Ibble Watson becomes National Under 21 Champion at Houghton

The 2022 British Eventing National Under 21 Championship took place at the Barefoot Retreats Houghton International Horse Trials over the weekend (26-29 May).

A competitive field came forward to contest the Championship, a CCI 3*-L class over the Alec Lochore designed cross country course at Houghton Hall. Last year’s winner, Oliver Jackson was back to defend his title with Viktor Krum but it was the 2021 NAF Junior Champion, Ibble Watson and Aristoteles S Z who took an early lead in Friday’s dressage.

Ibble maintained her lead throughout the weekend, jumping clear in both show jumping and cross country and avoiding time faults to finish on a three-day score of 21.7.

Ibble Watson & Aristoteles S Z were clear and inside the time on the cross country

“He’s been a legend this week,” said Ibble of Aristoteles S Z “He’s not naturally bred to do dressage; he’s jumper bred, and he did a 21 dressage, which for him is pretty brilliant.

“He’s an incredible horse. He’s so reliable, you just let him almost do his own thing cross country. As long as you are there and say, ‘there’s the fence’, he will try his hardest for you.

Ibble Watson & Aristoteles S Z show jump clear to take the National U21 title

“I am so proud of him because it is his first CCI 3*-L. I’ve had him since he was one, he was a gift to me, so it’s basically all mine and my mother’s work and I’m so proud of him and myself.

“I had been aiming for this competition, but I never thought I would come out and win it, said Ibble. “It would have been nice to just do well and, as long as he jumped well today, I would have been really proud of him. He’s been a legend this week. My ultimate goal with him would be Badminton, maybe in a few years.”

That winning feeling – Ibble Watson is the 2022 National U21 Champion

Oliver Jackson delivered another strong performance with Viktor Krum, to complete on their dressage score of 27.1 He collected a second place finish to add to last year’s title.

The fight for third and fourth place was extremely tight, with both riders finishing on their dressage score of 27.7. Saffron Cresswell and Funny Guy just seized it in the end, with their time slightly closer to the optimum on the cross country, ahead of Millie Juleff and All We Need in fourth.

Full results are available here

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