Teenager bids to become third generation to claim Royal International win in Hickstead’s main arena: ‘It would be fun to keep it going’

  • Young showjumper Darcy Breen picked up her first ticket for the Royal International Horse Show when she headed Saturday’s (4 March) winter JC/JD qualifier at Arena UK, Lincs, with eight-year-old mare Pixie, who she has been riding for just two months.

    The 13-year-old rider’s win paved the way for her to continue her family’s legacy: Hickstead was founded by her grandfather Douglas Bunn and both her mother Chloe Breen (née Bunn) and father Shane Breen have won major classes in the international arena.

    “I’d been trying for ages to qualify with my 138cm, but we never made it,” said Darcy, who has now passed her 138cm ride on to her brother.

    “Because both my parents have won there, I’d really like to win as well; it would be fun to keep it going.”

    Darcy faced an anxious wait after being drawn second of six in the jump-off, but held on to her lead by a huge 5.59sec. Acacia Dew (Crack De Jaurand) delivered the only other treble clear for second place.

    “When I was jumping the qualifier, I didn’t actually realise it was the qualifier, I thought it was another class. My mum thought she’d told me, but she hadn’t! She called me when I went clear in the first round to let me know,” Darcy said.

    “When it came to the third round, I just trusted Pixie as she’d gone clear in the other two.”

    Pixie was spotted in Ireland by Michel Drea; he showed her to Shane, who liked her.

    “We got her two months ago – she went to get measured and this was our first show back, so it was good to win it,” Darcy said. “She’s a really easy pony to ride.”

    Darcy hopes to take Pixie up through the grades and is also campaigning another mare, Kunis, this year in children-on-horses classes.

    “It’s my first year of doing children-on-horses and I’d like to aim for the European team with her,” added Darcy, whose next major outing will be at Sentower Park in Belgium at the end of the month.

    • You can read the full report from Arena UK, as well as a full round-up of this week’s showjumping action in next week’s magazine, in the shops Thursday 16 March.

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