Claire Knight said it feels “fantastic” to move into the lead of the DriRug 70cm class at the H&H Festival of Eventing after today’s cross-country phase.
Cornwall-based Claire made the 600-mile round trip to attend the event for the second time having competed here in 2017. Claire had one of only two clear rounds inside the optimum time, 5 minute 38 seconds, with her 14.1hh mare Mango and moved up from seventh place on a dressage of 31.
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Claire, who is a member of East Cornwall Riding Club, has owned Quantock moorland pony, Mango, for a year after buying her to event.
“When I came two years ago I was eliminated in the cross-country with my New Forest pony, Maid. She has been retired to stud and I didn’t have anything to come and compete last year,” Claire told H&H.
“Not long after I bought Mango I discovered she was a head-shaker so it can be a little bit difficult in the dressage phase but I do the best I can with her.”
Claire said she wasn’t feeling very confident after the dressage.
“The last event I took her to two weeks ago we had a set-back and were eliminated on the cross-country — she took a disliking to drops and ditches.
“Before the cross-country today I thought we’re going to go out and make it a confident round for her. After fence three, the step, I thought ‘we’ve got this’ and she was away! I loved my round, we had a great time.”
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Claire goes into the showjumping tomorrow (27 May) on a lead of 0.5 penalties ahead of Claire Staniland and Cissy B who have moved up from 10th to second. Sally Pidsley and Tranwheal Tineth Moon produced a clear round but incurred 3.6 time penalties giving them a score of 34.35 to lie in third.
“It feels fantastic to move up to first – I didn’t expect it in the slightest. As long as I leave the showjumping to Mango, and don’t ride her too much into the fence or get carried away, we should be ok.
“Fingers crossed — I’d love to win but I’ll take whatever I can get. If I can stay inside the top 10 then fantastic. We love the event. There’s nothing left in Cornwall to do so we travel all this way and we’ve enjoyed it.”
Don’t miss the full report from the H&H Festival of Eventing in Horse & Hound magazine — on sale Thursday, 6 June.