Saracen Quest - Where are they now
After winning the Saracen Horse Feeds Quest National Championship last year, we caught up with some of the riders to see what they are up to now.
Lola Rega and Amy 13
Winning the Introductory U21 Saracen Horse Feeds Quest National Championship title last year, Lola has had a very busy winter season, "over the winter I gained enough points to qualify for the Petplan Equine Prelim Bronze Area Festivals, where I went to Parwood and managed to qualify as the highest placed under 21."
Meaning the pair went to the Petplan Equine Winter Area Festival Championship at Hartpury in April, which Lola was very proud of, "just getting there was an achievement as we had only moved to Prelim in late in 2021. Marisol (Amy 13) took it all in her stride and trusted me under saddle to the point where we managed to win this competition. I was so surprised and mainly proud of my pony! It is still a day I'll never forget."
Over the winter they have been working hard on the nine year old mare's canter Lol says, "I have been focusing on improving Marisol's (Amy 13) canter whilst improving my riding too with the help of my instructor Lynne Moles. Marisol is still young so improving the canter has been a journey but she is always willing to learn."
Currently studying law, criminology and business studies at college, in the hope to become a lawyer, Lola dreams of dressage, "she is definitely my heart horse and has a forever home with me but I have to juggle college and horse riding."
"In the summer I hope to qualify for the Saracen Horse Feeds Quest U21 Prelim and Novice to enjoy Quest to the fullest before I bar myself out as well as the Petplan Equine Prelim Silver Area Festivals this Summer," Lola talks about her plans for the rest of the year, "I hope to dive into some music freestyle this year as I head to Equidance's clinic at the end of this month."
Emily Devlin and Mexican Storm
Novice Under 21 Champion Emily Devlin used Saracen Horse Feeds Quest as a starting point for dressage career with Mexican Storm, "over the winter I have, with a lot of help from my trainer, started to do some dressage to music at Elementary level, whilst now training at Medium. I’m incredibly proud of the progress we have made together in just 18 months. Quest was an incredible springboard that gave me the confidence to have a go at these new levels."
Spending the winter concentrating on her training rather than competing the pair are aiming for the Petplan Equine Summer Area Festivals, "I hopefully will have four qualifications at Novice and Elementary, and the same with music. I'm looking forward to summer Petplan Equine Area Festivals!"
Talking about her journey before Quest, Emily was very new to dressage after starting her career in Show Jumping, "when I outgrew my pony, we managed to find my current horse, Roly (Mexican storm) who has really taught me to ride. Initially we thought we would be doing pure show jumping together, as like me he had also only done a small amount of dressage but my trainer, Sara Jane Lanning saw his potential and I am hoping that we can now go as far as we can together, alongside my other love of show jumping."
Emily has a lot of pride for Roly, "he has loads of talent but also loads of attitude, being a typical chestnut. If he was human, he would be charming, super talented but arrogant as thinks he knows it all. He’d definitely suffer from road rage while driving his flash sports car."
Joanne State and Roxley Kahlua Star
After breaking her wrist due to a fall five years ago Joanne wanted something she could have fun with, "bored in bed I started thinking that maybe instead of waiting a few years and buying another pony for myself I could look at foals. My plan to buy something low maintenance that I could take to the beach, showing, dressage, ODE etc. I’ve always loved completing and also a firm believer that any horse can do dressage."
Louie (Roxey Kahlua Star) was brought soon after for £300, "the day after my cast was taken off I drove up to Birmingham to see him. A plan was made on how to bring him home we hired a lorry and my Dad and I picked him up. It cost more to bring him home that it cost me to buy him."
He is now a champion in dressage and showing, with 2021 being a big year for the pair, "we started to compete in some local ridden showing classes after only backing him the year before and Quest at Intro and Prelim. We qualified for the Regionals at both levels and we also the CHAPS and Part-Bred Native Associated Championships."
Gaining a wildcard for the Saracen Horse Feeds Quest Championships they first had to attend the CHAPS Associated Championships, "it was our first stay away show. We won the Intro title and then came a very respectable 5th in the Prelim. This was our first long arena test and I may have shed a tear at the end, very unlike me."
It was then time for the Saracen Horse Feeds Quest Championships where the pair won the Introductory Open class, "It was couple of hours away from me and I was on quite late in the class, which was lucky as I arrived with only 40mins before my test, due to traffic. A quick warm-up and straight into a very buzzy indoor arena. I had not had a chance to see how the scores were beforehand so just went with it.
My mum and dad were watching from the side lines and after I finished over the tannoy they heard that I was in the lead. Straight over for my Prelim although this went well the outdoor arena was very windy and struggled with concentration. I was still in the lead in the Intro so I didn't know whether to stay mounted or not! I couldn't believe I won, this has to be the ultimate doesn’t it!"
To top it all off they also won the Part-Bred Native Associated Champs at Introductory too.
"2022 so far it has not let me down but 2021 has a lot to live up to, " says Joanne, going on to tell us about her plans for the rest of the year, "we have been competing at Prelim and Novice at Quest and Prelim at normal BD. We have also had a go at Dress To Music which has been great fun and surprisingly it’s something I have never done before!"
Training with Andrew Murphy they both have high hopes for the six year old, "I ahve trained with him on and off since I was a teenager and when I was in the Pony Club. It's always exciting to see how far you can take the 'unlikelys'. I love warming up with the big flashy warm bloods, the barely 14hh pony just pulls it out the bag every time."
They have gained their qualification for the Area Festivals at Prelim and freestyle and also hope to go to the Quest Regionals and both the Associated Championships but Joanne's dreams don't stop their aiming for Novice Freestyle at the end of the year. Louie will also be heading to The Royal International Non-Native Coloured Pony class later in the year.
"This scrawny little yearling has turned out to be something rather special and far exceeding any expectations I had for us. How lucky am I."