Christie Pritchard shed tears of delight as she trounced a strong field in the Under 23 British Championship Final to lift the coveted title.
Only two riders achieved double clears and Christie was the quickest, finishing 2.73 seconds faster than the 2015 winner Chloe Winchester riding Billy Cool for William Funnell.
The class offers a fantastic opportunity for young riders to come to a five-star show – Chloe, whose last year it was in this category – was planning to watch tomorrow’s Longines FEI World Cup™ qualifier as ‘it makes you up your game, truly inspiring’.
However, the high-octane atmosphere also puts on the pressure and riders of the calibre of James Whitaker, Harry Charles, Ollie Fletcher and Millie Allen all racked up the faults, Jack Whitaker retired and Jordan Gann had the misfortune to be unseated.
Christie, 20, who is studying law at Bangor University, was one of the youngest and has had some time away from the sport this year, so was doubly impressive. Her mount, Waldemar, had been sold to Holland but has been bought back to the family home in Anglesey where her parents have a yard of 45 horses.
‘There so many good riders in the class – it was tough and the pressure definitely took its toll,’ said Christie. ‘But I knew my horse would look after me. I just can’t believe it. It’s amazing.’