Culford School pupil Katherine Cross underlined her undoubted potential with an impressive 11th-place finish at the Badminton Horse Trials.
After winning her area qualifiers last year, the 14-year-old clinched her place at this month’s competition, known as the foremost Three Day Event in the world.
Aboard Watchover Jackanory, who she has ridden for the past four years, Cross was the youngest among a field of experienced and older riders to compete in the BE100 category containing the three separate disciplines of dressage, showjumping and cross country.
Cross’ inexperience, or perhaps the magnitude of the event, may have told early on as the youngster found herself rooted to the bottom of the leaderboard in 35th following a disastrous dressage stage, after complications with Watchover Jackanory.
However, rider and horse quickly recovered to show their true worth with a dazzling and faultless showjumping display to climb through the ranks to 11th, where they would remain after the cross country event.
Cross’ mother Lulu spoke of the family’s pride and heaped praise on her daughter for the maturity shown to recover from a difficult start to the competition.
“She did incredibly well,” she said. “To recover from being last after dressage to have a double clear run in the in the show jumping is amazing,” she said.
“It was a great improvement and she was one of only two competitors to have no penalties in the showjumping.
“Katherine was in tears after the dressage round so to pick herself up and look back to her old self is very impressive.
“She certainly redeemed herself and, as one of the youngest competitors against adults, to come 11th out of the whole country is amazing.”