A HORSE rider from Llandeilo has finished top of the rankings in a regional competition.

Penny Graepel and Amour Just Cruising won their class in the Petplan Equine Preliminary Silver Championship at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire on Thursday, August 20.

Penny said: “I was really quite pleased with my test. He (Cruise) went as well as I rode him and he was just super on the day.

“It was the week of my 60th birthday and winning the class was just the best birthday present.”

The combination qualified last summer and won their ticket to the championship, which was originally scheduled for April.

Amour Just Cruising, or Cruise as he is better known at home, is a 10-year-old, piebald gelding and has been with Penny for three years now.

Penny added: “Cruise is super cool, he has the most incredible temperament.

“His name really suits him because he does just cruise everywhere and he is just invaluable to me.”

The pair impressed the judges with a powerful performance achieving the winning score of 71.60 per cent.

The Petplan Equine Area Festival series sponsored by one of the UK’s leading horse insurance providers gives amateur riders the opportunity to experience the thrill of competing in top competition style conditions in classes from preliminary to intermediate two level.

Kate Hopkins, marketing consultant at Petplan said: “We are so very proud that the Petplan Equine Area Festivals have become the most participated in series ever run by British Dressage.

“In 2019 an incredible 6,463 dressage tests were ridden, this is so rewarding and demonstrates that the Area Festivals really do have a special place in competitors’ hearts.

“We are so pleased British Dressage has been able to reschedule the championships, it is testament to the riders dedication that even though the competition is taking place under certain limitations, they are prepared to adapt and are so keen to attend.

“We are often quite amazed by some of the stories we hear about the commitment shown by riders and their horses who compete at the Area Festivals. We really appreciate the effort that our grassroots dressage riders put into making the festivals such a success and would especially like to congratulate Penny and Cruise on their fantastic win and wish them the very best of luck for the future.”

British Dressage Chief Executive, Jason Brautigam, added: “The championships are always a highlight in the British Dressage calendar. After this year’s events, resulting in the cancellation of so many competitions, these rescheduled Championships are even more special. It provides so much pleasure to see grassroots riders competing alongside the stars of our sport – and although the competition is somewhat different this year, I know that it has meant even more than normal to our members. Qualification for next year’s Petplan Equine Winter Area Festivals is already underway and with any luck we will be able to stage our inaugural Summer Area Festival Championships in 2021.”

Further information about the festivals and how to qualify for next year’s championship are available from the website at: petplanequine.co.uk/area-festivals/