Ayrshire’s Lucinda Stewart made a nine-year wait worthwhile as she claimed a thrilling victory on the opening day of the Horse of the Year Show at Birmingham’s Genting Arena.
Lucinda last competed at the prestigious event, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, in 2009.
But she returned in style, winning the British Showjumping Silver League Championship on nine-year-old gelding Cancun II.
A total of 14 combinations contested the one round and jump-off class and Lucinda posted one of seven clear rounds.
Samantha Jimmison and Farah II set an early target, going clear in 40.11 seconds, but they had to be content for second place as Lucinda guided Cancun II home in 39.49, with Alexandra Moorhouse and Hamilton H taking third after collecting four faults in 38.22.
“It doesn’t feel real,” said Lucinda, who works in the accounts department of her father’s business and also runs a country-wear shop. “It was a dream just to qualify, let alone to win.”
“My horse has had a fantastic season, so I thought I would just come here and enjoy it and not put too much pressure on. And then he jumped clear, and I thought I would have to go quick against the clock, and he jumped fantastically well.
“I jumped the Pony Newcomers final (on a different horse) in 2009, and I have missed out on qualifying for HOYS so many times.
“This is the proudest moment of my riding career.”