An eight-year-old girl who had not been to a show off the lead rein until this year has taken two titles at the British Showjumping national championships (6 to 11 August).
Brooke Harland, who started jumping in January, and 13-year-old mare Farchynys Sienna won both the national club junior 70cm and 80cm finals yesterday (6 August).
Brooke told H&H she was given “Fudge” for Christmas 2018.
“I had been to try her but Dad said she was too expensive so I thought I wasn’t having her,” she said. “Then on Christmas morning, I went down [to the yard] in the van, and there was Fudge’s head over the stable door. I was really, really happy and surprised.”
Dad Paul, who owns Fudge, said that before Brooke had the pony, she had never jumped, and only competed at small shows on a lead rein as she was very nervous.
“Now she rides her bareback and in a headcollar,” he said. “A year ago, she wouldn’t trot round a little course of jumps.”
“I used to scream going over a trotting pole!” Brooke added. “But I’m not scared on Fudge because she’s so safe. She’s very smooth, not bouncy, and cheeky – she likes to bite Dad!”
The pair have since enjoyed much success this year winning and placing in classes such as Cats & Pipes as well as 128cm Stepping Stones, the final of which they are due to compete in today (7 August).
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“I didn’t think I had a chance to win yesterday because there were so many in it,” Brooke said. “But Dad said: ‘Just go in and have fun, and I did.
“It was quite shocking to win, in a good way!”
For the full report from the British Showjumping National Championships, held at the National Agricultural Exhibition Centre, Stoneleigh, don’t miss next week’s Horse & Hound magazine, out 15 August.