HICKSTEAD: Izabella puts her foot down

Chelmsford schoolgirl Izabella Rogers, 11, blazed her way to victory in the Equestrizone Winter 128cm Championship at the Longines Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead.

Riding her 16-year-old pony Whinney Lass, Rogers sped into an unsurpassable lead – despite the fact that she doesn’t consider herself a natural fast rider.

“I like keeping my ponies contained and calm, but if I have to, I’ll put my foot down,” she says with a smile. Rogers’ methodical and mature approach comes in part from Essex trainer Rosie Holder. Her tutelages means that Rogers can now celebrate two consecutive wins in this class. This year, though, the competition was even stiffer.

“Last year I didn’t have to do the jump-off because I was the only clear – this year there was a few more people, so it was a lot harder,” explains Rogers. “I was just watching every round thinking, ‘okay, so where do I go, what time do I have to beat?’ Going in, it was so tense, but she covers the ground a lot, so it was pretty easy.”

Although Rogers hasn’t yet started secondary school, she’s certain that her future will involve showjumping. With six ponies of her own at home, and a plethora of yard duties to fit around her schoolwork, she’s certainly well set up for success.

Photo:   Emily Gailey