Six Hills rider claims national dressage prize

Grace and Albert danced their way to a national dressage prize EMN-150427-152224002

Grace and Albert danced their way to a national dressage prize EMN-150427-152224002

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Up-and-coming young rider Grace Johnston and dressage partner Albert kept their composure to claim a superb national title.

Grace, from Six Hills, took top spot at the Baileys Horse Feeds Novice Restricted Freestyle to Music Championship, part of the NAF Five Star Winter National Championships.

The 13-year-old and eight-year-old gelding Bathleyhills Sea Wurzel, also known as Arthur, came through local and regional qualifiers to reach the championship at Hartpury College, in Gloucestershire.

The pair had to perform a dressage test to three top judges, competing against other riders of all ages from across the country.

Grace scored a personal best of 73.80 per cent to capture the coveted title and highest score of the day.

They had to rely on a wildcard to reach the championships after finishing fourth in their regional final at Bishop Burton after a spooky test.

Grace said: “It’s just him, sometimes he can be scared of things. So, my plan for today was to focus straight ahead and pretend nothing was happening around us, and that seemed to work!

“He was sharp during the test, but we could use that to our advantage especially in the medium canter down the centre line; we could really go for it!”

Grace and Albert danced their way to the top using songs from The Little Mermaid.

“I wanted people to feel happy when they watched the test, because it’s a performance,” she added.

“But it also had to be memorable, and I thought my music would be perfect as they’d remember ‘this grey pony who danced to The Little Mermaid’.”