Lauren Wilkens takes the Enablelink Ltd Pony Foxhunter Championship on her debut

Lauren Wilkens takes the Enablelink Ltd Pony Foxhunter Championship on her debut

Opening the evening performance this Friday at Horse of the Year Show was the Enablelink Ltd Pony Foxhunter Championship; an opportunity for young riders of the future to showcase their talent.

In the first round, the technical course of 15 obstacles asked some testing questions of these young riders. Some were luckier than others and there were six riders careful enough to make it through to the jump off.

Making her first ride at Horse of the Year Show one to remember, 15-year-old Lauren Wilkins from West Sussex put it all on the line in the jump off against the clock. Riding the nimble nine-year-old mare, Eloclea Ro. Del Colle San Marco, Lauren rode a fearless round and took some risky turns, pulling the crowd in more and more with each fence. But it all paid off when the clock stopped on 31.77 seconds, two seconds clear of current leader Hollie Gerken.

“I didn’t expect that at all!” exclaimed a completely overwhelmed Lauren.

“I knew that she would cover the ground well because she has a massive stride for her size, I just had to focus on getting my turns in. The turn to the double was tight but she went really well over it. I don’t quite believe it!”

“She is the first pony I have had who is capable of doing this level of competition, so it is just amazing. I have had her for two years now and I never thought I would find a pony to win a class like this.”

The family travelled all the way to Italy to find the right pony for Lauren, but tonight’s victory made that journey worth every mile.

Audio interview with Lauren:

Jack Whitaker lifts the Dallamires Stables Cup

Onto the final international showjumping class of the day, the Dallamires Stables Cup, and Jack Whitaker got a sweet taste of success. lifting his first HOYS trophy.

At 21-years-old Jack was one of the youngest competitors in the 1.55m world ranking class, but he showed immense precision and technique as he sailed round the jump off. The six riders who made it through to the second round against the clock all fought hard, but Jack came home around a second and a half quicker than Italian Lorenzo de Luca who got pipped to second place.

Jack’s ride, Equine America Q Paravatti N, is owned by his father Michael Whitaker who watched by the ring to oversee the action. A family renowned for producing world class show jumping horses, they need little by way of introduction.

Jack said: “I watched a few from the collecting ring and saw there weren’t many going clear. The mare can be a lot to contain sometimes so ironically, I was trying to slow her down. But she stayed in a good rhythm and covered the ground well.

“I’m really happy to get my first win here. I’ve been coming second a lot lately; I was second here on Wednesday in the Senior Newcomers, so it’s a great feeling to finally take a win. I’ll definitely be aiming her for the Grand Prix next.”  

Audio interview with Jack:

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