When Lucinda Fredericks cantered into the arena for the final phase of the 2009 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event she admits that she didn’t feel that nervous. She knew that her little chestnut mare, Headley Britannia, was ready for the challenge ahead.
“I had a good feeling. It’s rare to have that feeling of trust and rapport with a horse,” said Lucinda. “I just did a few flying changes on the way to the arena to sharpen her up.”
Lucinda had faith in her 15.2 hand Thoroughbred-cross. After all, “Brit” had already won two four-star events in England: Burghley in 2006 and Badminton in 2007. And she’d made the huge Olympic course in Hong Kong in 2008 look easy!
After an excellent dressage test and a speedy gallop around the cross-country course, Lucinda was in first place going into the showjumping phase. She and Brit had only one jumping rail over Bettina Hoy and Ringwood Cockatoo to win. As it turned out, the popular pair didn’t need it. They jumped a clear round and were inside the time.
Over the past three days, Lucinda and her tiny mare had become crowd favorites.
“I had so many people in the crowd rooting for me and Brit,” said Lucinda. “She’s really gone to everyone’s hearts. I’ve been letting her loose on the grass out outside the stables and we’ve had so many kids come and visit her.”
When Brit arrived at Lucinda’s barn in 2002, she wasn’t so popular. Lucinda had agreed to ride the little Thoroughbred cross for a few months and then sell her for her owners. But Headley Britannia never left. Why?
“Nobody wanted her so she ended up staying with me,” explained Lucinda. “You cannot touch her ears or pull anything over her head, so she has to have her bridle put on in bits.”
Lucinda couldn’t find a buyer for “Brit.” At 15.3 hands, top eventers wouldn’t try her because they thought she was too small. And she was a little too hot to handle for junior riders.
“Brit and I wind each other up sometimes, but we cope with each other,” said Lucinda. “Brit is very feisty!”
Lucinda said she had an exhilarating ride around the cross-country course. “I’ve never been that fast in my life. I really went for it!”
The zippy pair had one tricky moment on the cross country course at the Head of the Lake jump. After Brit bobbled a bit after landing off the drop to the lake, Lucinda lost her reins and made a split-second decision to go the long route over the second obstacle. “It was unplanned,” said Lucinda. “Brit was in control though.”
Your big chance to see this dynamic duo is next year at the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky.
“Brit and I will be hungry for gold next year at the World Equestrian Games,” said Lucinda.