SHOWJUMPING: A SOLIHULL rider has reached the ‘Wembley’ of showjumping after qualifying for this year’s Horse of the Year Show at the NEC in Birmingham.
Georgia Lovett and her horse Westend Gunner starred at the Nottingham County Show in Newark on Sunday afternoon to advance to the Speedi-Beet HOYS Grade C Championship Final at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).
The 20-year-old competed against 46 other runners and riders at the event which acted as a gateway to national success at one of the UK’s biggest horse competitions.
With three qualification places available, the former Solihull School pupil comfortably advanced through the first round before competing against the clock in a jump-off.
Georgia and Westend Gunner finished first in a time of 50.22 seconds with no faults.
Speaking to The Observer, Georgia said her involvement for horses started when she was just a toddler – learning the ropes from her mum.
She said: “My whole family have been into horses as my grandparents used to breed them, it’s pretty impossible to avoid them.
“My mum brought me up and taught me to ride when I was very young. Horses are in my family and being brought up around them has certainly helped.
“It’s a big commitment – often the horses get fed before I do in the mornings, but it’s all worth it.”
Georgia and her 12-year-old grey gelding completed the jump off 2.16 seconds ahead of their nearest competition.
She said: “My mum was keen on showjumping and used to compete so that’s how I fell into the showjumping category.
“Showjumping is an adrenaline fuelled sport, and that’s how I fell in love with it.
“I was competing when I was young and gradually got more confident as the years went by.
“I had my first jumping pony at ten, that gave me the confidence I needed going forward
“I’ve qualified for HOYS before – that’s when I first started to think I may stand a chance in the future.”
The annual HOYS event attracts some of the world’s best horses and riders – travelling from across the world to compete in a series of events.
Georgia hopes this year’s event can help project her onto the stage having previously competed as HOYS before.
She added: “People in the sport say HOYS is the most prestigious show in the UK.
“Everyone who rides wants to qualify.
“I’d love to make a profession out of the sport.
“A lot of strong riders will be competing so it’s important to get myself and my horse fit before we compete later this year.
“I’ll be hacking every day while doing lots of flat work.”
The Horse of the Year Show takes place from October 4th until October 8th later this year.