Jessica’s delighted with her prize pony National title surprise for Dunning girl
A Dunning girl is celebrating after winning the Scottish Eventing Championships earlier this month.
Jessica Zajda and her pony Tally (Nanteglwys Taliesin) came out on top at the BE90 Eventing Championships in Hendersyde Park, Kelso.
The success was all the more impressive because she competed on her pony, rather than her larger professional horse, and entered the competition as an underdog.
Jessica (19), who is currently studying law at the University of Glasgow, explained: “There were different levels and I had to qualify back in 2016.
“I qualified a bit by accident because my eventing professional horse was not quite right on the day so I took my little pony Tally and he did really well.
“We came second and it was the top five who qualified for the championships. When we realised he had qualified, we thought we would give it a shot.
“Up until we actually went, we thought we might not bother because we would have to work on Tally’s fitness and rehearse and practise. It’s difficult to try and run two horses at that level when it is only a hobby.
“But I am glad we did it, he was fit enough and he did so well and he really enjoyed the outing.”
Jessica said she knew going through the championships that she could not make any mistakes.
She said: “We got up at 4.30am and in the dressage I forgot the test Jessica Zajda and Tally produced a stunning performance. Picture by Grossick Photography – if you get it wrong you get minus two points. At that point I thought I had wasted my chance but then I found out I was in the lead even with the minus two.
“I enjoyed the cross-country so much I had a huge smile on my face the whole way through.
“In the showjumping they built up the tension and I felt so sick going into that because there was less than a pole between me and second place so I couldn’t make any mistakes.
“I am so thrilled because Tally doesn’t look like your typical eventing pony so he was really the underdog and he built up a little fan club on the day. He really rose to the challenge on the course and I am very glad we bothered to go in the end.”
Tally and Jessica were also in action over the weekend at the Blair Horse Trials at Blair Castle, where he competed in the working hunter championships.
I am so thrilled because Tally doesn’t look like your typical eventing pony
Leap of faith