Barnstaple amateur rider achieves lifelong ambition

North Devon Gazette

It has been almost 25 years since Kirsty Budd first developed her love for horses and a sport that reaches its pinnacle with the prestigious Horse of the Year Show, held at the NEC in Birmingham.Â

The countless mornings, afternoons and evenings of practise and care finally paid off for Kirsty this year, as she qualified in the Search for a Star category, Working Pony Class. Â

Not content with qualification at this special event, Kirsty, a former student at The Park School in Barnstaple, went on to achieve a brilliant third place on her nine year-old Fell Pony, Greta, and it has whetted the appetite for more success in the future. Â

“My event is a show in class, incorporating some jumps as well, and the atmosphere inside the arena was electric,” said Kirsty. “It was quite a lot for the horses to take in because they’re not used to that environment, so it did take a lot of preparation for Greta. Â

“I was really proud of how Greta reacted, she stayed very relaxed. I also didn’t feel as nervous as I thought I would, probably because I was concentrating so much. When we completed the round, I was really happy with how it went and couldn’t have asked any more from Greta.Â

“The scores coming in was a feeling of great pride, both for myself at reaching this goal, and also for Greta.Â

Kirsty works as a Children’s Mental Health Therapist and has done all the training with Greta by herself.Â

“I have always loved animals and first started riding at the age of five," she said. "I got my first pony when I was 11 and that was when I first started competing. I fell in love with it straightaway and all I ever wanted to achieve. Â

“It is a sport that requires lifelong commitment, every morning and every evening after work, regardless of the weather. I’ve had Greta since she was four years-old, so five years together and hard work.Â

“Our relationship is very special, we’ve reached my lifelong dream and the next ambition is to hopefully qualify again.”Â