Eventer Chelsea Pearce is on a busy gap year - with a busy competition season finally underway
With her A Levels behind her, eventer Chelsea Pearce, who is based near Marlborough, is making the most of her gap year.
She has been working hard with her horses and has much enjoyed the chance to ride out for jumps trainer Jonjo O'Neill at his Jackdaws Castle yard near Cheltenham. In March she went to Manchester to speak at the BBC Sports Women in Sport conference. In between there has been the complex business of applying for a university place.
However, her year has been somewhat interrupted. All eventers have suffered from their season's slow start - with bad weather leading to several competitions being abandoned after a day or cancelled.
She began the season at Tweseldown on March 8 with Albert VI and Kilnaboy Buffet in the OI class. To start his season Kilnaboy Buffet finished seventh with a great run and a steady cross country round.
Albert’s seasonal debut was not such plain-sailing - resulting in horse and riderparting company half-way round the cross country when he got in too close to a fence and left a leg - sending Chelsea out of the side door.
As she told marlboroughequestrian.news: "Both of us walked away unscathed and I was glad to get my first fall out the way this season!"
Chelsea's first international competition of the season was at Bicton Arena at the end of April. Albert VI led the Dressage and jumped a superb double clear, but time penalties dropped them from top spot to finish seventh: "Still a very pleasing run. Kilnaboy Buffet ran well with improvement still to come in his dressage."
Chelsea is in the Young Rider age group and has already had her first Young Rider Trial: "Albert VI excelled himself to finish fourth, producing another double clear and great dressage test. Kilnaboy Buffet improved from his last outing, rolling a couple of poles show jumping - denying him a top ten finish."
Albert VI is now preparing for the trip to Norfolk for the Houghton Hall International - CCIYR2* - National Young Rider Championships May 24-27. The Young Rider European Championships are being held at Fontainebleau in July.
Last weekend (May 18-19) Djakota EB made his seasonal debut at Rockingham Castle International, Leicestershire in the CIC*. In the dressage Chelsea and Djakota EB had a 'super score' of 24.5.
On day two Chelsea tweeted: "Djakota was on form today giving me an amazing cross country ride in the CIC*" - leaving them in second place. However: "Unfortunately the jockey rode like a muppet in the show jumping meaning we had four faults - costing us second place, to finish seventh."
Chelsea is hugely grateful to her sponsors: Ariat Europe, Aqueos, Haygain Hay Steamers, Gain Equine Nutrition, Sederholm Saddles and Longcroft Building Services Ltd who continue to support me and my Team. She says: "Without them, none of this would be possible."