Area Festivals: Hannah Carrick

From twisting a shoe off the night before the Petplan Equine Summer Area Festival Championships to coming second in the Prelim Bronze!

Hannah Carrick talks about her horse, Kansas NS, "I bought Arnie almost three years ago directly from his breeder Joanna Sutton at Newarth Stud in Lancashire. He was rising four and ready to get on with his job. He was such a good boy for me to break in, and we haven't looked back since then!" 

Known at home as Arnie, the rising 7 year old gelding is bred from a showjumping background (Indoctro x Heartbreaker x Galoubet A), "He moves so nicely and I hope to event him so I couldn't resist having a go at some dressage. It's really helped establish the scales of training as we're an unlikely match at 5'3 and 17.3hh!"

After having a slightly delayed start to competitive the pair are finally out and about between the boards, "Lockdown hit the start of his 5yo year. During lockdown we worked really hard on our flatwork thanks to lots of support from Jo Wright Graham, and as lockdown finally lifted in late 2020 we both joined BD for the first time.

With the support of my Aunt Dorothy Hames, we quickly gained our winter and summer Petplan points at Prelim and Novice bronze sections, taking part in the regional finals in April and July respectively at Aintree and Myerscough. Then we were lucky enough to travel to the Petplan Summer Championships at Arena UK in October for the Prelim Bronze final!" As well as managing to squeeze in some British Showjumping.

Hannah, who works full-time as a content marketing manager, admits dressage has never been the first on her list, "I've done showjumping, eventing, and even showing at HOYS and RIHS, but always found the dressage element my most challenging. I've surprised myself with how much I've enjoyed British Dressage and the emergence of my inner dressage diva!

Every show is so calm, other competitors are really respectful in warm-ups (especially on a big, young horse), and everyone is so welcoming and encouraging. I also love the gold/silver/bronze sections - it makes competing feel so fair and has taken away that anxiety of an amateur trying to compete against professionals that I've experienced in other disciplines."

Talking about their rocky road to the Summer Championships, "I was over the moon to finish 2nd in the Prelim Bronze regional final at Myerscough, so we travelled to the finals at Arena UK in October. He's never been to a stay-away show before and it had been a less-than-ideal preparation with a lot of disruption - I got a new job, moved stables, moved house and then he got a hoof abscess - and just when I breathed a sigh of relief that we had arrived in one piece and were ready for our class, he twisted a shoe the night before!

It was a real team effort - my ever-patient non-horsey boyfriend found a man on the Sue Carson trade stand with some tools who helped me to get his shoe off, and then arranged for an amazing local farrier put his shoe back on at 8am, then we trotted up the centre line at 10am."

Hannah was thrilled with their test, "To feel Arnie relax in the arena, and so pleased with his test. I couldn't believe it when I checked the live scoring to see I was in the lead  - we must do well under pressure!" It was then a very tense 4-hour wait for the final results at the end of the class, "Our luck didn't quite hold out as we were pipped to the post by the final competitor but nonetheless absolutely thrilled to finish second. Arnie loved showing off in his first-ever prize-giving! We certainly didn't expect this kind of result in both our first season of BD!"

Arnie was also impressed with his achievement, known as the BFG - the big friendly giant! "He loves to be told that he's a good boy and tries hard to please. He's also pretty impressed with how powerful and sharp he is and loves expressing himself - whether that's over a jump or a big medium trot. We keep busy with a lot of variation - we're lucky to have great hacking on our doorstep and all-year turnout too. His only quirk is the SLOW signs on the road, he's never quite sure where to put his feet when he meets them!"

Thanking her trainer, Jo Wright Graham who is based in Lancashire, "She's done an incredible job of turning me from a showjumper into a dressage rider who can finally sit up! Jo is such an enthusiastic and positive support and has helped me so much with getting to know how to ride such a big, powerful horse. She really understands both of us and every session leaves us so motivated to go and work hard ready for the next one!"

We've qualified for the Prelim Silver Regionals in early 2022 so we're starting to work hard to prepare for this, and hope to move up to Novice and beyond next year.

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