A RIDER from Conwy has won a gold ribbon at the Petplan Equine Area Festival Winter Championships.

Manon Roberts, from Conwy, rode 15-year-old bay gelding Siglan Hector to claim victory in the extremely competitive Novice Silver U21 class at Hartbury College, Gloucestershire on Sunday, 17 April.

The field of talented horse and rider combinations needed to demonstrate their skills when competing for the Petplan Equine Novice Silver U21, yet Ms Roberts strode to success.

“I’m so happy with him today, it went really well,” said Manon Roberts, reflecting on her win at Hartpury with her diminutive yet intelligent dressage star.

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“He was a little unsettled - he whinnied when we went around the outside of the arena - but I said to myself let's just enjoy it.

North Wales Pioneer: Rider Jane Hendy.Rider Jane Hendy.

“He stayed with me and was really good.

“His canter is a highlight – he's got lovely action and the judges seem to like it.”

The combination qualified at the rescheduled Winter Area Festivals, winning their ticket to this prestigious Championship.

The Welsh section D, 14 hands high (HH) Siglan Hector impressed judges with a powerful performance, narrowly achieving the winning score of 69.51 per cent ahead of Sophie Simpson’s Fashionista in second (69.24 per cent).

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Ms Roberts added: “We only came to British Dressage in October last year, so we only properly started dressage this year!

“People always said it's a bit scary with all the people out there, but everyone has been really nice.

“We might aim for the Home International with BD representing Wales.”

North Wales Pioneer: Rider Victoria Homden.Rider Victoria Homden.

British Dressage Chief Executive, Jason Brautigam, added: “After two years of disruption due to COVID, we are delighted that the Petplan Equine Winter Area Festival Championships were back in their normal April slot.

“In recent months we have seen membership numbers soar past pre-pandemic levels, with over 1,500 brand new members, and there’s no doubt the Petplan Equine Area Festivals will be a target for many of them as they embark on their dressage journey.

“With the addition of our Summer Area Festival Championships last year, this continues to be the most popular series in our sport – and the number of combinations competing this winter increased by seven per cent on last year.

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“Petplan Equine has supported the Area Festivals for over 20 years, which is testament to how much they have been a loyal, committed and trusted supporter of our sport.

“BD really values the contribution that they make and long may this partnership continue.”

This year’s Championship saw 568 riders take part, after more than 3,058 competed in qualification in the latter part of last year.

“We would especially like to congratulate Manon and Siglan Hector on their triumph today – we wish them the very best of luck for the future,” commented Rosie Bee, Brand Marketing Executive at Petplan Equine.