Man to realise dream and compete at Badminton Horse Trials
PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 April 2018
A North Somerset man will make his debut at a world famous horse competition next month.
Alexander Whewall, aged 31, will take part in the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials and he has set his sights on a strong finish.
The Easton-in-Gordano man started riding when he was 12 when a chance riding lesson with his cousin saw him take up the reins.
He said the thought of jumping and riding at speed around a cross-country course ‘thrilled’ him when he competed for the first time when he was 16.
Whewall was able to forge himself a successful career thanks to the support of his parents and New Zealand international, four-star winner and Olympian Sir Mark Todd.
He said: “I was lucky enough to win the Mark Todd Bridging The Gap scholarship in 2016 and this really helped my career, receiving guidance from Sir Mark Todd along with my long-term trainer Lizzel Winter.
“It has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to this exciting point in my career.
“I first went to the Badminton Horse Trials at the age of 13 and dreamed of riding there, so it is really exciting to be riding around the world famous trials, especially as it is so local.”
Whewall, who will be riding Lisa Coward’s horse Chakiris Star, has carefully planned his preparation runs to ensure they are ready to compete at ‘peak performance’.
He finished in the top 20 at Les Etoiles De Pau in October last year which helped secure his position.
The former 2016 British Eventing Intermediate Champions have their final preparations underway, despite numerous cancellations and abandonments of fixtures due to the weather.
After one international competition was cancelled, the duo were reliant on a good run at Burnham Market Internationals and Belton International ahead of the main event.
Whewall said: “We decided to run Chakiris Star in the advanced [section] which was a good decision on our lead up to Badminton as the CIC3* was cancelled due to heavy rain and would of meant, like a lot of people, we would miss a crucial run in the build-up.”
Whewall has one final event at the Belton International Horse Trials next weekend before the main event on May 3-7.