Tales from Stoneleigh: teenager takes on the big guns at her first nationals

  • Giving the elders a run for their money in the gold prix st georges (PSG) championship was teenager Anna Jesty.

    The 17-year-old was the youngest rider in the class at this her first time at the LeMieux National Dressage Championships at Stoneleigh on 15 September.

    “It was good until the tempi-changes,” smiled Anna.

    I have never ridden at the championships before and that was only our seventh PSG.

    “We are just trying to get him used to the atmosphere at this sort of place.”

    Being in the gold section meant that Anna was up against the crème de la crème of British dressage, such as Michael and Maria Eilberg, Charlotte Dujardin, Judy Harvey and Gareth Hughes.

    She scored 62.87% with her own 17.1hh bay gelding Aquiro. The son of Aquino was happily enjoying the sunshine, unfazed by the comings and goings of the busy collecting ring as Anna chatted about her test.

    “The competition is tough, following Charlotte was quite interesting!” said Anna.

    “It is completely different to anything you have anywhere else.

    “Even though it is on the first day, you have lots of people sat around the arena. It is completely silent but you know there is so much going on.”

    Anna, who used to event, became hooked on dressage when one of her horses had to be retired from jumping and has “never looked back”.

    The Dorset-based rider has had “Gleavo”, who she described as “Mr Cool”, for just over two years and qualified for the nationals after winning the premier league at Wellington in June on 78%.

    “He is probably one of the easiest dressage horses I know – he tries to be naughty, but he doesn’t quite know how!” she said.

    This has been a big week for Anna, who found out on Monday (12 September) that she had been selected for the BEF young rider progress squad.

    “[The news] came though on email while I was having a lesson with Anna Ross,” she said. “They only selected four people from that selection day and we were probably one of the least experienced combinations – it is quite a feeling to get noticed.”

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