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James Fairclough II
Photo by Sportfot
persuaded me to send in an audition video.
From there I went to Los Angeles, along with
100 other fnalists, for a one-on-one interview.
Out of the 100 fnalists they took the top 50
for tryouts in Mississippi. From the guys who
survived that, the host of the show, Shane
Adams, picked the top 16 riders.
When you were taping the show
did you ever stop and think, “Wow, I’m crazy
for doing this!”
The frst time that crossed my mind was
going down the list to the assistant coaches
holding a baseball bat. Yeah, that was the frst
time it crossed my mind; but unfortunately with
16 other guys in the competition and millions of
viewers you don’t really take the time to second
guess that.
We hear so much about reality
shows and how they are staged. Was the
jousting on the show choreographed?
Everything was entirely un-choreographed.
The History® Channel described it as, “100%
authentic, with a twist: traditional armor was
replaced with modern suits weighing 80 pounds and 11 foot long
solid fr lances were used as weapons.”
What did you like about the show?
As a brand new show for the History® Channel, it was different
than other shows that have tried to portray something similar. I
really like the way they created this show, the blows were shown
in slow motion and it wasn’t choreographed.
How were your cast mates on the show?
The other horsemen from “Full Metal Jousting” were all
talented in their own disciplines and it was interesting to get the
perspective from a steer wrestler, a bull rider, bronc rider, three-
day eventer and a theatrical jouster. The guys I had the strongest
connection with were the ones with western backgrounds. They
all were very humble, respectful, had great personalities and they
were wonderful horsemen all around.
Now that you are fnished with the reality show, what
are your goals for your new farm, Cavalier Show Jumping?
Since the business is starting from the ground up, I am
involved in all areas of operations. It is a lot of work opening
a new stable; but it has been a huge milestone in my life and
something that I really love to do. I’m extremely lucky to have such
a nice stable in an exclusive location like the Hamptons. We have
28 stalls, two grass rings, one all-weather sand arena and indoor.
The idea for Cavalier Show Jumping is defnitely something that
ft into the puzzle of my life. I have great riders, wonderful families
who support them and we are all continuing to grow together as
the business expands. Currently I’m training Kira Kerkorian and
Brooke Banks and both have two very promising young horses.
I’m really looking forward to seeing how these young horses can
develop with the girls over the coming months.  
What are your passions in the horse world?
I have found that one of my passions is developing young
horses. I like seeing improvement and having pride in the fnal
product. Every break through you have, you feel like you have
accomplished something. It is the same passion I have when I
train my students; I get the same sense of pride when I see the
accomplishments of Kira and Brooke.
You were on the History® Channel; but you also have
an impressive family history in the horse world. What is your
family’s horse legacy?
Both sides of my family have been involved in the horse
industry in some way. My grandfather, Dr. Rost, was a well known
course designer and judge. His wife, Joan Rost, was a national
champion western rider. My grandfather, John Fairclough, was
the frst Four-In-Hand Combined Driving National Champion in
America. My mother, Robin Fairclough, was a well known junior
rider, winning medal fnals and making a name for herself in the
jumpers and equitation. My father is a professional Four-In-Hand
driver and has represented the United States in every World
Equestrian Games since 1980.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
It would defnitely be riding for Frank and Mary Chapot. They
gave me tremendous opportunities to ride fun, competitive horses.
Out of all of the professionals I have ridden for, they gave me the
most exposure in the show ring and for that I’m grateful.
What do you like to do when you aren’t training,
teaching or jousting?
I really enjoy going to the shooting range, it’s the best way
to relieve stress. I am a pretty down to earth person. I just try to
enjoy life, try new things and always make the best of everything.
James shows off his excellent
equitation that received high
praise from the jousting
coaches on “Full Metal
Photo by Zach Dilgard, HISTORY