HICKSTEAD: Local rider wins national competition sponsored by Essex based Insurance company

Hockley’s Harry Bateman had an early victory in the Longines International Arena at Hickstead. Riding Teza Englefield’s Lex Lokoda, he took the spoils in Wednesday’s SEIB Winter Novice Championship, besting a strong field of 23 over the 1.25m track.

“I’m absolutely over the moon – the horse totally deserves it, and we love him,” enthuses Bateman, who only took the ride on a week before qualifying for the Longines Royal International Horse Show at the beginning of this year.

The 8-year-old gelding measures in at just 15.3hh and, at 8-years-old, he’s reasonably inexperienced too.

“He’s only little but he’s such a huge character. He’s a pocket rocket with an enormous stride,” says Bateman. “I said to Teza that I found the first round very backwards – it’s a little bit his nemesis because he’s got such a big stride and quite a lot of blood, so he loves to run. The jump-off suits him perfectly, but the first round – well, you’ve got to jump clear to get to the next bit. I think we’re quite similar in that sense.”

Englefield had her eye on the talented gelding from a young age – in fact, she was at his breeder’s yard on the day the horse was conceived and had broken his sire in years prior. Though she lost track of Lex Lokoda for a period of time, she jumped on the opportunity to purchase the horse when she found him for sale.

“I didn’t know he’d ever been sold, but when I saw him advertised I recognised the breeding – so I went in and beat everyone else to buying him,” she says. “Basically, I bought him sight unseen and totally untried. But he’s been a little star – he’s very popular and a lot of people enjoy following him. He’s got a heart as big as a lion.”

Bateman also finished third in the Champagne Cave Winter Grades B&C Championship, riding the 18hh Granby.

Photo:  Emily Gailey