A University of Sheffield equestrian rider has been nominated for the Horse of the Year show, after succeeding in numerous competitions over the summer.
Helen Radford, a second year PHD student at the School of Health and Related Research, led her horse “Shady” in qualifying for the famous competition after performing well at the Cheshire County show.
The pair will now appear at the Horse of the Year show in Birmingham at the beginning of October.
This isn’t the first time Helen has qualified for the famed event, but it will be the first time with Shady.
“We have had previous horses compete at the Horse of the Year show and my old horse came third there last year. This year will be Shady’s first time.
“Horse of the Year show is extremely hard to qualify for and every time we do it’s a dream come true.”
Horses in Equestrian riding compete in “showing”, a type of competition where horses are judged on good manners, correct conformation and movement. However, it is up to the rider to show the horse off to the best of it’s abilities.
Over the summer, Helen and Shady have been gearing up for October’s event by taking part in several competitions.
“Equifest was another large final that we qualified for and Shady took Champion in the evening performance.
“We qualified at Newark Notts county show for the Royal International at Hickstead but unfortunately Shady was not the judges cup of tea at the Final in July.”
Helen, who is now the President of the Equestrian Club, is also looking ahead to what she wants to achieve ahead in University-related sports.
“For me this year I want to keep working on my confidence, I feel the psychological help from Sport Sheffield will really help with this.
“I want to support our riders at all levels and encourage our BUCS teams. University riding competitions are really difficult given that you have to ride an unknown horse.
“You only get between five to seven minutes on the horse before having to demonstrate a dressage test and jump a course of fences. This can be nerve wracking for the most confident of riders.”
“I am going to continue with side saddle lessons throughout the winter and hope to start with local level shows with Shady before trying to qualify for the Royal International and the Horse of the Year Show again.”