Saluting the Voltaire Design Grassroots Champions

Wednesday 7th - 11th May 2025

Saluting the Voltaire Design Grassroots Champions

The Voltaire Design Grassroots Championships at the MARS Badminton Horse Trials is a highlight and cherished ambition for many novice and amateur riders who have been competing at qualifiers all over the country for a place in the final at Badminton.

The Voltaire Design BE100 Championship was a triumph for osteopath Lucinda Mills (pictured), competing her own Chaconda Blue; the pair added no jumping penalties to their dressage score of 26.8.

‘Who doesn’t want to ride at Badminton,’ she said. ‘I have been coming here as a spectator since I was a kid and to ride in front of big crowds, in the sunshine, with everyone cheering, was something else.’

The runner-up was Niamh Richardson on Cartown Bonny Bell and Victoria O’Brien and Unnamed finished third in a competitive field of 67 starters.

The top three in the well supported BE90 Championship, which had more than 100 starters, were from all corners of the UK. Ben Fairbrother, from Stirlingshire in Scotland, the dressage runner-up, rose one place to take the win on his mother Jo’s Upper Limit, finishing just 0.3 of a penalty ahead of Pembrokeshire, Wales-based Dr Katie Matthias on Lodor Carl. Suzanne Ross from Warwickshire was third with Findatie Bracken.

Ben, who is studying for a masters in civil engineering at Dundee University, was brought up show jumping, but switched to eventing around three years ago. ‘I’m really enjoying it and you get to come to lovely places like this. We always watch it on television every year, but it is amazing actually to come here.’

Also taking place on the first day of the Horse Trials was the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse qualifiers. The five-year-old section was won by Dani Evans on Sara Sjoborg Wik’s SHE Rowena Cade, a grey mare by Irco Mena, and the four-year-old class by Andrew James with Toni Wise and Lady Jane Clarendon’s Mr Fury, by War Command.