Riders battle it out at Willow Banks for New York prize

Kirton Lindsey rider Marie pops the champagne corks after winning a holiday to the Big Apple EMN-170928-141354002
Kirton Lindsey rider Marie pops the champagne corks after winning a holiday to the Big Apple EMN-170928-141354002

The competition was hot as show jumpers headed to Willow Banks Equestrian Centre to compete for the biggest unaffiliated prize in the UK.

Riders had been qualifying all summer to reach the Willow Banks 90cm Road to New York series final and battle it out to win a long weekend in the Big Apple.

Marie Girdem toasts a third clear round EMN-170928-141332002

Marie Girdem toasts a third clear round EMN-170928-141332002

The top 40 riders made it through to the final which was set over a course of 90cm and jumped over three rounds.

A total of 14 riders jumped clear over the first round height of 90cm to progress to round two.

Just six combinations came through a shortened course over 1m and make it through to the decisive final jump-off.

Marie Girdem, from Kirton Lindsey, jumped first and posted a slow clear round.

Marie Girdem clears the last in the six-horse jump-off EMN-170928-141343002

Marie Girdem clears the last in the six-horse jump-off EMN-170928-141343002

The next four rounds all produced a minimum of four faults, but last to go was the favourite for the competition, Georgie Marriot, riding Smokey.

A brilliant clear round in a fast time looked on the cards, but Smokey took a strong dislike to the final fence and was eliminated, handing victory and the New York holiday to Marie who was the only rider to secure a treble clear.

Paris Kirby finished in second place, riding PK, and last year’s winner Sasha Munroe-Sears, riding Spawn of Satan, completed the podium.

The Claxby-based equestrian centre will do it all over again next year with qualifiers due to get under way in February.

Willow Banks has just a handful of shows left this year with the finale on Christmas Eve.