The roof did well to stay on the Hickstead grandstand as Arianna Kuligowski and Ivascalle took the Hy Equestrian 1.10 amateur championship at the Royal International Horse Show.
Arianna and the eight-year-old mare beat 32 other combinations to lift the last class of the day in the main arena at the Royal International Horse Show today (24 July).
“It’s my first win in there so it’s absolutely an amazing experience,” Arianna said. “It’s been a long journey to get her to this level so I’m really happy; she won both her qualifiers; three wins and hasn’t touched a fence all week. I couldn’t ask any more of her.”
The two-phase championship, for which combinations had been qualifying in the back rings all week, was hard fought; last in Lauren Turnball and Billy Cointreau scorched round to finish just half a second behind Arianna, and well supported with the crowd roaring each combination home.
“She turns really well, so as soon as the second phase started, I knew I could risk turning tight,” Arianna said. “To the Hickstead planks too; I knew I could whip her round in a handbrake turn and she’d be fine. She’s naturally really quick, covers the ground and doesn’t spend much time in the air, so you’re on the other side before you know it.”
Arianna bought the mare as a three-year-old and backed and produced her herself, which she said made this success even more special.
“It’s nice as all your hard work has paid off, and it’s written in black and white now,” she said.
“She loves the big environments; she grows to the occasion and is like ‘bring it on’! But she’s so easy and such a sweetheart, a five-year-old could do her at home.”
Ivascelle will now have a “chill period” and some time in the field, and is unlikely to jump until Hickstead’s September meeting, the Science Supplements All England September Tour, the aim of which is to set her up for a trip to Vilamoura in October.
“But there can’t be any other venue that beats winning in this arena,” Arianna said. “It’s a completely different ring and atmosphere to anywhere else.”
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