Leaders in Horse & Hound Festival of Dressage’s Equestrian Surface Novice Championship have both overcome serious injuries to return to the competition arena.
Sarah Clarke and Hiawatha La Perle (“Hamlet”) scored 70.21% to claim the top spot in the first novice championship test.
The pair were the only combination to break the 70% barrier, with Adelle Brabham and Astro lying in second on 68.65% and Kate Ward with Fabrio in third on 68.44%.
Former figure skater Sarah was diagnosed with a spinal fracture last year, dating back to her teens.
“I had lower back pain and didn’t realise at the time it was due to stress fractures,” said Sarah.
“I got it checked out this year and was diagnosed with an unstable fracture of the lower spine.
“That was pretty devastating as Hamlet had just come back into work following his problems.”
Hamlet was diagnosed with a bone cyst in his elbow, which required extensive treatment and rehabilitation.
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The pair also scored 72.07% in the prelim championship and Sarah added she was quite emotional after her tests.
“He got cast a couple of weeks ago and I have been working on loosening him up with the help of physio and Epiony Heat Pads,” said Sarah, adding this is the horse’s first big championship show.
“He felt super — he was with me 100% and was really chilled.”
The championship tests are run over two days at Sheepgate Equestrian Centre in Lincolnshire.
Competitors rode their first test on Saturday (21 July) and their second on Sunday (22 July). The winners are decided on a combination of percentages from both tests, with a host of prizes, including a Catago FIR-tech healing rug worth £200 for winners and rosettes to tenth place.
Don’t miss the latest news and updates on the H&H Festival of Dressage on the Horse & Hound website and social media channels, plus a full report in the 26 July issue of the magazine.