Pupil Abby Todd competed against Britain’s best in the prestigious Blenheim horse trials finishing in a fabulous 11th spot aged only 14.
The King’s Girls Division pupil and her beloved horse Seren had competed in three regional trials just to qualify for one of the blue ribbon competitions on the British eventing circuit.
As in the Olympics, the Blenheim event combines dressage, cross country and show jumping elements, but all completed over a single day. The 100cm Eventer Challenge at Blenheim Palace is aimed at amateur competitors and, this year, was the seventh running of the class. Increasingly many professional riders also enter making Abby’s showing at the age of just 14 all the more remarkable.
Abby, who can often be seen riding out along the Middlewood Way, close to where she lives, said: “Seren jumped her heart out for me, clearing all the show jumps with ease, except for one unlucky pole which caught us out in the double. Then in the cross country she flew round, taking it all in her stride and jumping all the technical fences, skinny jumps and offset hedges with no hesitation. Many riders were eliminated and had run outs and there were plenty of poles coming down so we did well and we were quick, well within the time. I am so proud of her for getting me to this level, she really is a one in a million. We didn’t get any prizes, but we got a lovely rosette and memories that will last forever.”
Abby added: “I know now why eventers do all they can to qualify for this event; taking part has been the most amazing experience.”
Level headed Abby, however, is not about to get over-excited about the future: “I have been riding since the age of three years-old and ride out every other day, but always spending time with Seren on grooming and mucking out duties to build up that special bond between horse and rider.”
She added: “Going further in the sport would depend on coming across another horse as wonderful as Seren and attracting the sponsorship necessary to compete at the highest level.”
Abby also trains regularly with the King’s School Equestrian Squad at Somerford Park
Abby has already attracted some interest from sponsors and would like to thank Chill Out Horse Wear for backing her developing career.
Pictured are Abby and her horse Seren at Blenheim.