Osteopath Lucinda Mills was crowned the BE100 champion in the Voltaire Design Grassroots Championships at MARS Badminton Horse Trials today (Wednesday 8 May). Riding her own Chaconda Blue, the duo led after dressage on a score of 25.8 before adding a single showjumping time-fault to seal victory.

“It’s out of this world. She’s only seven and has never been in an atmosphere like this. She just held her own from start to finish and behaved like a true professional,” said Lucinda of the mare she bought as a just-backed three-year-old. “We’ve taken it steady for the first couple of years, and this year she’s been so ready to get on with it.”

Pictured is the BE100 Voltaire Design Grassroots Champion at Badminton Lucinda Mills collecting her prize aboard Chaconda Blue

 BE100 champions Lucinda Mills and Chaconda Blue

NIKON Z 8 · f/8 · 1/1000s · 29mm · ISO1250

Lucinda is based in Stratford-upon-Avon. She is a qualified human osteopath and is currently training in equine and canine osteopathy. “I also freelance ride while I’m building up my business to earn some more money,” she said.

Lucinda describes her winning mare, ‘Noodle’, as being “a bit of a diva”.

“She’s quite a hot head. She knows she’s queen but she’s lovely and she loves a cuddle,” added Lucinda. “I’m hoping to do a few novices this season and keep learning. We’ll hopefully progress up through he grades and have some fun while doing it.”

‘We spent more time in the air’

Runner-up Niamh Richardson said she spent more time on the ground than in the saddle when she first bought her mare, Cartown Bonny Bell.

“She was really green when I got her. There were a lot of tears to start with and I though ‘Gosh, what have I bought?’,” confessed Niamh. “She wouldn’t go near a log on the floor and there were poles everywhere. My instructor, Mel Chapman, has a beautiful indoor and I think I spent a year dusting the cobwebs on the roof. We spent more time up in the air. But you know she is awesome now and she really shone today.”

Runner up Niamh Richardson on Cartown Bonny Bell

Niamh lives in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, and works at Copgrove Hall Stud.

“We breed Flat racehorses so I get to play with baby foals all the time. I graduated from university last year doing professional policing so it’s a complete career change but I’m really happy,” added Niamh.

The horse with no name

An unnamed horse carried project manager Victoria O’Brien into third place, finishing on their first-phase score of 31.8.

“His passport when I bought him was a duplicate and I had to send it back to Ireland. They said it would take a couple of months and then everyone kept pushing me, and I was like I’m not naming him if everyone keeps telling me what to do! So I’ve just left it as unnamed, but I will send it off,” said Victoria, a one-horse owner who lives in Warwickshire.

Her eight-year-old gelding is known as Otis at home and was originally purchased for Victoria to take hunting.

Third: Victoria O’Brien on Unnamed 

“My friend dragged me to a dressage lesson and it went from there. That was two or three years ago,” added Victoria, who project manages property development. “[Work is] busy enough, but he’s so easy which always helps. He’ll hack out on his own and I know I can always get on him and he might be a bit fresh but he’ll never do anything to be too silly.”

Alison Stewart on her own Rico III finished fourth, ahead of Claire McCann and her own Cloverdor.

View the full BE100 results in the Voltaire Design Grassroots Championships here.

Images: Photography by Kit Houghton & Sally Newcomb/Badminton Horse Trials

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