Tales from the H&H Festival of Eventing: meet the para rider with a passion for jumping

  • There was no rest for Horse & Hound Festival of Eventing competitor Chris Salmon.

    After completing his first three-day-event, the para rider is preparing to return to Keysoe later this week for the British Showjumping amateur and para show.

    Chris, a trainee showjumping course builder, is classified as a grade III para showjumper and recently took up eventing.

    “I have a muscle wasting condition that affects my hands and feet,” he explained.

    “There are physio exercises that I can do, but even my surgeon told me not to worry about it too much as riding is the best thing [for me].”

    Chris rode the 17-year-old mare Melford Solo, owned and bred by his mother Sue, in the 90cm class at the three-day-event, run in association with KBIS.

    The pair scored 35.5 in the dressage, before jumping clear across country with 14.8 time faults. They clipped two poles on the final day to complete their first three-day together on a score of 58.3.

    Chris made his British Eventing (BE) debut last year and has enjoyed success at BE90 level, finishing ninth in a BE90open section at Little Downham in October and jumping double clear at Horseheath in April.

    “I’m aiming to compete at 1m to 1.05m showjumping and to event her at BE100,” said Chris, who hails from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.

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    The mare, known as “Snoopy”, is by Melford Ben and has competed up to intermediate level in the past.

    “I just point her at a fence and she goes!” said Chris.

    Before Chris took over the reins, the horse competed up to one-star level with Charlie Clover, winning Chilham CIC* in 2015, and was previously campaigned by Jane Buchan and George Witt.

    Chris added she is now enjoying “an easier life” after undergoing rehabilitation for kissing spines last year.

    She’s brilliant and really looks after me,”he added.

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

    This week’s edition (31 May) is a training special, including a look at the world’s top trainers and whether you should have multiple coaches. Also check out our summer clothing guide, interview with showjumper and recent winner of the Hamburg Derby, Matt Sampson and feature on health problems in miniature horses

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