‘This is every breeder’s dream’: nationals glory for young home-bred mare

  • A home-bred mare cemented her potential as a star of the future as she topped the KBIS seven-year-old young horse championship at the 2023 LeMieux National Dressage Championships.

    Nicola Buchanan rode the Countess of Shaftesbury, Dinah Ashley-Cooper’s St Giles Flamboyant to score a chunky winning total of 78.8%.

    By Franklin, “Frankie” is out of a Furst Romancier mare, as Nicola explained: “Her dam has had six foals so far and all of them are amazing. Frankie is her first foal, and I’m also riding her half sister, who is by Dream Boy. We also have a four-year-old out of the same mare who is very similar in stamp to Frankie. Dinah is breeding some lovely young horses, so it’s an exciting time for the St Giles prefix.

    “It’s every breeder’s dream to breed a talented horse with a bright future, and Frankie is definitely that.”

    Nicola has ridden horses for Dinah for over a decade and she has been partnered with Frankie, who was second at the nationals last year in the medium final, since she was a five-year-old.

    “This horse is just so athletic; if I could ride 10 like her each day, life would be amazing,” Nicola continued. “She is so willing to show off and work. She tries her heart out and it’s so lovely to have a horse who is with you all the way.”

    First National Dressage Championships title for 19-year-old rider

    Alice Knight, 19, was delighted to lead the Saracen Horse Feeds inter I silver championship with Wendy Knight’s 13-year-old SJL Dom Perignon.

    The gelding was originally produced by Michelle Blake of Childeric Dressage Saddles, who competed him up to small tour level.

    “We had him on lease for about a year, and we were given the opportunity to buy him earlier this year,” explained nationals debutante Alice. “This is our first championships together; I’m so proud of him.

    “His highlight is definitely his extended canter; it just comes out of him in the arena. Our canter pirouettes were also super tidy and neat. He loves competing and being trained. He lives for his work and he thrives on being busy. I hope to campaign him at inter II next year.”

    The family have recently started up their own business, Knights Dressage, which is based in West Sussex.

    “This is the biggest win of my career so far,” Alice added.

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