Annabel Groom talks to Devon’s eventing champion Lucy Wiegersma who will showcase her skills at this year’s South West Christmas Equine Fair in two weeks time.
Top international three-day event rider Lucy Wiegersma and her Irish boyfriend Padraig McCarthy will be giving spectators plenty of food for thought at the Equine Fair as they demonstrate how to start a horse.
Lucy is no stranger to the Westpoint venue in Exeter, and over the two days (December 8-9) she plans to provide something "a bit fresh and different" in the main arena.
"Padraig has started horses all his life using a good sound system that works," said Lucy who starts her own horses at her Beaworthy yard, in West Devon, the same way.
"There are no gimmicks – it is just based on good common sense. We hope to make the demo very accessible to everyone and that they will take ideas away and work on them to successfully start their own animals."
The system, Lucy explains, is stress-free and the horses ride very well afterwards.
Joining the party will be a youngster that has not been sat on before – just lunged a couple of times – and a three-year-old who has been started using Lucy's and Padraig's techniques.
"It's really the chance to show spectators the before and after and prove there is no mystic or magic," added Lucy who noted that the sharper youngsters, in particular, respond very positively.
Lucy will be doing most of the talking while her Irish man jumps on board.
"We are looking forward to the two days and just hope it doesn't get too interesting in the arena, which can be a challenge for youngsters due to its size and atmosphere!"
Regularly featuring amongst the top five riders in the FEI World Rankings, Lucy is the only rider to have won all three national titles, crowning her Junior and Young Rider Championship victories by becoming Senior British National Champion in 2006. She can count Blenheim, Blair and Bramham amongst her three-day wins, and she narrowly missed out adding the Badminton title to her tally in 2008, when she finished second with Shaabrak.
Lucy is a veteran of five European Championship teams at under 21 level, where her successes included individual and team medals. She was selected for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but after her horse went lame, she had to wait another year to make her senior squad debut at the Europeans in France.
At her Devon base she has nurtured and trained a string of young horses, all with championship medal winning potential.
To watch Lucy and Padraig's daily demo, head to the main arena at: 11.45am – 12.30pm on Saturday, December 8, and 2pm – 2.45pm on Sunday, December 9.