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Posted on Feb 8, 2019 in Articles

Sue Chapplehow-Lacey & Gromit The Highland Pony : Interview Pre MMCUP19 @ Badminton

Sue Chapplehow-Lacey & Gromit The Highland Pony : Interview Pre MMCUP19 @ Badminton

Article sponsored by Le Jabot & Stock Company 


Sue and ‘Gromit’ have qualified for the Mitsubushi Motors Cup 2019 held at Badminton Horse Trials . This is the VERY FIRST highland pony to ever qualify and we are extremely excited to be following their progress and build up to this prestigious event.  We recently caught up with them to find out how they are feeling and how their preparations are going…….


Sue can you start by telling us about Gromit?

Glenmore of Roisbehinn a.k.a. Gromit is a 14 hands pure bred Highland. he is 12 years old he is a beautiful yellow dun. He has royalty in his veins his great grand sire is one of the Queens ponies – Balmoral Moss.

So you had a great season in 2018 this must fill you with confidence ?

Gromit and I have had a very consistent 2018 BE season majority of events being in the top 10 with a few wins at both BE80 and BE90. This has set us in good stead for the 2019 season already gained two BE90 regional final tickets for the 2020 finals.

Your record with Gromit shows that he always seems to be in the placings. How confident are you for him at badminton? How do you think he will cope with the atmosphere?

I would hope that with all the show ring experience Gromit has that the atmosphere at badminton should not faze him. He went to HOYS in 2018 I was so pleased with him he took the atmosphere in the Caldene ring like a pro.

What challenges do you expect Badminton will present this year?

My main challenges with badminton and any course in fact with Gromit is the distance on the spreads cross country – not that I can’t do them with ease. Just sometimes they will put a spread and then a dogleg into a skinny. Which unusually have to ride on a bit to get the distance on the spread then hit the brakes on the landings tried to get the turn for the next fence (thank God he has good brakes and steering).


Who will you be walking the course with?

As for walking the course I usually do this on my own but in my head I have my sister (Clare Chappelhow) and Major Birtwistle saying “kick on”.

Do you set yourself targets to aim for during an event? Such as dressage score or a mark for a particular movement?

I tried to go to events with a very open mind, I found with the dressage the higher listed judge I have the better my marks. The showjumping would be our weakest point. And cross-country jumping elements so far have been no problem I just have to watch for the time unusually going to fast.

Is it possible to feel relaxed whilst you are competing at this prestigious event ? Do you watch other competitors to assess marking, ground or jumping lines?

I usually don’t have time to watch others any spare moment are filled with feeding and changing children. If I had to have a doubt about a part on a course I will go and walk it several times.

What are your indispensable pieces of kit?

Indispensable piece of kit has to be my friends and family without these people none of this would be possible. But if I had to choose a item it would actually have to be my NET-TEX seven day away mud spray, This saves me so much time spray on tails & legs, leaving them clean and tangle free.

What are your tips for Rider and Horse recovery after an event?

Recovery after the cross country phase I do allow my horses to have a drink as they feel fit – my horses at home live out 24 seven so usually do not gulp a vast amount water after exercising. They are allowed to walk about and pick at grass. I don’t use any products on their legs as I would rather see a swelling or bump immediately not disguise it.

What will be your aim after Badminton?

After badminton we will continue eventing and aiming for the Scottish BE Championships held at Blair horse trials. In between badminton and Blair I will be concentrating on the HOYS working hunter qualifiers.

Do you get nervous competing and how do you cope with the nerves? 

My nerves and anxiety and my biggest hindrance I do use Radionics (Joy Harrison) which has improved my anxiety no end. As for nerves I just try and stay away from everybody it’s about my pony and I been in our bubble with full concentration.

What does competing at Badminton Horse Trials mean to you?

I think to compete at badminton is every little girls dream. Okay once upon a time it was to complete a four-star level but being realistic that’s not going to happen now. So when they moved the BE 90 championships to badminton that was my goal and only opportunity to compete at the prestigious badminton horse trials. I have to say I have been very fortunate to have had my first ride at the grassroots Championships in 2011 on my homebred mare Crackenthorpe Nightingale and we should of returned in 2012 but it got postponed to 2013 due to heavy rain.  I had both Crackenthorpe Nightingale and Crackenthorpe Formula One. Formula One actually retired at badminton at the age of 21 and is currently still standing at stud rising 27 this year.

What events will you be aiming to get to and complete as a build up to badminton?

I had the wonderful plan of coming out at Epworth or Oasby but this is not going to happen due to fitness levels not been where I require at this time. So the new plan will be to come out at either Northallerton or Dalkeith in April. I have been known in the past just to have one run prior to the championships.

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Article Sponsored by Le Jabot & Stock Company

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