Sisters win major Hickstead titles on same day

The first two classes in the International Arena went to a pair of sisters with exceptional Hickstead records 

Class 124 winner - Izabella Rogers Neill 55 3

A pair of sisters from Chelmsford produced a remarkable double of wins today at the Prenetics Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead.

First elder sister Izabella Rogers won the Oakley Coachbuilders Winter Grade JC Championship with her pony Neil 55, shortly before her sibling Sophia won the Pony of the Year Winter 128cms Championship with Whinney Lass.

Even more remarkably, Izabella was making her comeback to competition following a riding accident last summer which left her with a broken leg.

“When I started riding him again in November, I thought I couldn’t do it – I didn’t even want to be let off the lunge, and my mum had to be right next to me,” explained Izabella. “If he even set one foot out in front of her, I’d scream and get off. But after a couple of weeks, I got more comfortable, and then one day, I asked if I could jump again.”

Izabella describes her pony as having a ‘loving personality’ but that he can be very horse-shy and doesn’t like other ponies coming too close to him in the warm-up arena. “It’s been all about learning and understanding all his different quirks,” she added.

The pair had their work cut out this morning having been drawn first to go out of 25 other competitors. “I was a bit worried – I’ve been first to go before, but it’s just the nerves of having to set the time in the jump-off and everyone else trying to beat you.”

But she needn’t have worried, as the pair finished two seconds faster than their nearest rivals to claim the title.

Then it was younger sister Sophia’s turn to shine, riding the prolific pony Whinney Lass. Now 18 years old, this mare has won the class four times in a row – twice with Izabella and then a further twice with Sophia on board.

“She’s just a super pony and she knows what she’s doing,” said Sophia. “It gave me more confidence that my sister won today, so when I went into the arena, I knew that I’d be able to do it too.”

Both sisters love to support each other in the ring, and hope to become professional riders in the future.

Watch Sophia's winning round here.

For all showjumping results, click here.

Tickets for the Prenetics Royal International Horse Show (21-25 July) are on sale now, costing £15 per adult, £10 concessions and under-16s going free. Visit the Box Office. 

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