Georgie Spence is on the UK’s most talented young riders with a string of accolades to her name. The 26 year old is based at her own yard near Chippenham, making her one of the most local riders to the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
Georgie competed at Badminton for the first time with Running Brook at the age of 19, and in 2009 she was the only rider to complete the cross country course with two horses inside the time – Running Brook and Birthday Night. She last competed here on the latter of the two horses in 2011.
A member of the Pony European Event squad, Georgie went on to win a Team Silver medal at the Junior Europeans in 2006, and competed at the Young Rider Europeans in 2007, 2008 and 2009, winning two Team Gold medals in the process.
This year at Badminton she rides Wii Limbo – owned by Lucy Fleming, Ben Chittle and Vanessa Jamieson – a 12 year old Dutch bred gelding. The combination were entered for the event last year, but Georgie was forced to withdraw at the 11th hour. They went on to complete Burghley in September with a clear cross country.
With a week to go until the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, Eventing Worldwide caught up with Georgie to find out more about her aims for this year and beyond
Tell us about the horse you are riding?
This year I am riding Wii Limbo, aka Woody. He is a horse I bought as a three year old and have produced myself. He is a super talented horse, but he knows it all too well and it would make me life easier if he listened to me sometimes!
How disappointing was it for you to withdraw last year?
It was very disappointing, but having seen how the course rode with the conditions and weather I am glad I didn’t go, it would have been a big question for a first time 4* horse!
How has your pre-Badminton preparation gone?
Woody has been on great form this year in all three phases and had a fantastic last run at Belton finishing 11th in the 3*. (Georgie was awarded The Polly Phillipps Memorial Trophy for the highest placed British 3* rider not to have ridden on a senior team).
What makes Badminton such a special competition for you?
Well to start with it is Badminton! I have grown up so locally so have always watched it on the TV – I was never allowed to go because of school. It’s one of the best events in the world and is on my doorstep.
What has been your stand out Badminton moment?
It has got to be when I was 20 year old and was the only rider to have two horses clear inside the time on the cross country.
What are your first thoughts on this year’s course?
The course looks a true 4* track. It’s got lots of new ideas and combinations and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
What are your aims for this year’s event?
I want to have a personal best in each phase. I want to feel I have got the most out of Woody, have ridden him to the best of my ability and therefore given him every opportunity to produce a result I know he is capable of.
What are your overall aims for 2015?
I would love to be competitive at Badminton and Burghley, and be in with a chance of European selection. I also have a couple of exciting younger horses who is like to move up the levels!
Eventing Worldwide would like to wish Georgie and Woody the best of luck. You can keep up to date with their progress via www.eventingworldwide.com, on Facebook and Twitter (@EventingWWNEWS).