Nursing student Bethan Comery is one of several riders making their winter championship debuts.
Bethan, 21, will be making the trip to compete her horse Murroe Beauty (Beau) in the Petplan Equine Prelim Under 21 Area Festival Championship (3 — 7 April).
“As this is my first BD championships I am very nervous, ” says Bethan, who is in her second year of a children’s nursing degree at Sheffield Hallam University. “But whatever the outcome this is a great opportunity for me and Beau to learn from and be around dressage royalty.”
Bethan and 13-year-old Beau won at the Manor Grange finals to gain their place at Hartpury.
“We initially picked Beau up for a two week trial after only seeing a few photos of her, ” continues Bethan. “It was never the plan to do dressage but she had an underlying talent for it. We also soon found that she would never event as she is too much of a princess pony and does not do cross country.
“We joined BD in February last year. Our journey to get to these championships has not been easy. As I’m studying and I’m currently on placement doing four 12.5 hour shifts a week at a children’s hospital, training and preparation has been difficult.
“I have to juggle my time between riding, assignments and shifts. I had to beg for this weekend off and luckily, the hospital changed my rota enabling me to leave Friday and be back by Saturday night ready for my next shift.
“My trainer, Laura Woodcock, has been amazing. She squeezed us in for a last minute lesson in-between my shifts. My mum has also been so supportive in keeping Beau in work whilst I am on placement. She has him so he is ready for me to just hop on and run through my tests.”
Horse & Hound has three reporters on the ground at Hartpury; don’t miss the 11 April issue for 12 pages of reports from the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships and the Petplan Equine Area Festival