Kayleigh Watts reflected on arguably her biggest career victory after winning the Voltaire Design CSI two-star grand prix at the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show.
The Hertfordshire rider kept her nerve in a tense jump-off to land the £7,300 top prize with 11-year-old mare Ninkie de Vy Z.
It was an outstanding performance in the face of some fierce competition, with 54 combinations starting the class and nine securing a jump-off place.
Last-to-go Richard Barton, riding Donata, put Kayleigh’s time of 38.35 seconds under pressure, but he had to be content with second place on 39.04, with Steven Franks and Brutus III finishing third and Angela Thompson fourth on Fremont VDL.
“It is probably the biggest class I’ve won,” Kayleigh said. “I have been riding the horse since before Christmas, and then did the Sunshine Tour with her this year.
“She is incredible. I have never had a horse like that in the arena. All she wants to do is jump clear. She is amazing, and I know that as long as I get it right, then we will be okay.
“I was quite nervous before the first round, and then once we jumped clear I decided to just go as quick as I could in the jump-off.
“Bolesworth is an incredible, amazing show. It is my third visit here, and this would be my best one so far.”
North Yorkshire’s Paul Barker claimed his second win of the week with Happy Boy when they took the Hunters Gin two-star class against the clock.
It was a dominant display by a highly-consistent combination as they secured top honours in 60.33 seconds, with Millie Allen and Chantal finishing second and James Smith securing third spot on The Black Flyer.
The Tattinger Champagne CSI amateur A bronze two-phase competition produced an American one-two.
Caroline Ratigan’s jump-off time of 29.00 seconds aboard Gallicia proved 79 hundredths of a second quicker than Becky Gochman, riding Connie BH, and Ireland’s Kirsti Connole was third with Zazu Van Terhofstede.