At the age of just 13, Honor Gordon is one of the youngest riders at this year’s H&H Festival of Eventing in association with KBIS (26-28 May).

However, she fended off her older rivals in the 90cm class during day one of the action at Keysoe in Bedfordshire.

Having produced a very smart 27.25 dressage score aboard her pony, Made Of Gold, Honor heads into tomorrow’s cross-country just 0.75 of a mark ahead of overnight runners-up Hannah Parr and Tinkers Boy, while Celia Bellamy occupies third with Toptime Taliesin on 28.25.

Therefore, the scores at the top of the leaderboard in this section are particularly tight with a mere one mark separating the top three combinations.

“My pony is 16 years old — I’ve ridden her for two years and done a lot of Pony Club competitions,” said Honor, who is based near Bishop’s Stortford and is an active member of the Essex Hunt North branch of the Pony Club.

The pair finished sixth at last year’s H&H Festival of Eventing in the 80cm class. They have stepped up to 90cm for this year and very much hope to improve on their good result in 2017.

The youngster’s mother had to tell a “little white lie” to Honor’s school to allow the schoolgirl to compete at the three-day unaffiliated event, which saw competitors arriving yesterday (Friday, 25 May).

“Mum said that I had fainted and wasn’t feeling very well,” Honor said with a smile.

The young rider is trained on the flat by dressage rider Alex Hardwick and had a lesson the Thursday before the event in preparation — which clearly paid off.

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The full report from the H&H Festival of Eventing in Horse & Hound will be in this week’s issue of the magazine — on sale Thursday, 7 June and follow online at www.horseandhound.co.uk.