Horse & Hound - - Driving -

FOR­MER pri­vate driv­ing horse Striker has been mak­ing a mark in his new ca­reer in driv­ing tri­als.

The 16-year-old Gelder­lan­der, driven by Al­fie Budd, won the award for the best dres­sage of the com­pe­ti­tion when he scored 46.93 penal­ties — the only sub-50 mark.

It was his first time qual­i­fy­ing for the na­tion­als, where he fin­ished fifth over­all in the novice sin­gle horse.

Owned by Mar­ion Wool­ley, the mem­o­rably hot ch­est­nut went to Wilf Bow­man-Ripley af­ter a very suc­cess­ful show­ing ca­reer driven by Gary Dock­ing, where his ti­tles in­cluded the Os­borne Re­frig­er­a­tors na­tional cham­pi­onship in 2011.

He briefly filled in a spot on Wilf’s team at the World Cham­pi­onship test event three years ago but didn’t take to the job.

“Al­fie is Wilf’s back­step­per and he sug­gested he take him and train him. We’ve had him for two sea­sons now,” said Al­fie’s wife and back­step­per, Sue. “He’s a bit pre­cious in the marathon still but it’s such an achieve­ment for him to come out and beat all those horses. We’re es­pe­cially thrilled with him to­day as we man­aged to take him in the prize-giv­ing too.”

Sue is also plan­ning to take him out un­der sad­dle to com­pete in dres­sage this win­ter.

“He could be a bit dif­fi­cult at first but now I know

I can trust him and I’d ride him any­where,” she said. “I only wish we’d had him ear­lier as he’d make an amaz­ing dres­sage horse.”

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