Britain’s most successful vaulter Joanne Eccles has told H&H she is “winding down” her career and will no longer compete at major individual championships.
The 26-year-old, has confirmed she will not be defending her title at the next World Equestrian Games (WEG) in 2018.
Joanne — who has been vaulting for 18 years — has won a medal every year since 2009. She took home the individual gold in Normandy last summer (pictured) and a bronze medal with her sister Hannah in the first pas de deux at WEG.
“The competition was absolutely brilliant, it would be a shame to spoil the memory. I have decided I have reached the pinnacle of my career and I am now going to watch and enjoy Hannah in her competitions,” Joanne told H&H.
Joanne’s horse WH Bentley (Henry) is now 21-years-old and has been with the Eccles family since he was five. He will still be competed by Hannah but will be doing fewer competitions.
Joanne will continue to train and help the young riders in the Wee County Vaulters and will be available for the Scottish Equestrian Vaulting team if needed.
This year she will be concentrating on bringing on her new horse Jack in competitions from April and will continue to compete with sister Hannah. The pair are off to Doha this Friday to compete the vaulting at CHI Al Shaquab 2015.
“I will miss the competitions but being able to go out with our young riders still gives me a great buzz. I am not stopping because I don’t love vaulting but because I have reached the top.
“Some people will say I am very young to stop, but I won my first medal aged 20 and have won one every year since.”
“It happened amazingly early and since the first medal we just continued to improve and go on winning.”
“Britain has never been that great at vaulting, and for anyone that is a pretty good medal tally.”