A dressage rider has thanked a string of good Samaritans who came to her aid when her lorry broke down in soaring temperatures at a Tesco petrol station.

Hannah Cunnington was on her way to a British Dressage (BD) qualifier with her Lusitano mare Xepa on Wednesday (24 August) when her lorry refused to start after she filled up with fuel.

When she called her breakdown recovery, she was told there would be a 90-minute wait. Hannah was worried about her 13-year-old mare as temperatures topped 30 degrees.

But staff at Tesco’s Harford Bridge branch in Norwich were quick to cordon off half the forecourt to allow her to unload Xepa and stand in the shade.

“They were brilliant. One of their staff brought water for me and water for the horse,” said Hannah, who had been heading to Topthorn for a qualifier for BD’s Lusitano championship.

“They even dealt with a lady who said my pet shouldn’t be in the way of the air and water!”

But not only did Tesco staff spring to her aid, Hannah was also able to get to her show — her final chance to qualify for the Keysoe final in November — when a stranger stepped in to give her a lift.

“A lovely girl called Charley [Bowman] stopped for petrol and asked me if I was OK. She keeps her horses 15 minutes down the road and she asked if I’d like her to pick up her trailer and take Xepa home and I said yes,” said Hannah,

“But as we were on our way to drop her off, she offered to take me to the show instead.”

While Hannah collected a car and returned to Tesco to get her saddle and equipment, Charley drove to the show with Xepa. Staff at the petrol station offered to supervise the lorry when the recovery arrived, while a friend of Hannah’s collected it later.


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Hannah made the hour-long journey to Topthorn with ten minutes to spare and was able to pick up a qualifying score in both her elementary tests.

“Talk about dramatic!” she said. “They were able to put me last to go in both qualifiers fortunately.

“I was very lucky everybody happened to be in the right place at the right time.”