Hartpury University student Lily Kelly won her first Petplan Equine Area Festival final title with High Boy Van De C on the opening day of the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships at Hartpury. Hartpury College student and Equine Academy member Kizzie Lucas added further success for the home representatives by winning the Elementary Bronze Under-21 Championship later in the week.
Lily's score of 69.49% was her best test to date on the giant 11-year-old that stands at an imposing 18.3hh. Lily is in her final year of the BSc (Hons) Equestrian Sports Science degree at Hartpury University and has been riding the Sara Gallop-owned horse for about a year.
Speaking to Horse & Hound’s Lucy Elder, Lily said: “He’s big, but he’s a gentle giant and he’s been really good for my riding, he’s taught me so much.
“I forget about his height when I’m on him, but getting on at a show is a bit difficult. I love doing pirouettes on him, he finds them easy and always scores high in them.”
The pair’s win is particularly poignant as this will be their final show as a partnership. Sara Gallop has trained Lily during the last three years and provided her with the ride to gain further experience.
“She’s taught me to keep going, to get on with it, to not be afraid of making mistakes and to learn from everything,” Lily added.
Emma Davies, Programme Manager for the BSc (Hons) Equestrian Sports Science degree at Hartpury University said: “Lily has been an extremely diligent student during her three years at Hartpury and has worked hard to balance her competitive career with her studies. I’m so proud to see her achievements coming to fruition, both with her success this week at the Petplan Equine Area Festival and in her grades so far this year. Congratulations Lily.”
A-level student Kizzie Lucas gave Hartpury College and the Hartpury Equine Academy plenty to celebrate as she and her horse Candito (Toto) danced their way to victory with a score of 72% in the Elementary Bronze U21 Championship.
Kizzie said: "Toto worked so hard for me and I can't thank him enough for being the best partner. To come away with such an amazing result at our first championship makes me so proud of all our hard work and dedication. None of this would've been possible without the support I have on a daily basis. Thank you to the Hartpury Equine Academy for believing in us and our journey to be where we are today."
Lizzel Winter, Equine Academy Manager said: "I'm so proud of Kizzie and to see all of her hard work, commitment and dedication paying off.
"The Equine Academy is a real family and the riders past and present all support each other and understand the journey and challenges along the way. Applications are now open for students starting at Hartpury in September 2023. I'd urge talented young riders to check out the range of support and coaching opportunities that are available to those selected for the programme, and how they fit around your studies at Hartpury."
Learn more about the Hartpury Equine Academy here.
Equine events at Hartpury
The NAF Five Star Hartpury Festival of Dressage (4-9 July), NAF Five Star Hartpury Showjumping Spectacular (20-23 July) and NAF Five Star International Hartpury Horse Trials (9-13 August) will all return later this year and will once again offer a summer spectacle of summer sport.
These events are not only a great day out for members of the public, but also an important way for Hartpury University and College students to gain experience of event management in a real-world setting. Over the years, the events have helped students connect with leading riders and build their professional network ahead of entering the industry once their studies have finished.
Hartpury Equine is home to world-class facilities including international competition arenas, a state-of-the-art rider performance centre, stabling for over 230 horses and a leading Equine Therapy Centre. The department partners with leading global partners to carry out research projects, many of which are led by Hartpury teaching staff and students. This, combined with a number of other industry opportunities, helps equine students to become career ready. This is reflected in Hartpury’s high graduate employability rates.