Duke of York's Royal Military School

Kilgraston Pupils Celebrate Equestrian Successes

Published by Kilgraston on Tuesday 21st of March 2023

Kilgraston pupils celebrated equestrian successes having been selected to compete at some of the top levels. Now, they share their stories of commitment and dedication.


This year, my horse Joey and I were selected to compete for Scotland at the British Eventing International Youth Championships at Bishop Burton College in the BE90 under 18 class. Our selection was due to consistent performance in other Scottish events over the last two years, so it was a massive privilege to be part of the team and I was really excited. The competition was at the start of August, so I had some time to prepare for it. I had to do lots of fitness training with Joey to make sure he wouldn’t tire easily on the difficult cross-country course, I attended some team training at Lindores Equestrian and had lots of dressage lessons in preparation. The team also had to approach sponsors who very generously helped to pay for some of our kit for the competition, which was really exciting.

On the 2nd of August, nine other team members and I made the trip down to Yorkshire. The first day was a trot up which meant I had to show Joey to the vets and judges so that they could decide he was fit and healthy enough to compete. The whole team passed the trot up and so we were onto the next phase – dressage. This competition was a very high pressure environment with lots of spectators and other competitors in one place, with the added pressure of representing your country and being part of a team, which definitely made it more difficult. Partly because of this, my dressage test wasn’t quite as good as I had hoped, with a score of 33.5 but I knew that these thing weren’t always won on the dressage scores and each score was so close to the next, that any kind of mistake in the next phases could cost you a top spot.

The cross country followed the dressage, which I was very excited about, but also more nervous for this than I had been before. I had walked the course with two of the Scottish BE coaches, who had really helped us all with the technical combinations on the course, so each rider knew exactly what they were doing. The first 17 jumps on the course were fantastic for me and Joey, he was flying over every jump and we were ahead of the optimum time, which was a good place to be. I could really feel all of my hard work paying off because of how confident he felt on the course.

The second last jump was probably the trickiest on the course for us. It was a very skinny brush jump, followed by a green log jump. Unfortunately, I rode Joey too fast to the skinny jump, and he saw an opportunity to slip out the side, giving us 20 penalties. When I re-presented Joey to the jump, I didn’t position him quite well enough, and the same thing happened a further two times, causing us to be eliminated from the competition. I was very upset that I had stopped myself from completing the competition, especially as this is the first time I have been eliminated from a competiton and it was one that I had looked forward to for a long time and had been so proud to be taking part in.

The following day was showjumping. Joey and I weren’t competing, but fortunately all of my teammates were so I cheered them all on, and they did a great job. Some of the team were disappointed with their results, and some were pleased with what they had achieved, but it just shows how much the pressure can affect people and I have come away from the experience knowing that next time I have a stop on the cross country, I won’t panic. Overall, it was a fantastic experience, and I’m really glad that I went. I made loads of friends, I watched some incredible riding and I really enjoyed the riding that I did.

Thank you so much to my family, all the coaches and instructors, everyone involved in the organising of the event at Bishop Burton, all of our sponsors, my fantastic teammates, and thank you, of course, to Joey. (Also a big thank you to the tyre fitter who fixed our blow out on the way home at 2am on the M74!!)

Charlotte, Lower Sixth


I was delighted to have been selected to join the Scotland u18 team. It took a lot of hard work and dedication to get selected because a few of the qualifying classes run through when we have exams in April and May. From sewing Scotland flags onto my kit, to then going round a huge cross country and show-jumping course, I loved every second of it. There was pressure to not let the team or your pony down during the week after all the training we went through to get there.

Thankfully all the horses passed the vet check and trot up and everyone managed to preform a good dressage test. Then on cross country day, the majority of us went clear and unfortunately Freddie and I had two refusals at the second last fence which dropped us way down the placings. However, the next day was show-jumping and Freddie and I were first to go and it was definitely the highlight of my week, getting a clear round, as well as most the team which left Scotland in eight place.

Daisy, Lower Sixth

Kilgraston Pupils Celebrate Equestrian Successes - Photo 1
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