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EQUESTRIAN: Hayward impresses with second spot.

Byline: KATE HEALEY

ATHERSTONE'S Richard Hayward was in good form at British Dressage's Talent Spotting national competition at Addington Manor Equestrian Centre in Buckinghamshire.

The 19-year-old finished second in the Young Rider final, which was won by Caroline Princz. The event was split over two days, with riders partnering both their own horse and strange rides and being judging across a range of criteria from correctness of position to star quality.

Richard's own ride was the 16.2hh chestnut gelding Fear Darrig, who is now 17 but has been with the Warwickshire teenager for just 18 months.

"Our test together on the first day wasn't the best we've ever done - nerves got the better of both of us a bit," explained Richard, who was lying 10th at that stage.

The situation improved on the second day, when the under 21 candidates had to ride three strange horses.

"I started working at Weston Lawns Equestrian Centre at Bulkington two months ago, riding and competing with the horses there," Richard continued. "That means I ride a lot of different horses and that both helps me with assessing different horses quickly and keeping a good fitness level."

His second ride was one Richard particularly gelled with and he moved up the order rapidly to be one of three riders chosen to compete in the final ride-off.

"In the ride off we again rode new horses," he added. "We had two really nice horses from the Talland School of Equitation who were working at Prix St. Georges level.

"We had training sessions with a coach in the arena and had to say how we would improve each horse. Both went well for me and I moved up to finish second."

Richard qualified Fear Darrig for the Summer Regional Finals at elementary level and is now working towards qualification for the Winter Regional Championships, at the step higher medium level.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Nov 8, 2003
Words:315
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