YOUTH: Katie Hills and horse San Rubiosa seal festival success

DRESS TO IMPRESS: Katie Hills on board San Rubiosa in Gloucestershire

DRESS TO IMPRESS: Katie Hills on board San Rubiosa in Gloucestershire

First published in Sport Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

DORCHESTER teenager Katie Hills demonstrated her dressage prowess with victory at the Petplan Equine Area Festival Finals.

On board eight-year-old gelding San Rubiosa, Hills, 17, won the Elementary Restricted Championship, finishing first out of more than 50 riders in Gloucestershire.

Her mount, owned by Katie Nash, impressed the judges the most, receiving a score of 71.66 per cent.

“She was so good,” said a delighted Hills of San Rubiosa. “She was very soft and easy, and coped well with the atmosphere even though she’s not been to a show like this before.

“I didn’t know what to expect but she behaved very calmly, even in the busy warm-up.”

Hills trains with international grand prix rider Hannah Biggs and found San Rubiosa through Nikki Crisp.

“I contacted Nikki about a horse she had for sale but it wasn’t suitable,” she added. “She then suggested I look at San Rubiosa, who was at her business partner Jemma Harding’s yard near us in Dorset.

“I liked the mare straight away. She’s my first horse after coming off ponies and she’s just right for me.

“She’s really easy and her temperament is lovely. We do a bit of jumping and a lot of our schooling is done on hacks. She’s easy to train and if we ever encounter problems in training we always get through them.”

The prestigious amateur championships were held alongside the NAF Winter Dressage Championships at Hartpury College.

Now in their 15th year, the festivals give riders of all levels the opportunity to compete in true championship conditions.

More than 2,779 amateur riders from all over the UK competed at 18 festivals for a chance to qualify.

For further information about the festivals go to petplanequine.co.uk/areafestivals

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