The overnight leader of the DriRug 70cm class who returned to the event this year “just to finish” held her nerve to claim the title at the H&H Festival of Eventing.
Claire Knight and 14.1hh Quantock moorland pony Mango held on to the top spot after producing a clear round in the showjumping.
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Claire, who made the 600-mile round trip from Cornwall to attend the event for the second time, told H&H she was “over the moon” to finish on her dressage of 31.0.
“Mango helps me out a lot and she did today in the showjumping – I can trust her. The head-shaking can be a problem because she can be hyper-sensitive and difficult to warm-up. She gets too wound up with horses cantering round and can’t cope but you have to ride what you’ve got and keep smiling.
“She can be a real madam, she’s competition-minded and she’s definitely for an adult – I wouldn’t put a junior on her.”
Claire said the win with “mareish” Mango, who she has owned for a year, is her biggest achievement to date.
“Even with my old horse who is now 23, we were always the bridesmaid and never the bride,” she said.
“It was a surprise to win. I was coming to the event to finish after being eliminated in 2017 on my other pony, Maid. That’s all I wanted – to finish. It’s been a lovely experience.”
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Claire plans to keep eventing but has no intentions of “pushing” Mango.
“She could maybe do British Eventing (BE)80 or BE90 but we’ve both got to enjoy it,” she said.
Claire Staniland and Cissy B had a pole down in the showjumping to finish on 35.50 and second place, while Sally Pidlsey and Tranwheal Tineth Moon also picked up four faults to finish on 38.35 and third place.
Don’t miss the full report from the H&H Festival of Eventing in Horse & Hound magazine — on sale Thursday, 7 June.