‘People like us don’t win things like this’: Former racehorse takes elementary title at national dressage championship

  • Crimson Gold, who switched from a career in racing two years ago, was top of the leaderboard in the elementary bronze championship at the Petplan Equine Summer Area Festival Championships at Arena UK (7–10 October) on 69.8% under Hayley Ford.

    “It’s such a surprise. I didn’t expect it all, but I was so pleased with her test. People like us don’t win things like this,” said Hayley, who travelled all the way from Devon to Lincolnshire to compete.

    “Crimson Gold was given to us by some friends a couple of years ago, point-to-point trainers Lisa and Leslie Jefford. They bred her and she hated racing. They caught us when we went to see them and asked if we wanted a horse. We thought a freebie sounds good and we’d see how she went with a view to selling her, but now she’s staying.”

    Hayley credited much of her success to her trainer Anna Ross.

    “Anna has been a massive turning point in my confidence, not just with riding but as a person,” explained Hayley. “My mare didn’t actually miss a beat today – she was really on song. She hates rein back with a passion and so it was brilliant she cooperated with that too. We were delighted with our test – she didn’t do anything wrong.”

    Hayley highlighted that Crimson Gold isn’t the most straightforward of horses at home.

    “There’s a lot that we have to do to keep her happy. We don’t hack her, we long-rein her instead, for example. I can’t get on her without plying her with treats and although she can be laid back and she does love life, she likes to get her work done in the morning – she’ll be sociable then – when you go to see her in the evening she’ll quite literally stick her hooves up at you – and her teeth!

    “She’s just very much her own person and she saves her best for the competitions.”

    • Read the full report from the Petplan Equine Summer Area Festival Championships at Arena UK in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 21 October

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