Lily rides her way to championship finals

Lily Payne and Cara.
Lily Payne and Cara.

Birthday girl Lily Payne celebrated in style by securing two titles in the music classes at the Winter Regionals held at Bishop Burton.

Success means 13-year-old equestrian ace Lily has booked her place at the Championship finals.

The Leverton-based Boston High School student rode two foot-perfect tests to take the title in both the PDS Saddles Elementary Silver Music Freestyle to music and the Baileys Horse Feeds Novice Gold Freestyle to music. 

Riding Ann Savage’s 11-year-old mare Beckhouse Cancara (Cara), the duo topped two 70+ per cent scores riding to the music, coming above several older riders in her section.

After deciding Cara’s trot work had changed since the last time Lily had ridden to her music, Julie Geraghty from Equivisions set about tweaking the floor plan and music to accompany it to fit, which was then debuted in the novice test.

After taking over the ride from mum Sarah Payne in 2015, the duo have been unstoppable ever since, scooping various regional and national qualifications over the last year.

And it doesn’t look like they are stopping anytime soon. 

Trained by Sarah and Daryll Thickitt, Lily is constantly looking to improve.

Being based at the family home at Sheepgate Equestrian has no doubt given Lily a great start to her dressage career as she’s been heavily involved in the day-to- day life of running and riding in high-profile competitions. 

Despite having never ridden to her new music, Lily and Cara rode for every mark and was spot on with her timing to the music.

Lily and Cara were both placed in the novice restricted class at the Winter Championships last year and so had to move up to the gold section this year.

“I can’t stop smiling, Cara gave me quite a new feeling of power this weekend and I was so pleased with the tests,” Lily said.

“I’m really looking forward to the Winter Championships at Hartpury as it’s such a fantastic show.

“I must thank mum who helps me so much by supporting me so much in the working in and makes sure I’m ready for my tests and Ann who has given me this great opportunity of riding Cara.”

The duo will now start preparing for the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships, which are to be held over four days at Hartpury Arena in April. 

The combination has amazingly qualified for three places in the final after they also won the elementary bronze section at the PetPlan Area Festivals in September.