How a £50 birthday present horse turned into a competition star

  • Navigating the rule book and a focus on fitness has meant 19-year-old Amelia Waddicor has reached new heights with her driving horse. Here she shares her inspiring story…

    “Two years ago, I was given a rare-breed Caspian horse for my birthday that my mum had bought for £50 from the local riding school. Khoja had not done anything for a year and Mum thought I might like a project.

    “At 12hh he was a bit small to ride, so I decided to have him broken to drive. This year has been the most amazing time for us — we started the season by qualifying for the British Indoor Carriage Driving Championships novice pony, where we came sixth.

    “We then ventured outdoors to try our hand at full two- and three-day events. This meant we had to put in an awful lot of hours getting and keeping Khoja fit, as a full marathon can be round 16km (10 miles). Learning all the rules and trying to understand the obstacles was one heck of a challenge. Carriage driving is a team sport and I really couldn’t do it without Morag my backstepper, and my mum, who drives the horsebox and cleans all the harness.

    Continued below…

    “Amazingly we managed to clock up wins at Windsor, Goodwood and Eppynt. We competed at Sandringham in the British Young Drivers Championships and won our age group, coming third overall. We went to the National Championships at Cirencester, then to round the year off we were invited to take part in the Caspian display team at HOYS.

    “To have come so far in such a short space of time, with my £50 pony from the riding school is awesome. It just shows you that size isn’t everything.”

    This article was first published in our special Reader Issue of Horse & Hound magazine (28 December 2017), where we asked you to share your stories of triumph from 2017 with us

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