Trowell’s 23-year-old Breeze was placed first in Concours d’Elegance at championship horse show, Royal London.
Paula Rigley, 30, and her 23-year-old horse, Breeze from Trowell competed in the Championship horse show, Royal London last weekend for the 5th time in 5 years, having also placed in Equestrian Life’s Championship this August.
Concours d’Elegance is the highlight of the show, taking place in the evening, with riders wearing formal dresses in the traditional class.
Paula and Breeze also placed 2nd in the veteran class on Saturday. The veteran class is for horses and ponies over 15 years of age.
Picture: Paula and Breeze performing in Concours D’Elegnace on Saturday, where they became show champions.
In human years, Breeze is almost 70 years-old, making her a senior horse – but this isn’t holding her back in the show ring. In fact, she is thriving, as are many older horse across the nation.
In recent years, the average age of horses has increased dramatically, from 15-years being a good age, to many living and competing into their late 20’s and early 30’s. The average horse’s lifespan is now between 25-30 years, with ponies living even longer.
“The Royal London Show caters to all types breed, size and ages of horses and ponies. There is no age limit for horses and we offer veteran classes for horses 15-years and over, so they can still shine”.
– Peter Nichols, organiser of Royal London Show
Peter Nichols, the shows organiser says:
“Over the last 5 years, show classes have grown and more older horses are competing. It isn’t unusual any-more to see older horses competing. We expect to see many horses over 20 years competing this year, especially in the veteran class. My own horses are now in their late 20’s and early 30’s.”
When Paula brought the horse, she trained her in all the showing disciplines. The horse, Breeze, a Connemara and New Forest cross breed, didn’t have a competitive background. She was previously ridden by children, who had riding lessons on the horse.
She says: ‘I bought Breeze in 2000, when she was 8 years old and I’ve had her 15 years now.’
Paula has been competing since she was 4 years-old at Eastwood Riding Club and Ilkeston Riding Club, based in Trowell.
“Breeze is my world and she makes me so proud to own her. I love every minute with her, having the partnership that every horse owner dreams of!”
– Miss Rigley, Breeze’s owner.
Paula competes to a high standard, achieving 1st place rosettes in classes held by The New Ilkeston and District Riding Club in Trowell. This earned her places in championship competitions, Royal London and Equestrian Life.
Paula and Breeze recently competed in the Equestrian Life 2015 Championships, where she placed 1st in several classes; 13.2 not exceeding 14.2 class, alternative coloured class and the veteran class.
At Royal London Show, the duo competed in 3 classes; Equitation, Alternative Coloured and the Veterans class over three days.
Paula says by competing an older horse she can get a lot of comments from the judges, saying how well Breeze looks for her age. Some are even shocked by her age when I tell them.
“I’m not sure if she is the oldest to compete at the national shows but when I compete in veteran class, she is usually the eldest there”.
Picture: Paula and Breeze with winning rosettes