“That was the best she’s ever gone,” declared Christine Oakley of Keystone Walente, winner of the prix st georges (PSG) bronze title at the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships at Hartpury.
Christine and the 17-year-old Walentino chestnut mare were riding just their fourth test at PSG level, and scored 68.97% to finish just 0.1% ahead of second-placed India Durman-Mills and Escade.
“She did everything she was supposed to, and was listening and on my aids,” said Christine. “We have been working on the changes – once she learned to do them they were easy for her and in every test we have done she has nailed them. Our canter pirouettes are a work in progress, but today they were the best we’ve ever ridden. The walk is probably the hardest thing as she is keen and goey, but we have been working really hard at home. I’m super chuffed.”
‘An amateur giving it my best shot’
Rhiannon Hinton claimed the PSG silver with the horse she describes as her “big pet”, Quaikin Horatio, on a score of 68.53%.
“I’ve had him since he was turning two and he is absolute pleasure to train,” Rhiannon said of the Hotline x Dimaggio nine-year-old, with whom she has been working hard on straightness and suppleness recently. “He is very talented but also sensitive; I’ve got to be quiet with him and not upset him, but he lights up in the ring and he knows his job.”
Rhiannon is a true amateur rider, juggling a full-time job with BT with her riding, as well as being mum to her two young boys.
“It is hard work, working full-time and following my passion, but I’m what you call an amateur rider giving it my best shot. I have Horatio at home so I’m lucky, but it means early mornings and late nights.”
‘He pulled it out of the bag’
Sarah Edmondson rode Kyaro to a medium silver win with a fraction under 70% on day one of the Area Festival Championships, held alongside the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships.
“I bought him as a five-year-old from Katie Owens, who trains me, and he has been brilliant,” said Sarah of the Firestone son, now seven. “Katie comes every week to help me and the three of us work together really well.
“Here, he did the elementary first and got a bit nervous, but he pulled it out of the bag in the second test.”
Meanwhile, the medium bronze title went to Melissa O’Brien Shawcross riding Denise and Suzanne Clayton’s 15-year-old Rubato stallion Rubatino ML, who was originally destined for a career as an event horse.
“He just said no thank you, but [in dressage] he has got better and better. Today ‘Artie’ tried really hard and really let me ride him,” said Melissa. “I recently had two lessons with Henry Boswell and it’s safe to say he’s done wonders. He’s very good at getting to know a horse and getting the best out of a horse and rider. I do like to win, and he knows that as well!”
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