‘She tries her heart out’: championship title for teenager and tricky but talented home-produced mare *H&H Plus*

  • From cantering over a pole a year ago, to winning a national title — Scottish teenager Charley Hamilton’s British Showjumping Indoor Championship Finals victory with the seven-year-old Innishannon Red Squirrel was made extra special owing to the journey the pair have been on together...

    A teenager and a horse who has only been jumping for a year scooped the first title at the British Showjumping Indoor Championship Finals.

    Charley Hamilton and seven-year-old Innishannon Red Squirrel topped the competitive Equissage Pulse senior British novice championship.

    The pair followed up their first-round clear with a speedy jump off, with the forward lines playing to the mare’s strengths, and they stopped the clock in a time of 34.33 — almost a second ahead of closest rivals Mollie Rose Smith and Church Park Elite (35.28), who had held the lead for much of the 22-strong jump-off.

    “I’m feeling amazing — I’ve produced her myself, so it’s even more rewarding,” said Aberdeenshire-based Charley, who qualified at the Scottish National Equestrian Centre in September.

    “She couldn’t even canter over a pole when we got her [about a year ago], but we’ve done a lot of work with her and are very happy with how things have turned out.”

    Charley, 17, explained she has been working hard with the tricky yet talented mare at home with the help of her mum, Sarah.

    Their hard work has paid off, with Squirrel going from just starting jumping to winning a national title in one year.

    “She is not easy to deal with at all, in every way! But when she gets in the ring, she tries her heart out,” she said, adding the mare loves long galloping stretches between fences and is naturally very careful, which meant Mark McGowan’s course suited her perfectly.

    “It was really competitive and I knew there were some fast ones after me, Molly’s time hadn’t been touched so I was surprised I managed to beat her, but very happy.”

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