2018 could be a very exciting year for British showjumper Emily Moffitt, and the 19-year-old has already struck gold with victory in the $75,000 grand prix during the first week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Florida.

Riding Poden Farms’ 11-year-old Toulon mare Tipsy Du Terral, Emily came out on top in a 15-rider jump-off. The success was some tonic after Ben Maher’s student lost her top horse For Sale 6 during a grand prix in Florida in March.

“Last year was a rough year — I had an accident with my horse in Ocala and she had to be put down — so I’m glad to come back here and immediately start off on the right foot; it means more to me than most people would think. It’s a nice feeling to be back,” said Emily, who is targeting the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

“I figured I’d just go as fast as I could. I know she’s a fast horse, but she’s also a really big horse, so coming to the double I saw a distance that wasn’t super close to the jump, but I figured why not, it’s going to save some time and it ended up working in my favour. I’m happy she’s as careful as she is.”

Emily’s jump-off round was nearly two seconds faster than USA’s Mattias Tromp (Chicago Hof Eversem Z), with world number three McLain Ward back in third on HH Gigi’s Girl.

“Tipsy” came from Swiss rider Romain Duguet last summer and Ben Maher rode the mare to top level success in Lausanne and Las Vegas after Emily headed a CSI2* class at the London leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour in August.

Emily was back in the ring after a seven-week break.

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“Maybe I should take vacations more often!” said Emily, who has a string of 15 horses in Florida for the three-month WEF at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

“I’m pretty busy,” she added. “I have a few new horses. I’m going to focus on getting to know them, so by the end hopefully I’ll be at the top level with them all and ready for the summer in Europe.”

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