ABOUT THOMAS H. H.
Thomas Heffernan Ho is an up and coming international Event Rider; one of six Eventing riders representing Hong Kong. Currently based in the UK where he trains and competes horses, he was taught under the tutelage of Chris Burton and Lucinda Fredricks. His experienced riding has garnered a bronze medal in the Asian Games, while competing with his own two horses at 4 star and Novice level.
Thomas has caught the eyes of notable sponsors the Hong Kong Jockey Club and The Hong Kong Equestrian Federation. Each year, the Hong Kong Team focuses on an International Championship, at varying levels ranging from 1* to 3* such as the Asian Games, the China National Games, the World Equestrian Games and the Olympics.
Bringing home Hong Kong’s first Eventing Olympic medal is Thomas’ dream. He is driven to become a top international rider to promote Eventing in Hong Kong, and to inspire others to follow in his footsteps.
1884The HKJC was established in Hong Kong as a horse racing and riding club.
1970HKJC opened public riding schools which to teach riding skills and horse care.
1973The Hong Kong Horse Society was established to promote equestrian sports in Hong Kong.
BornThomas Heffernan Ho was born at the Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong.
The BeginningInspired by the bravery of characters in cowboy movies, Thomas had wanted to be a jockey since a young age. Upon seeing his first horse at Pok Fu Lam riding school when accompanying his brother Daniel to a lesson, Thomas fell immediately in love. Determined to be closer to horses, but too young to learn to ride, Thomas spent his afternoons watching Daniel and familiarizing himself with horses and their care. This was the beginning of a passion that would shape his life.
Learning to RideOnce a week after school, Thomas went to Pok Fu Lam riding school to have lessons. Teddy Bear was the first pony that Thomas learnt to ride on. At 7 years old Thomas was terrified yet determined to learn. Even at a young age, Thomas loved to jump. Joining the Pony Club the same year, learning to ride became more social and Thomas built friendships with other professional riders that have lasted to this day.
1998Thomas then went on to ride in Tuen Mun. He went twice a week and it was here that he was encouraged by his instructor Gina Porter to ride competitively. Excited by his first taste in competition, he continued participating in local Eventing shows
1999Hong Kong Horse Society changes its name to Hong Kong Equestrian Federation.
First HorseAfter Thomas' older brother's departure to university, Thomas inherited an ex-racehorse named Prince Baikal. A towering figure at 16 hands, the horse often got the better of then 15-year-old Thomas before his legs grew longer.
Family friend Nicole Pearson began coaching Thomas on Prince Baikal. Her development in training Thomas through advanced riding skills have facilitated his growing hunger for competition and winning rosettes at his Events.
First Overseas International CompetitionThomas came runner up in the CSIY (International Showjumping International Youth) in India on borrowed horses for his first international competition experience. With his father there by his side to support him, Thomas has gained his first glimpse at competition on an international stage.
First Senior CompetitionThomas is selected for his first Senior competition in Korea in a CSI (International Showjumping Competition) riding again on a borrowed horse. Despite his nerves, Thomas had another great learning experience as it expanded his knowledge of the equestrian sport. .
University & Beijing OlympicsThomas was preparing for university in Switzerland to pursue his other passion; hospitality. Before leaving, he participated in an internship with the International Olympic Committee where he helped Nicole Pearson organize and manage the VIP accommodations for the owners and riders competing at the equestrian events in Hong Kong during the Beijing Olympics. Getting behind the scenes at this exciting event was an incredible opportunity to showcase his other skills. It was Thomas’ first experience of the Olympics, which planted a seed that would quietly grow.
Whilst at University Thomas missed riding terribly, and stumbled upon a small riding schooling in the Mountains. He would ride every weekend in his free time.
Asian Games Hong Kong National ChampionshipThomas was heading to work at the Kowloon Shangri-La when he received a phone call out of blue from his family friend and former trainer Nicole Pearson. She asked him to take a 6 month leave from work to train and qualify for the Asian Games. Thrilled by the opportunity he quickly called his father to ask if he would support him during the lead up to the Asian games. His father agreed, the Shangri-La gave their blessing as well.
The Hong Kong Equestrian Federation (HKEF) asked Thomas to compete at the Hong Kong Eventing National Championship. As there were no recent results from him, this would prove to be his one audition. Tuen Mun Riding School kindly lent Quick Money to Thomas. There, he trained with Bee Chan, competed, and became the Hong Kong Eventing National Champion. After this, he had the full support of the HKEF.
Thomas next returned to the UK to set up base at Lucinda Fredrick’s. Together with Nicole Pearson, they planned his competitions and qualifying shows. Thomas then needed to lease a suitable horse for the Asian games, which he acquired from Steven Smith, who had an experienced 1-star level horse called Zibor who Thomas took to the Asian games.
Under the guidance of Nicole Pearson and Lucinda Fredricks, Thomas earnt Hong Kong a Team Bronze medal at the Asian games. This guaranteed his future in the equestrian sport.
Hong Kong’s First 2 Star RiderFollowing the success of the Asian Games, Thomas bought Tayberry. Together they went to Rockingham Castle to compete at the 2-star level. With Nicole Pearson by his side, Thomas was Hong Kong’s first rider to successfully compete at the 2-star level.
2016HKJC Launched The Hong Kong Equestrian Development Plan
HKJC Development PlanAfter applying, Thomas qualified for the HKJC Development Plan. Grateful for the sponsorship and ongoing support, Thomas is able to fund his Eventing career.
China National GamesThomas continued to work hard, and was selected for the China National Games on Jockey Club Charlene. This was the first time Hong Kong sent teams for all 3 disciplines. Despite the harsh travel arrangements and quarantine laws for the horses, Thomas used this experience as a learning moment, and savored the competition not too far from home.
First 4 Star for Hong KongThomas is currently Hong Kong’s first and only 4-star rider. He is now living his dream with longtime companion Tayberry at the Wargem Nation’s Cup. At the top of his game, he looks forward into the future with motivation for more.
Thomas Ho is exploring three possible avenues for promoting his mission towards excelling in Eventing and inspiring others to follow his footsteps.