‘I’ll be more excited than nervous next time’: meet the junior European medallist making waves

Over this festive season, we are shining a light on up-and-coming talent across the equestrian disciplines. These are people you really need to keep an eye out for during the 2024 season…

  • Ever since she was a young girl, when she would ask her parents over and over again to go and feed apples to the ponies in the field in her village, Lauren Caroline has been bitten by the horsey bug. She forged a stellar career on ponies, winning team bronze at the 2023 junior European showjumping championships, and now the 18-year-old is hoping to make the same waves as she moves into young riders next year.

    For the past two years in juniors, her star partner has been the 12-year-old Dutch-bred Gait L, and the dynamic duo have represented Great Britain at two European championships, on junior Nations Cup teams and just recently qualified for the prestigious Yeti Under 25 British Showjumping Championship at the London International, where they just picked up four faults in round one.

    There’s plenty to be excited about in the months to come for this rising star of showjumping, and her exciting team of horses.

    “Now I’ve finished my second junior year, I’m looking forward to doing young riders because I really enjoy doing the teams,” she says. “The championships this year were a great experience – I think I could have ridden a bit better, maybe. But I enjoyed the team and everyone supporting each other and you want everyone else to do well and they’re happy when you do well. It was a great experience. Now that I’ve got that kind of experience under my belt I can be a bit more excited than nervous next time.”

    Lauren Caroline: “He has such a big heart”

    As well as Gait, Lauren has taken the reins on her sister’s former horse, the six-year-old Breen Equestrian-bred BE Cuick One (Quick Star Kervec x Golden Hawk) and the relatively new nine-year-old Elmira Mail. All three horses came from Lauren’s trainer Shane Breen.

    “I like seeing the young ones improving and coming on, and she [BE Cuick One] tries really hard for me, which I like,” she explains. “Gait is quite hot and quite a blood horse, which I like – he tries really hard for me as well, he’s got such a big heart.”

    Lauren is based about 20 minutes away from Hickstead and she started going to Shane for training while she was still on ponies.

    “I’m very lucky – Shane’s made me ride a lot better. He’s very specific, so I think that’s good, especially when you’re a bit younger and you’ve a few specific things that you’ve picked up from being on ponies,” says Lauren, who still has her 11hh first pony at home. “When my mum realised my sister and I liked the ponies, she put absolutely everything into us and it all worked out.”

    As well as aiming for young riders in 2024, Lauren would like to do some of the big under-25 shows then “maybe in a few years a senior Nations Cup”, but she would also like to run a business on the side to help with the financial side of things.

    “I’m very excited about it all,” she says. Watch this space.

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