Johnny Hustler heading for Badminton Horse Trials
- Credit: Archant
East Anglian riders fortunate enough to have qualified for the championships will be making the long drive to Gloucestershire next Wednesday and Thursday, to compete on the sacred soil of the most famous international horse event, Badminton Horse Trials.
Norfolk rider Johnny Hustler and his horse Ich Heisse Peanut are on their way, having qualified at Burnham Market last September by winning the BE100 regional final.
Peanut and Johnny have been together since 2007 and Johnny says they have been inseparable.
'He is pretty reliable in both the jumping phases, but the biggest challenge will be the flowers, flags and picket fencing around the dressage arena,' said Johnny, who will be taking part in his second Badminton Grassroots Championships, after coming 16th in 2011.
Georgina Underdown from Lowestoft earned a direct qualification to the event last summer at Great Witchingham in the BE100 three-day-event.
Her long-term eventing partner, Norton Rene, has had a string of wins in preparation for the event, including another win at Great Witchingham in March.
'We have been working really hard on our dressage, as we know that's where you win,' said Georgia. 'He won't event next year as he is 16, so we are going to go and do the best we can.'
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Alyson Parker from Essex qualified two horses for the championships this year while other regional riders to be spotted include young rider Zara Lye riding 14.2hh Tiny Tom and Cher East from Essex who competes in the BE100 2013 championship on the 16.3hh gelding Don Markus. Jane Hood from Saffron Walden on Knave of Golden Hearts is returning for a second appearance.
The destructive weather last year meant that Badminton Horse Trials and the Grassroots Championships had to be abandoned, so in addition to this year's championships, the 2012 championships will also be taking place, where 2011 qualifiers can have their chance to be crowned champions.