National dressage success for Bartestree rider Lucy Pincus

First published in Sport

A NEWLY-CROWNED National Champion, dressage rider Lucy Pincus from Bartestree, had her first ‘ride’ as a baby, when her mum, Serena, sat her on a horse, writes ADAM KNIGHT.

And at Hartpury College on Saturday - 17 years later - she experienced one of her best moments on a horse, when she claimed title in the Advanced Medium category of the Five Star Winter Dressage Championships.

The youngest rider competing in that class, and in her first year riding at that level, Lucy and her horse Don Calisto blew away the judges with their ‘flying changes’.

Despite scoring an error-free run Lucy and her parents were left with anxious wait as the other riders performed their tests.

“It was pretty intense,” said Lucy. “We didn’t make any mistakes, but we had to wait to find out.”

However, as soon as the final rider’s scores were announced Lucy knew that her impressive 70.48 percent had won the prestigious national title.

“I was so happy with him,” said Lucy, of her eight-year-old, known affectionately as ‘Donald’ to his friends.

“He has a lot of character but is a very genuine horse who always tries to please.”

Lucy said she was won over by Donald’s charms as a foal, and has been riding him from her families stable in Bartestree ever since.

Her mum, Serena, and, dad, David – both keen riders themselves, helped Lucy train Donald and coach her in the run-up to competitions.

They are also dedicated supporters, they helped both horse and rider get on the road to Hartpury at 5am for the big day.

Riders have an ‘arena walk’ the day before to get their horse used to surroundings, but only have one five-minute test to execute their routine.

Lucy said: “It was a lot bigger arena and atmosphere than normal shows.

“I had to relax so Donald would relax.”

The Herefordshire College of Technology student will have to get used to the big occasions; following her success at the nationals, her next step is towards the Premier League dressage circuit.

She is using her Easter holidays to get out and ride daily, and is looking to compete in her first Premier League event at Keysoe in Bedford on April 25.

“Now that the nationals are over we are progressing the training – learning new techniques and movements,” said Lucy, a former pupil at the Bishop of Hereford Bluecoat School.

“I’m hoping to ride a lot over the summer. And at Bartestree my best friends ride to, so we have a good time.”

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