Wednesday, May 22Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Riding for Britain

Over the Easter weekend at the beginning of April, I went out to Leuven in Belgium as part of Great Britain’s Student Riders Team. After winning the BUCS Nationals in 2014 and being asked to attend a trials day, I was selected to ride for GB.
During Student Riders competitions, you only get five minutes to get on the horse you have drawn (having never seen it before) before having to ride a dressage test or jump a course of jumps. If you gain the best score on your horse, you qualify for the next round, with there being four dressage rounds and four jumping rounds. The first dressage round is ridden as a team with three riders competing in the arena at the same time. We did a good test but one of the other girls on my horse had previously won medals competing for Ireland, knocking me into second place.
Jumping day came around. The first round is judged on style. I scored the best style mark, qualifying for round 2. In round 2, the competition is judged on faults, and in the event of a tie, the style mark is used. I was one of two clears so it went down to the style mark. Since mine was higher, I went through to round 3 being held the next day. On the final day, I was drawn against another British rider and the jumps were 1.10m (3’6”) by this point. This round was judged on faults and time. The other British rider had a fast clear, so the pressure was on! I jumped a fast round (the fastest of the day by 2 seconds!) but unfortunately had one pole down so my team mate went through to the final.
When the results came in we were so excited! The British Team had come 6th in the dressage, 1st in the jumping and 1st in the combined competition out of fifteen other teams. Individually, I finished 20th in the dressage, 5th in the jumping and 12th in the combined competition out of 45. It was a fantastic experience and I am looking forwards to the next one!