Yorkshire’s Palmer and Bennett excel at Hickstead

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TWO Yorkshire-based riders hit the headlines at Hickstead for the British Dressage Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships.

Leeds’s Izzy Palmer and Goole’s Heather Bennett both enjoyed podium placings, finishing first in the Grade III tests.

Both are members of the Sport England funded BEF Excel Talent Programme.

With her own Zavailantika, a 10-year-old bay mare, Bennett produced two fine tests to finish top of the leaderboard in the Grade III Open Championship classes.

In the Baileys Horse Feeds Team Test Open, Bennett posted a superb 68.55 per cent, to finish 3.42 per cent ahead of second-placed Martin Mathews on Perry.

The pair went on to win the Bookham Saddlery Grade III Open Championships where a score of 69.28 per cent saw the in-form duo finish just above Nicky Greenhill on Gregorian Chant.

Bennett’s two top placings saw her go forward to contest the Freestyle Championship where a score of 73.75 per cent earned third spot, with the top two spots going to Sophie Christiansen and Natasha Baker respectively.

Leeds based para-equestrian dressage rider Palmer, the youngest competitor in the para-dressage competition, posted a superb win in the Grade III Restricted Championships.

Riding Gregonne Coco Chanel, a 17-year-old bay mare owned by Alison Duck, the duo posted a score of 66.58 per cent to take the win by nearly two per cent.

Huddersfield’s Lucy Denton enjoyed five first places in the five classes she and her Quarry pony Laurence entered in the show at Croft Top, near Accrington, a major qualifying show for the Equifest Festival.

Denton, 13, is the daughter of John Denton who owns Quarry Garage in Huddersfield.