STEPH Croxford is pleased to say that at the age of 18, Mr President is still hot footing it around the dressage arena.
He will be competing at the National Dressage Championships at Stoneleigh on September 15 and the week before that, he will be in Yorkshire to give a demonstration with Steph.
“We entered him in two Grand Prix in the Premier League at Sheepgate and didn’t think he would win, then he won on both days, which means we’ll be going to the National Championships,” said Steph.
She has owned the horse since he was three-years-old and he has never ceased to amaze her. She spotted the advertisement for the 16.1hh chestnut gelding in the Yorkshire Post, for sale for £2,500.
“That’s where it all started, I bought him because he jumped and I wanted to do cross country,” said Steph.
Later, when she took him on a cross country schooling day, a trainer told her that they should be doing dressage and not cross country. “We did a couple of unaffiliated events and I realised we could do quite well,” says Steph with considerable under statement.
Dressage was new to both horse and rider but they persevered and gradually did better and better, helped by training with Richard Davison.
In 2006 they scored more than 70 per cent in their first World Cup qualifier at Olympia.
The following year they were selected for the Nations Cup team at Hickstead where the British team finished second. Steph and Mr P then won their first foreign international class at Saumur CDI when they took the Grand Prix freestyle with more than 74 per cent.
Many other successes followed and the pair were short listed for the British team for the Beijing Olympics. Unfortunately Mr President was injured a couple of months beforehand so they were unable to take part.
Steph was delighted with the British team’s gold medal winning performance at the London Olympics and says: “They did brilliantly and I hope it’s brought dressage to the masses and shown it’s not an elitist sport.”
She didn’t start riding until she was 24, encouraged by her husband to be, Simon, who she met while they were both studying at Sheffield University.
They live in Bakewell, Derbyshire, and have two young children, Annabelle, five and Benjamin, two.
Life is hectic but Steph still manages to fit in competing and giving dressage clinics.
On Saturday, September 8, she will be giving a dressage to music clinic along with Julie Geraghty, at Askham Bryan College, York.
The evening is being organised by British Dressage Northern Region. It will include Steph and Julie explaining how to design a floor plan and music for a range of horses from novice through to PSG. The finale will be Steph and Mr President’s Grand Prix Kur.
Tickets are available from Sarah Huntridge, for more information email Sarah.Huntridge@britishdressage.co.uk or go to www.britishdressage.co.uk
THERE is still time to enter for the Ponies Association UK North East Championships which are being held at Bishop Burton College on September 8.
Classes include mountain and moorland, show pony and ridden horse classes.
For more information and schedules, go to www.poniesuk.org.
Joe Clayton won three of the classes at last weekend’s charity show at the home of the Hughes family at Edlington, Doncaster.
Clayton, won the 1.30m Open, the 1.45m Classic and the Band C Handicap. Clayton won £1,500 for defending his 1.45m title.