri] is always very upbeat and positive. If I make a mistake, it’s never a big deal. It’s like, ‘Well, we’ll work on this and we’ll make it better the next time.’ I think that’s the best way to move ahead.”

If this week’s result is any indication, he’s heading in the right direction.

About the Author

Author Profile Photo

Nina grew up riding hunters and young horses in Upstate New York and dreamed of a career in the horse industry. The day she graduated college, she hopped a horse van and ran away to groom in Spruce Meadows. Now she’s happy to have the best of both worlds: a place to ride and show her jumper, Dagano, and when she’s not riding, a place to write about horses every day. Don’t let the dirty muck boots fool you. Nina holds a master’s degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of journalism at Syracuse University. Previously she worked for Travel + Leisure magazine and has written for Smithsonian, This Old House and more. Nina currently lives in Indianapolis with her husband. This is one of Nina’s favorite stories. And, be sure to Read Carley’s Nina story.


Follow Horse Network


Official Media Partners



Sports & Racing


Sports
April 6, 2020

Kathy Kusner, Equestrian Rebel

Kathy Kusner is celebrated in American history for her show jumping prowess. Born in 1940 to a family of modest means and zero horse connections, she was an unlikely candidate...
Sports
April 3, 2020

Confessions of a Polo Groom

Polo: the game of kings. We've all seen it depicted on TV at some point—gorgeous horses galloping madly after a tiny white ball, players swinging cane mallets, while spectators clad...
Sports
March 27, 2020

3 Online Horse Shows to Help Fill the Self Isolation Hours

The [horse] show must go on online! COVID-19 restrictions have led to the cancelation or rescheduling of competitions nationwide. But, a new trend is rising in their absence—online horse shows....
Racing

Haru Urara: Japan’s Lovable Loser

"Winning isn’t everything; it's the only thing."  Henry Russell Sanders, UCLA Bruins Coach 1950 “Do your best” Ganbatte (Japanese) Ever since Commodore Perry’s “black ships”—so-called because they belched black smoke...
Sports
March 24, 2020

Canceled by COVID-19: How Event Organizers Are Coping

COVID-19 restrictions have led organizers to cancel equestrian competitions and other events nationwide—but at what cost? We caught up with Derek Braun, founder and president of the Split Rock Jumping...
Racing
March 18, 2020

Horseracing Has a Place in America’s Challenging Times

Sporting events have long served as a comfort in difficult times and racing is no exception. It was 1945. The Allies were still in the midst of World War II...