‘There’s nothing she can’t do’: 18-year-old Brit scores second five-star win with ‘game’ mare

  • US-based British showjumper Grace Debney has secured her second five-star win aged only 18, with the mare she describes as “her rock”.

    Grace soared to victory in the $37,000 CSI5* Winning Round class with Zarina De Vidau, at the Traverse City Horse Show in Miami, USA, on 18 September.

    The young Brit, who is based in Massachusetts, fought off stiff competition in the class of 30, beating Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam and Birdy Du Thot into second place in the jump-off. Other competitors included top US riders Kent Farrington and McLain Ward, who were fourth and 18th respectively.

    The victory is Grace’s second at this level; she enjoyed her first five-star win at the Winter Equestrian Festival in April, also with Zarina De Vidau. Grace and the 11-year-old Diamant De Semilly mare have worked their way up the ranks from junior level.

    “I bought her as an eight-year-old,” said Grace. “She was meant to be my junior jumper and she just kept stepping up, especially over this past year. She’s had a few international wins.

    “She’s always been my rock. I owe a lot of my career to her for sure. This show last year she was doing the juniors and now she’s doing the five-star.”

    Zarina De Vidau, who was produced by the USA’s Reed Kessler, is known for her character.

    “She’s all game face. She has no time for anyone, she just wants to go in the ring and win,” said Grace.

    “It took about a year for me to truly understand her. My first real high junior classic was the moment it clicked. She gives me so much confidence. I never walk into a class and think it’s too big. There’s nothing she can’t do.”

    Grace has had a successful year with a number of international placings with her string of horses. In July she was part of the British bronze-medal winning team at the young rider Europeans in Oliva Nova with Boheme De La Roque, on whom she also came sixth individually.

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