Bownes in the driving seat again

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She secured her ticket to the event at the Hickstead Derby meet on Sunday.

After winning the 13.2 hh and under class with her Welsh section A ponies Ovington Hermes and Marbon M’Lord – beating fellow-Jersey competitors Nicola Blandin and Angela Butel – she went on to be placed as Reserve Champion in the main ring championship.

‘I’m thrilled with the two of them,’ she said.

‘I have wanted to compete at the Horse of the Year show with a pair for a long time.

They performed so well, and it’s great to have got my place at the show – I’m not worried how we do once we get there!’ Bownes’s success is all the more notable because she qualified after competing in just three shows – the Hickstead one, she won the pairs class at Windsor and was third at the Lincolnshire Show.

The original plan to compete in five, to be sure of getting a place, had to be scrapped when both her vehicles broke down.

Fortunately, she was able to borrow a Land Rover from Nicola Blandin.

Blandin, meanwhile, has been enjoying success in the Private Driving classes, winning the 13 hh and under at the South of England show with her Welsh section C Oldemere Jester, and showing a novice pony, a ten-year-old Welsh section A stallion called Heniarth Quip.

‘He was only broken to harness in March,’ Blandin explained, ‘but he is fine on the big occasions.

He has been to Olympia under saddle and is showing great promise.

‘He’s only in third gear at the moment, but he’s had three wins in three outings and took first place at the Royal Cornwall Show.

His best is yet to come.’

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