Irish rider Aoife Clark has given up the ride on the double CCI3* winner Fenyas Elegance.
The 11-year-old chestnut mare by Ricardo Z was entered for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials next month (7-10 May), but has now been withdrawn.
“It was a big decision to withdraw Ellie from Badminton and send her back to her owner-breeder, PJ Hegarty,” said Aoife. “She is an incredible mare and has given me the two biggest wins of my career at Blenheim and Bramham.
“She is an alpha female, though, and has always found dressage the difficult phase. At three-star level I found a way of making it more comfortable and easier for her, but moving up a level she was finding the intensity of the higher-level work increasingly difficult and I don’t want to put that pressure on her and don’t feel she deserves it.
“I wish PJ the best of luck in the future and huge thanks to him for the opportunity to ride her.”
Fenyas Elegance was bred by PJ Hegarty in Co. Cork out of the Good Thyne mare Fenya, who was the champion hunter mare at Dublin as a four- and five-year-old before showjumping to grade B level.
Fenyas Elegance was champion foal at Dublin and champion mare there as a four-year-old, also winning the Future Event Horse League final that year. She was competed by Fraser Duffy, Joseph Murphy and Brian Morrison, finishing in the top 10 at two-star three times with Brian. The mare joined Aoife for the 2013 season as PJ thought there would be more opportunities for her to go advanced in Britain than in Ireland.
The pair were second in the CIC3* at Chatsworth that year and won Blenheim CCI3*. The following June they took top spot at Bramham CCI3*, before Fenyas Elegance made her four-star debut at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy. She finished 21st despite a disappointing dressage test which scored 63.5.
This spring Fenyas Elegance had two open intermediate runs before the CIC3* at Burnham Market, where again she showed her tricky side and scored 66.2, before being withdrawn.