Stoneleigh stories: rider launches winning streak with victory in class she never planned to enter

  • Izabella Rogers started her British Showjumping national championships (3-10 Aug) campaign with an unexpected win in the national 148cm final, then doubled down on her victory with a one-two in the Foxhunter masters.

    The 13-year-old rider had not planned to aim for the 148cm title with the 13-year-old gelding Uncanny (“Cisco”), but had to change tactics when she realised she wasn’t qualified to compete in the 148cm silver league class.

    “When my mum [Nicola] phoned up and asked about the entries, they asked her if she had received a qualification form. She realised we hadn’t and when we double-checked, we realised we hadn’t qualified and the only other class we could jump was the 148cm championship,” Izabella said.

    “Mum asked if I wanted to do it and I said I wasn’t sure. She said ‘he can’t stay at home, he might as well come and jump it as a start for next year’, when we were planning to do pony show jumpers (148cm Horse of the Year Show qualifiers) with him.”

    Izabella, who was 128cm champion at this show in 2019, has been riding Cisco — pony Foxhunter champion at HOYS in 2016 with Robert Murphy — for two years. She spent five months of 2020 laid up with a broken leg but was jumping 1.20m with him last December.

    “I fell out of love with jumping him a bit and wanted to focus more on the JCs,” said Izabella, whose plan paid off as she won the winter JC title with Neil 55 at the Royal International Horse Show last month.

    “I’d not long been jumping 148cms and I wasn’t ready to do pony show jumpers, so my sister (Sophia, 11) took over riding him at home for a while. If I did take him to shows, I’d jump 1.10m.”

    The pair’s win means they have qualified to contest the pony show jumper of the year final at HOYS in October, where Izabella has already qualified her other rides for a shot at the newcomers and Foxhunter titles.

    “This was my first qualifier and I never planned to take him to HOYS, I just wanted to do it for some experience,” she added. “For the rest of season I’ll drop him back down and then sweeten him up again for HOYS and Olympia.”

    The pair won the class with the quickest of just two double clears, taking the win by more than five seconds over Noora Von Bulow and Elando Van De Roshoeve.

    “He hasn’t got the biggest of strides but he covers the ground because he moves up so well,” Izabella said. “I never did any of the turns, as I wasn’t comfortable at that height turning in, but I managed to gain time by always moving on once we’d landed.”

    The other riders didn’t stand much of a chance against Izabella’s solid form in Thursday’s (5 Aug) Foxhunter masters. Only three riders produced double clears of which Izabella had the quickest two aboard nine-year-old Neil 55 and seven-year-old Queen Star, who Izabella has produced from just-backed over the past 18 months.

    “It was a nice and flowing course which suited my ponies as it was a bigger track — the oxers were square and there were a lot of technical lines,” Izabella said.

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