Badminton and Burghley winner to make Hickstead debut

A five-star eventing champion is to compete at next week's All England Dressage Festival at Hickstead 

LD3 2047{Jappeloupe Arena Class 23 FEI Children On Horses Team Test 253 Annabelle Wesley Vanir Kamira

Former Badminton and Burghley winner Vanir Kamira will be competing at the  I.C.E Horseboxes All England Dressage Festival at Hickstead next week (7-12 May).

The prolific five-star mare, known in the stable as Tilly, was retired in 2023 at the age of 18, after a stellar eventing career with Piggy French. Last autumn she returned to the home of her owner Trevor Dickins, and his 13-year-old granddaughter Annabelle took on the ride.

Throughout the mare’s eventing days, Annabelle had always been Tilly’s number one fan. “Ever since she could walk, she's watched her on TV at all of her big competitions, or gone along to watch,” explains Annabelle’s mum, Tina. “She’s always had this bond with Tilly, so she just started riding her when she came home and we thought we would see how it goes. It's wonderful that she's got this second career, and she's letting a little one ride her and she's taking such great care of her as well.”

Vanir Kamira excelled across all three phases in eventing, and she is now turning her talents to pure dressage. “It's all happened very quickly. They were the Children on Horses class at Vale View in January, then they were invited to do their first CDI together in March, and now they been longlisted for the Youth European Championships,” Tina adds.

The popular horse was known for being quite quirky during her eventing days, but she’s made an excellent switch to her new career, aside from one thing that can puzzle her. “When Tilly first started doing dressage, if we entered two classes with her, she would go back in for the second test and you could see her looking around, thinking where are the jumps?”

Annabelle and Vanir Kamira will make their Hickstead debut in the CDI Children on Horses class on Saturday 11 May.

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