Carla cel­e­brates dres­sage vic­tory

Five Star suc­cess for Kirkcud­bright pupil

The Galloway News - - SCHOOL NEWS -

The Ste­wartry has a new sport­ing cham­pion.

Kirkcud­bright Academy pupil Carla Milne and her horse Hey Good Look­ing GK won the KBIS pre­lim­i­nary sil­ver cat­e­gory at the NAF Five Star Win­ter Dres­sage Cham­pi­onships at Hart­pury Col­lege in Glouces­ter­shire.

Fif­teen-year-old Carla and her horse, also known as Cookie, had qual­i­fied as Scot­tish re­gional cham­pi­ons. Carla and mum Fran had a nail­bit­ing week ahead of the cham­pi­onships as there was a bruise on one of Cookie’s hind feet, mean­ing he was lame when he should be been go­ing through fi­nal train­ing.

As prepa­ra­tion, Carla had com­peted at Mor­ris Eques­trian Cen­tre and the pair won both their classes with high scores. How­ever, af­ter a day’s rest Cookie was un­com­fort­able with a sore hind foot but he was pro­nounced fit to travel af­ter sev­eral days of in­ten­sive nurs­ing and a visit from the far­rier.

The 307-mile trip to Glouces­ter was a dream ad­ven­ture as the na­tional cham­pi­onships are the goal of many rid­ers and just to win the chance to com­pete there is an achieve­ment in it­self. Com­peti­tors from Aberdeen­shire to Corn­wall gath­ered, all hav­ing qual­i­fied from their own re­gional semi-fi­nals.

Carla’s prepa­ra­tions be­gan at 3am as she and Cookie both had to ar­rive into the main arena, ready to com­pete at a quar­ter to eight in the morn­ing. This in­volved plait­ing his mane and giv­ing him arena fa­mil­iari­sa­tion walk­ing for 45 min­utes then, like any ath­lete, Cookie had to go through his warm up ex­er­cises to pre­pare.

The test was broad­cast on a live stream, so Carla’s trainer Jane Rutherford was able to watch from Aberdeen where she was teach­ing a clinic over the week­end.

Jane said: “Per­form­ing in a cham­pi­onship is daunt­ing and ev­ery cir­cum­stance in the week lead­ing up to the cham­pi­onship added more pres­sure to Carla and Cookie. Their prepa­ra­tion was far from ideal, the weather was cold and wet at Hart­pury and to cap it all, they were drawn first to go, out of 21 com­peti­tors, in the first test of the whole day.

“They rode a very se­cure, el­e­gant test and proved they both have the abil­ity to per­form well tech­ni­cally at na­tional level and the judges re­warded their per­for­mance. I don’t know which of us was more ner­vous, Fran, Carla or Cookie.

“I’m ex­tremely impressed by how level headed Carla was as deal­ing with the bruise and the un­cer­tainty of com­pet­ing was very stress­ful. I’m so pleased her hard work and to­tal com­mit­ment has given her her first na­tional ti­tle.”

Af­ter post­ing a good score of 70.46 per cent, Fran and Carla then had the long wait un­til 11.20am to dis­cover the fi­nal re­sult. Live scores were posted through­out the class and only one other com­peti­tor scored sim­i­lar to Carla but the three judges were in agree­ment that Cookie was the new pre­lim­i­nary na­tional cham­pion.

Carla said: “What an ex­pe­ri­ence! Hart­pury is an ex­cit­ing venue to com­pete at and to win with a beau­ti­ful rug from KBIS and a sash was a bonus! I am so proud of Cookie – he is a young horse who coped so well at his first ma­jor com­pe­ti­tion.

“I would like to thank ev­ery­one in our sup­port team but espe­cially Jane, with­out whom we could never have com­peted.”

Fran added: “It was amaz­ing to see Carla com­pete against rid­ers of all ages and to achieve such suc­cess – lovely to see that all the hard work and stress has paid off.

“Well done to Carla, Cookie, and all our sup­port from both pro­fes­sion­als and friends, a great team.”

Carla ended the com­pe­ti­tion with three rosettes as she was also best BD youth rider and best am­a­teur owner in the class.

De­lighted Kirkcud­bright Academy pupil Carla Milne and her horse Hey Good Look­ing GK won the KBIS pre­lim­i­nary sil­ver cat­e­gory at the NAF Five Star Win­ter Dres­sage Cham­pi­onships

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