Tales from Hartpury: Sonnar Murray-Brown – former ‘ugly duckling’ is a ‘joy to train’

  • Sonnar Murray-Brown’s stunning black mare, Faside Simply Amour, wowed judges to land the Equi-Trek elementary gold at the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships with 71.72%.

    The mare by San Amour has been with Sonnar since she was a three-year-old, but he only brought her out to compete at the end of last year as a six-year-old. The Winter Dressage Championships was only her fourth show.

    “I’ve just spent my time training her at home because she’s always been very sensitive and she needed time to get herself established physically and mentally and have the confidence,” said Sonnar, who trains with Carl Hester. “I just enjoy riding her every day – even if I didn’t ever compete her again, I’d still enjoy riding her. She’s a joy to train.”

    Sonnar admits Amour hasn’t always been as beautiful as she is now.

    “She was a bit of an ugly duckling as a three-year-old, but I’ve always believed in her and she’s stunning now – I absolutely adore her,” he said.

    The plan now is to continue with Amour’s training and get a few more competitions under her belt.

    “She’s coping and ready for it now, so she’ll do medium and some young horse classes and then aim for advanced medium next year,” said Sonnar. “The canter hasn’t always been the easiest of paces for her, but Carl has helped hugely and giving her time to mature has really benefitted her.”

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