Local equestrian star Cara Shardlow is celebrating after a successful showing at the British Dressage Winter National Championships.
The Sneatonthorpe-based rider won the Petplan Equine Intermediate Championship aboard her 10-year-old gelding, Detonator II.
“It’s still not sunk in yet as we are new to this level and were up against much more experienced combinations,” a delighted Shardlow told the Whitby Gazette.
“We were first to go on the day, which is never great but we put in a mistake-free test and came out with a personal best score at this level.
“It was an excruciating wait until the end of the class but we held the lead right to the end and finished first.”
After qualification at Manor Grange Stud Area Festival in September, the pair spent the winter preparing for the prestigious championships which were held at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire.
Their partnership clearly impressed the judges on the day, achieving a combination winning score of 67.02% in a closely-contested competition featuring 18 finalists.
Shardlow said she was “very pleased” with the performance of Detonator II, who was bought as a just broken three-year-old, as he produced some outstanding tests and exceptional combinations in a highly-charged atmosphere.
“The first time I rode him at home, he threw me and the saddle off,” she added.
“He’s really getting it now though and we’ve learned a lot together. I guess we have got used to the bigger occasion.”
Shardlow was quick to thank her trainer Becky Moody for the part she has played in her success.
“I couldn’t ask for anyone better to help with our confidence,” she continued.
“Becky is responsible for getting us where we are now.”
Shardlow and Detonator II have a busy year ahead of them as they continue to compete in Premier League events, while the pair have also applied to compete for Great Britain at Small Tour level.