Wonder Will clinches top title

Will Furlong is all smiles at the Askham Bryan EQ Life Houghton International Horse Trials 2014. Picture courtesy Adam Fanthorpe
Will Furlong is all smiles at the Askham Bryan EQ Life Houghton International Horse Trials 2014. Picture courtesy Adam Fanthorpe
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An up-and-coming rider from Battle has won a prestigious eventing competition.

Will Furlong clinched the Askham Bryan National U21 title at the EQ Life Houghton International Horse Trials in Norfolk last weekend.

The 19-year-old came out on top in an extremely competitive field of established British youth team regulars, as well as rising young talent.

On an influential final day when just four horses left all the poles in their cups, Furlong moved three places up the leaderboard to claim the title riding his own German-bred dark brown 11-year-old gelding, Livingstone II.

Furlong is no stranger to the podium having scooped an individual bronze medal at the 2013 FEI Junior Europeans with his mare Pioneer Silvie as part of the Racesafe British junior team.

As part of his raft of prizes at Houghton, Furlong also won the use of a Suzuki quad bike for 12 months thanks to Suzuki ATV, plus a bridle from the Worshipful Company of Saddlers.

British Young Rider Selectors chairman Alex Colquhoun said: “It was a glorious competition at Houghton with a very exciting finish. Will Furlong showed good maturity and coolness under pressure to produce a solid performance to take the Askham Bryan National U21 Championship title.”

Sophie Beaty, an 18-year-old from Northamptonshire, also climbed up the leaderboard with just one rail down riding her own and Alison Booth’s bay, Dutch-bred 15-year-old gelding Stanly, to take the runner-up spot.

Isabella Innes Ker, a 19-year-old from Roxburghshire, dropped a place to third, while overnight leader Navigator, also ridden by Beaty, withdrew after not being presented at the final vet inspection.