A head girl and trainee accountant were crowned champions at the Voltaire Design Grassroots Championships, held in Badminton yesterday (May 4).

Katherine Illingworth won the BE100 title on seven-year-old Ballinoecastle Q from Philip Adkins.

Katherine is the head girl at Philip’s Cadenza Eventing yard in Northamptonshire and the 27-year-old added nothing to her dressage score of 29.5 to finish 1.5 penalties ahead of the finalists.

“I’m very lucky to compete with Philip’s horses and I can’t thank him enough. He put a lot of work and money into my riding,” Katherine said.

“The atmosphere [at Badminton] is fantastic, everyone helps you,” she added.

Hannah Taylor finished second aboard her own Legaland Best One. The rider has a triple career as an engineering student, part-time rider, and pet portrait painter.

North Yorkshire farmer and photographer Katie Stephens-Grandy came third aboard Trendy Magic Touch.

“I didn’t expect to win”

BE90 champions Siobhan Heneghan and Murmured Promise in action. Credit: Kit Houghton

Trainee accountant Siobhan Heneghan piloted her mother Lisa’s Mermured Promise to victory in the BE90 Championship.

The 11-year-old iron gray gelding is bred in Ireland by Mermus and the pair finished on their dressage score of 28.

“It’s been the best experience ever,” said Siobhan, from south Oxfordshire. “I just wanted to come here and have a good time – I didn’t expect to win.”

Veterinary physiotherapist Laura Gibson, on Sally Hayward’s Gortglas Moonshine, finished 1.5 penalties behind the winners for second place.

Megan Elphick only Jamelia placed third.

“Our Crown Jewels”

“Having the Voltaire Design Grassroots Championships at Badminton is absolutely essential for British Eventing,” said Helen West, Managing Director of British Eventing.

“It’s the pinnacle for our local members and it’s our crown jewels. This is what so many of our members strive for and by competing here today they have fulfilled their lifelong ambition – and that is very, very special.

The Badminton Horse Trials CCI5* competition, presented by MARS Equestrian, started today with the first day of dressage.

Main image: BE100 champion Katherine Illingworth and Ballinoecastle Q during the awards ceremony outside Badminton House. Credit: Kit Houghton

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