Ruby Hughes, who is just 13 years old, continued her run of great form when taking her second national championship title of the week at the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships today (2 July).
This time, her victory came in the hotly contested PDS Saddles elementary freestyle silver championship. She was riding Classic Bee Gee (pictured), the same horse she won the Spillers medium freestyle silver championship on yesterday afternoon, a 15-year-old owned by Nancy Scott, and scored an impressive 76.92%, which was over 2% clear of second-placed Katie Roberts and Nemo VII.
“He was completely amazing – he tried his socks off again and I’m so proud of him,” said Ruby, who is the daughter of grand prix dressage riders Gareth and Rebecca Hughes. “He was a little bit tired after his efforts yesterday, but as soon as I got in the arena he lit up.”
She was also third in this class riding Shirley Rickson’s eight-year-old pony, Hilkens Showgirl.
“She’s such a sweetheart and she tries so hard. She’s not done too much as she’s still quite young and I was pleasantly surprised with how she has performed,” explained Ruby.
Ruby is a particularly busy young lady and is part of the British vaulting squad too – she will be swapping her dressage boots for a leotard next week as she heads to a vaulting competition.
Another teenager to impress the judges this morning was Matthew Procter, who is 16. He took top honours in the Petplan Equine novice under-21 area festival championship, scoring 73.26% on his six-year-old AB Kensington (pictured).
“‘Moose’ is a wonderful horse but he’s obviously still only young,” Matthew said afterwards. “I bought him from Astrid Bolton last Christmas and I only really started riding in dressage last September.”
Matthew, who had mostly enjoyed success showing Welsh ponies before his discipline switch, has high hopes for Moose and his own career in the saddle.
“He’s got a great attitude, but obviously, like a lot of talented horses, he can be a bit spooky but he’s wonderfully easy to train and he’s got a lot of potential for the higher level work,” he explained. “I have always been quite ambitious and I just wanted a little bit more from what I was doing with my riding, hence why I’ve decided to pursue dressage – I want to win Olympic gold medals.”
This class was particularly nip tuck at the top of the leaderboard, with Hilary Cowie and Shall We Dance II, who were also runners-up in a class yesterday, scoring the same mark as Matthew, but the latter scored two-and-a-half more collective marks than Hilary. Third-placed Phoebe Murray and Ilrivo only two marks behind the front pair too, scoring 72.98%.
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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