Jo Barry went into the Fairfax Saddles prix st georges silver at the Lemieux National Dressage Championships with Goofy La Perle hoping for a top five place and came out as champion.
Drawn two from the end of the class, she overtook long-time leader Shelley Reeve-Smith and Sinderella to win on 70.684%.
“We’ve had a bad 18 months with him,” said Jo of the 10-year-old Belissimo x Jazz gelding. “He had white line disease last year – I suppose if he was going to choose any year then it was a good one to choose, but having got him back from that he took on a slip rail in the field.”
Jo went out to catch the horse and found the broken rail, but it was only when she brought Goofy into the stable that she realised he’d hurt himself.
“His tongue was hanging out of the side of his mouth and he was struggling to eat and drink,” she explained. “It turned out he’d ripped the lingual frenulum, the strip of skin under the tongue.”
The horse ended up at the Clyde Vet Group where Will Marshall and Andrew McDiarmid stitched him back together.
“They did a fantastic job but Goofy, being goofy, managed to chew his tongue as well so it took even longer,” said Jo. “He’s done no work so getting to the regionals themselves was little short of amazing, let alone qualifying for here.”
Despite having suffered a major brain injury in 2014, Jo is no stranger to national titles but this is the highest level she has won at, at a National Dressage Championships.
“And I do want to get to grand prix; we’re learning together with help from Harry Payne,” she said.
Emma Jablonski in third with Higgens Van De Uilenhoek was happy to even arrive at the show having suffered a blow out in the lorry on the side of the A50.
“Cream lorry?’ asked second-placed Shelley. “We drove past you, and we wondered if you were coming here!”
You may also be interested in…
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.