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Festive stars: the rider hoping to follow in her mother’s grand prix footsteps

Over the days of Christmas this festive season, we are shining a light on up-and-coming talent across the equestrian disciplines. These are riders you really need to keep an eye out for during the 2020 season...

Ever since she was a child, Holly Colgate-Hardaway wanted to be a grand prix rider. And in 2019, this determined rider made a giant leap towards achieving that goal, stepping up to small tour with her 12-year-old Bøgegårdens Laurino gelding, Dalvangs Lorenzo, and achieving scores in the mid-70%.

“We qualified for the summer regionals at prix st georges [PSG] and although we didn’t qualify for the nationals we managed our first clean PSG test at regionals — definitely the best place to do it,” says Holly, whose mother is the grand prix rider Zoe Sopp, who gifted Lorenzo to Holly after she had to retire her former rides. “But then we went on to win all three of our classes at the Midway Championships, and also win at the Beacons Area Festival final, at inter I.”

As well as this year’s victories, Holly has had her fair share of success as she and Lorenzo have progressed up the levels, winning national titles at elementary in 2017 and medium in 2018.

“Lorenzo has found the higher levels a challenge, especially the collected work — he still needs to be quicker behind,” says Holly, 27, who is also riding at this level for the first time herself. “But next year we are hoping to get out to Premier Leagues at PSG and inter I, and hopefully gain some international qualifying scores. That’s the goal!

“I’m lucky to be able to train with my mum — but she’s rather hard to pin down for lessons!”

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Holly also has a very different ride that she is currently competing at advanced medium.

“I have a little 15.2hh Spanish horse called Abanico, although we call him dumpling at home,” she laughs. “He’s 12 and came over from Spain. He can do all the tricks but we’ve been retraining the basics. He’s a little powerhouse.”

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