Tales from Hartpury: Double champion on how animals ‘helped me heal mentally and physically’ after divorce

  • Tracey Lawson hardly expected to win one title at the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships, let alone two. She kicked off her week by winning the Equitrek elementary silver title with the nine-year-old QT, and added the Prestige Italia novice silver title to their haul today, with a super score of 77.16%.

    “I watched Charlotte [Dujardin] doing the same test and tried to copy everything she did – obviously it paid off, although I havent caught her up,” said Tracey, referring to Charlotte’s Prestige Italia novice gold win on Times Mon Amour. She came very close to matching Charlotte’s score for the novice 37A test, being less than 0.5% behind.

    “I was pleased with the elementary test but I was trying to go for more looseness and flamboyancy today. This was QT’s first time at a championships and I didn’t know how I got here how he was going to react, so I was somewhat holding him together in the elementary. Today I set him a bit more free and said, ‘Go and show your moves babe’.”

    The double win has come at the end of two very tough and emotionally challenging years for Tracey.

    “It has been a difficult couple of years for everybody with Covid, but it has been an extra difficult time for me as I have been going through a very nasty, bitter divorce,” said Tracey. “I am climbing back out of it now and it just shows that if you get rid of the things holding you back in life you can go on to release your dreams. It’s onwards and upwards for me, with my lovely horse and lovely dog, who have helped me heal mentally and physically. The animals really have kept me sane – I’ll be avoiding men for a long time, but geldings and dogs are allowed!”

    It has also been an emotional week for Tracey here at the Winter Dressage Championships with the first of her two tests landing on the birthday of her  friend Kathy Ling, who died nine years ago. Tracey wore a bracelet of Kathy’s in the ring that day, saying “she was in the arena with me”.

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