Twenty-five-year-old Ashley Edmond will be tackling her first ever Mitsubishi Motor Badminton Horse Trials (2-6 May 2018) this year. But if she’d had her way nine years ago, this dream might not have become a reality.

Ashley will be riding Triple Chance II (known as Johnie at home), a 13-year-old grey gelding, a horse she co-owns with Bridget Heal.

“I bought Johnie with Bridget when he was four,” explains Ashley, a full-time eventer based near Weston-Super-Mare. “We bought another horse at the same time, and the plan was to sell the least talented one in due course. Johnie transpired to be the one we wanted to sell but he was so difficult we didn’t manage it. I struggled with him to start with — he was a man’s horse as he was so strong and he didn’t have much co-ordination. It took me time to persuade him that what I wanted him to do was a good idea.”

But with time, Ashley says Johnie went from “an ugly duckling to a swan” and the old adage ‘good things come to those who wait’ couldn’t be more true for their partnership. They were seventh in the CCI3* under-25 at Bramham last year and rounded off the season with a completion and clear cross-country round at their first four-star in Pau.

“Johnie is still stubborn but if he wants to go, he will,” laughs Ashley. “Although he might not be the best jumper, he throws his heart over first and his body follows. It’s all the more special as I’ve produced him myself. He isn’t built for dressage, but he gives it his all and that’s all I can ask for.”

Ashley says that she first realised she might have something special on her hands when Johnie moved up to intermediate as an eight-year-old.

“We took plenty of time with him at novice level and when we thought he was ready we decided to give intermediate a go. We weren’t expecting anything, but something seemed to click and we haven’t looked back since.”

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Ashley, who trains with Lizzel Winter, says that her number one aim at Badminton is “to get round”.

“After that, I know he is never going to be a world beater but he has earnt the right to be there and I think he is fabulous — he’s had his fair share of doubters in the past and I want to prove them wrong.”

Read the full Badminton preview in Horse & Hound magazine, out on Thursday 26 April 2018

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