European para triple gold medallist Suzanna Hext has successfully teamed up with the multi-medalled stallion LJT Lucas Normark. The 17-year-old Knabstrupper won six individual silver championship medals with Britain’s Anne Dunham, who retired from para competition in 2017 after a glittering 23-year career.
Lucas may not have competed since the Rio Olympics, where he took double grade I silver behind Sophie Christiansen, and team gold, but the Lady Joseph Trust and Henrietta Cheetham’s Ravaldi son proved he has lost none of his talent, banking three wins in two outings with H&H blogger Suzanna.
“Lucas came to Talland to regain fitness after Anne retired; the other day I had a lesson with Pammy [Hutton] on him and it went so well that we wanted to see how we would get on competing,” explained Suzanna, who was re-classified from a grade III rider to grade II earlier this year. “He’s such a pro, and a credit to Anne for all her years of hard work.”
On their debut outing at Summerhouse EC on Friday (22 June), the pair posted scores of 76.8% and 76.2%, before following it up with a whopping 79.71% at Widmer on Tuesday (26 June) — Suzanna’s highest score to date.
Her partnership with Lucas began as her European championships partner, the Huttons’ 18-year-old Abira, has been turned away with an injury.
“I miss not riding Abira, but this is horses for you; he’s happy in the field and doesn’t owe me anything,” said Suzanna, who will campaign for a place on the British team for the World Equestrian Games this September, primarily with the Lady Joseph Trust’s 13-year-old gelding LJT Enggaards Solitaire.
Suzanna Hext wins freestyle gold for Britain on the final day of the European Para Dressage Championships in Gothenburg
Former two-star eventer, Suzanna Hext, will now be campaigning Pammy’s horse, Abira, in para dressage competitions
The meeting was particularly special for H&H blogger Suzanna Hext
Suzanna continued: “I owe so much to the Lady Joseph Trust and Henrietta Cheetham, and Anne has been incredibly supportive too — always on the end of the phone when I need her. She was my inspiration when I first started para dressage and has been amazing,” said Suzanna, who also recently took part in her first team triathlon.
“I wondered whether I would be able to follow in her footsteps, but Lucas feels really fit and is ready to keep going. He’s enjoying the trot work in the grade II tests, and we scored my first ever 10 for his incredible walk.”
In this week’s Horse & Hound magazine, out on Thursday 28 June 2018, don’t miss our full report from the Hickstead Derby meeting, including all the showjumping and showing action, plus don’t miss our six-page report from Royal Ascot.
We also have a feature on the much discussed whip rules across the disciplines and in this week’s ‘Vet clinic’ we find out how to spot the signs of sand colic.