Posted on 20 September 2010
A top national equestrian title was scooped by former Merrist Wood student Rachel Taylor in the British Dressage Championships at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire last weekend.
Twenty-one year old Rachel Taylor, who was a student on the Equine National Diploma course and now works part time at Guildford College’s Merrist Wood Campus, became national champion at novice level (restricted), the highest achievement possible at her level. Rachel rode to victory on Tirclyn Sportsman, a Welsh Cob horse belonging to Merrist Wood Equine Lecturer Ella-Louise Mayhead.
The feat has grabbed particular attention because Rachel’s mount “Sporty” is a native breed while the horses of her competitors were the more commonly ridden, mostly foreign, “warmblood” types, which tend to be much more expensive.
Rachel, who has been riding since she was six years old and puts in long hours of practice before starting her work days at Merrist Wood’s equine arena, has been competing at her current level for a year but says her big win was unexpected. “I would have been happy coming 10th but this is just amazing,” she said as she celebrated her win at a lunch with friends.
Ella-Louise Mayhead said Rachel’s win was well deserved. “She is very hard working and puts an immense amount of time into this sport. In her wildest dreams she did not think she would win, but those who knew her at college thought she had every chance. Hopefully this will give her the self belief every competitor needs. It is a great achievement, especially when you consider that Sporty is bred for the Welsh hills and was bought from a market there. As we trained him we began to see he had a lightness and ease about him. He’s a superstar who now even has his own fan club.”