For many the thought of any kind of return to learning online fills them with dread: for sisters Kristy and Annie V. it has allowed them to pursue their show jumping careers abroad at this winter’s International Sunshine tour. Travelling to Hubside Jumping, St Tropez, during October and then to Montenmedio in Spain at the end of November, they made the headlines on several occasions. Not put off by finding themselves in the company of some of the world’s top show jumpers, (John Whitaker, Joseph Stockdale, Michael Duffy, Nicola Philppaerts, Holly Smith and Maikel van der Vleuten to name but a few), the sisters continued their rise up the ranks, achieving victories and placings in almost every class they competed in, including the Grand Prix competitions which bring any competition to a close and offer the biggest prize pot of the event.
Representing their home country, the Czech Republic, highlights from Hubside were certainly Kristy’s 6th place in the Small Tour Grand Prix, as well as her win in a speed class and a 2nd place for Annie, all in illustrious company. However, a month on from this and the experience gained at Hubside set them up for even greater success at the combined 2* and 3* event at Montenmedio. As this event was hosting a team Nations Cup, as well and an Olympic qualifier, in the 10 days that they were there, it had attracted some of the very best competitors from 18 nations who were to take part in this team competition. It was Kristy who made the headlines once more with her little pony stallion, Kamirez van Orchids, with wins and placings in every class they competed including the Grand Prix on the final day of competition. Stepping up into the Medium Tour classes, both girls were jumping 1.30 and 1.35 classes, with top ten places at this level for both Kristy and Annie.
Over the summer both girls took part in the Czech National Championships. Riding in the Children on Horses Championships, Kristina was 3rd and Annie 6th. However in the pony competition, Annie was crowned champion for the third successive year, a massive achievement when you think she was only 10 when she won it for the first time. Kristy was just behind her in bronze medal position. In the Czech Show Jumping Cup, a series of competitions is for elite showjumpers, it was Annie who triumphed once again, with Kristy once more taking bronze. Following this success, Annie was selected to represent her country at an international competition in Zuchovica (Bosnia and Herzegovina), achieving 4th place.
At the FEI Young riders Championships, Kristy was 4th in the Grand Prix, thus achieving selection for the Czech team at a FEI Young Rider Championship event in Austria at the end of August. On this occasion a combination of the COVID quarantine restrictions and the start of the new School year meant that she was unable to compete.
Both girls returned to the normality of School Progress tests this week, but the experience of being able to jump their horses in a variety of classes at these two prestigious shows resulted in phenomenal progress from both riders and improved partnerships with their horses, some of which are new to them this autumn. As junior riders they are not yet eligible for senior teams but we will be watching their progress in the junior teams and who knows – in the future all the way to the Olympics!