A British student has taken an individual gold medal at the World University Equestrian Championships in Tokyo, while Irish riders picked up two golds and a team bronze.
Natalie McGoldrick, 22, a third-year veterinary student at Cambridge University, was competing for the first time at the championships, which take place every two years. She travelled to Japan in early December with the British team of three, where they faced riders from 19 other nations.
Natalie gained her gold for the combined events by being the only rider to reach the top eight in dressage — to prix st georges level — and show jumping — to 1.30m.
Competitors, on a total of 70 mounts borrowed from among 1,000 animals owned by Japanese universities — are judged against others who ride the same horse, with the best rider on each horse progressing to the next round.
“I rode six different horses,” says Natalie, a former member of the Chiddingfold Pony Club who hunted with the Hursley Hambledon from the age of eight. “Some were very nice and some were more difficult. But I wouldn’t have been representing Britain on any horse I could afford to buy at the moment so it gives people like me a chance.”
The individual dressage and show jumping winners, both from Ireland, were Gerald Bloomer and Lee Murphy respectively. Lee also took silver, behind Natalie, in the combined championship. Japan won team gold; Norway took silver and Ireland bronze.
Natalie’s team-mates were Hannah Westropp (Royal Agricultural College) and Sorrell Klatzo (Southampton University). Natalie, who was twice long-listed for pony eventing teams, does not have her own horse at the moment. She keeps her riding up during term-time by riding out for Alex Embiricos at Newmarket, and rode in her first point-to-point at Cottenham last season.