Cyclone secures whirlwind victory for Emma

Emma Thomas was victorious in the Pony Club final 

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Event rider Emma Thomas, 18, from the Warwickshire Hunt Branch won today’s National Pony Club Championship at Hickstead. She finished nearly a second faster than her nearest rival in the final jump-off to land the title on her mare Cyclone.

“To win at Hickstead is brilliant, the atmosphere is amazing,” she said. “My tactics for the jump-off were just to go for it, I had nothing to lose. She was perfect everywhere, she just flew.”

In the team section, Garth Hunt members Lucas Peries (Lorna’s Pride), Isobel Stenning (Dunuce Rolling Thunder), Megan Day (Cluoin Carin Mirah) and Ellie Francis (Gatestown Diva) took the title after a deciding jump-off against East Hertfordshire Hunt.

Both teams had finished on a score of zero, but team member Megan Day claimed victory in a jump-off against East Hertfordshire Hunt rider Abbi Jackson.

“I only got back from travelling on my gap year two days ago, so I’ve just jumped him once before coming here,” said Megan, 18, who has spent the last month living in a jungle in Borneo. “Winning here today is just unbelievable.”

Lucas also had little time to prepare for the competition. “This is the third time I have ever sat on this pony as I was called in as a wild card,” he explained.

The youngest team member was 14-year-old Isobel Stenning. “I have never ridden here before so it is amazing to have won at my first attempt. We thought we would be going home at lunch time,” she said.

Twenty-one-year-old Ellie Francis is an experienced showjumper. “I compete up to 1.30m level on this horse and will be back in September for the All England Jumping Championships,” she said.

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