12-year-old rider wins five classes against adults in one weekend

A 12-year-old rider who won five British Dressage (BD) classes in two days will let nothing stand in the way of her dream of being a professional, her mother said.

Sally Howell and her 14.2hh gelding Son of Orion won a novice and an elementary class at Lluest Equine Centre, Aberystwyth, on Saturday (18 May). They followed it up with a hat-trick of red rosettes, in two novices and one elementary, the following day, at Little Mill Equestrian, Carmarthenshire.

Proud mum Lynn Howell, who has six other daughters, told H&H Saturday’s was Sally’s first elementary test.

“She’s been working hard at that level all winter and I thought they were ready to go out so they did – and we were absolutely thrilled,” she said.

“Then the next day, she got just under 72% in both the novices, and just under 70% in the elementary, and she was the only junior in the class.”

Lynn said Sally and “Sonny” have been together for some two and a half years, and he is “the love of our life”.

“He’s truly Sally’s best friend,” she added. “He’s wonderful, through and through.”

The pair also won at prelim level at last year’s bronze championships, and finished in seventh place in the prelim at the Petplan Area Festival finals in April.

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“She wants to be a professional,” Lynn said. “That’s the only thing that comes out of her mouth.”

Lynn said Sally will practise over and over again – when Lynn said her 15-metre circles were too big, she said: “I’m never doing that again”.

“She’ll go over and over it, sit there with her plastic ponies and ride it round her toy arena; that’s how she is,” Lynn said.

“It’s been about dressage from day one, and second place is never good enough.”

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