Six horses, five nationals tickets, three regional titles – why this rider is one to watch in 2023

  • Kirstie Clarke has well and truly highlighted herself as a rider to watch in 2023. Kirstie continued her successful start to the year with an impressive haul at the Myerscough regional championships, with a string of horses who look to have much more to come.

    Blackpool-based Kirstie rode six horses in 10 tests at the regionals in February, coming away with three regional titles and five tickets to the Winter Dressage Championships in April.

    “We were knackered by the end of the week,” laughs Kirstie, who trains with Becky Moody. “I had to be very switched on getting off one and onto another. Luckily I’ve had a couple of them for a while so I know them inside out, but it’s still a challenge.

    “We’re in for a very busy week at the nationals!”

    Katie’s own Nureno proved a superstar of the future, winning the prelim gold on plus-75% ahead of Kirstie’s other young ride, six-year-old Sunshine Valley, and finishing second in the novice.

    “Nureno is the best horse ever, the best thing I’ve ever bought,” says Kirstie, who buys and sells horses for a living, and bought the rising five-year-old stallion by Blue Hors Farrell from the Netherlands last year.

    “He’s beautiful, trainable and ticks every box. If I could find 10 like him then life would be easy.”

    Kirstie Clarke: ‘I have the best team of horses I’ve ever had’

    Kirstie describes Sue Sutton’s nine-year-old Sir Donnerhall I mare Sport Horse Centre Sissily as having “all the makings of a top horse”. Sissily took second in the medium silver freestyle then upped her game further to win the straight medium silver class by over 3%.

    Her third winner was Fenella Quinn’s 12-year-old Lord Loxley mare Ghita Fille De Zita S, who triumphed in the advanced medium silver freestyle at Myerscough and, like Sissily, was a double high profile show winner last October.

    “Ghita is so fancy, but takes a lot of riding,” says Kirstie. “But when I get it right, she gets it right and she’s teaching me so much as a rider.

    “Right now I’ve got the best team of horses I’ve ever had and I couldn’t be happier with the way things are going. There are so many exciting ones to bring out this year. I’m lucky to have really good help at the yard, and Matt Proctor, who works for me, is so helpful.”

    “All the horses are special in their own ways. Sunshine Valley is owned by Nicky Fishwick, who is my longest-standing owner and we’re really excited about him.”

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