‘We had a nightmare’: horsebox issue won’t stop rider and her home-bred at Winter Dressage Championships *H&H Plus*

  • Katie Roberts managed to overcome a very stressful journey to the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships to finish a very creditable second in the PDS Saddles elementary freestyle silver championship this morning (2 July).

    “We had a nightmare getting here as the exhaust fell off my lorry about 50 miles away from Hartpury,” explains Katie, who scored 74.74% on Nemo VII. “We managed to limp it here but it’s now in Gloucester being fixed and hopefully we will be able to drive it back home to Essex later today. Thanks to Harvey Skelton, who is the partner of my trainer, Kaye De Graaf, for being such a cool customer, as he was the one driving me.”

    Katie describes ‘Nemo’ as her “horse of a lifetime”.

    “I bred him – he’s by Showmaker and out of a mare on our yard. He has won at regional level and been to these championships a number of times,” Katie explains. “He helps me and I help him – there‘s a lot of trust between us.

    “He is pretty straightforward now but historically his reaction to things that worried him was to run away from them and panic, but he’s come here and has been brilliant – I thought it was the best test I’ve ever ridden on him.”

    There was a worrying moment for Katie before her test when she couldn’t get Nemo around the entirety of the the outside of the arena in the arena walk.

    “He was scared of the judges’ tables, so I could only get him halfway around.” she laughs.

    Katie was a school teacher but now works in a family office and so can only ride at the weekends.

    “I’m super-grateful to my trainer Kaye who rides Nemo for me when I can’t. I’m now going to change my freestyle music and aim for some medium freestyles – I hadn’t really competed in many freestyles before, so this result has made me want to do some more.”

    Read the full report from the Winter Dressage Championships in the 8 July 2021 issue of Horse & Hound magazine, and keep checking back to horseandhound.co.uk for more news and features

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