Friday 13th of May 2022

Mitsubishi Motors Cup: Natalie Ireland

In the lead up to the Mitsubishi Motors Cup (2-3 May 2017) in the grounds of Badminton estate, we’ll be meeting a competitor each week as they prepare for the big event.

The Mitsubishi Motors Cup offers amateur riders from all over the country the opportunity to qualify throughout the eventing season for these finals. The event is held on the eve of the world famous Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, which attracts top horse and rider combinations from across the globe as well as visitors in excess of 150,000 over the five days of competition (May 3-7).

The key British Eventing fixture will take place at BE90 and BE100 level. Not only will riders contest to lift the Mitsubishi Motors Cup trophy, presented in front of Badminton House, the pinnacle of any amateur event rider’s career, they will be vying for a generous prize fund which includes the exciting chance to take home a 2017 vehicle of their choice from the Mitsubishi Motors range, for one year, plus prize money and a commemorative plaque.

Rider 3 – Natalie Ireland, Kendal Cumbria

Natalie Ireland and Oscar

25 year old Natalie Ireland, based in Kendal, Cumbria, has qualified for the BE90 Mitsubishi Motors Cup on her 21 year old horse called, Cherokee Brave.  It will be her first time competing in the Mitsubishi Motors Cup and she will be riding the oldest and smallest horse in the competition with Cherokee Brave, aka Oscar standing at just 14hh.

“He is an all-round superstar. I’ll have had him 14 years this year and we have competed in just about everything together from The Pony Club and Riding Club, British Dressage and British Eventing, where he has taken me to almost every championship going. Oscar makes up with what he lacks in size with bags of character and personality,” said Natalie.

Having graduated from the University of Glasgow in 2016 with an MSci in Veterinary Biosciences, Natalie is a product development scientist for an animal nutraceutical company in the North-West and juggles her riding around her full time job.

Natalie added:

“After having some time off over the winter I’ve built up Oscar’s fitness, constantly monitoring his improvements with the help of my equine heart rate monitor. From now, we will go out jumping and cross country schooling a few times, in preparation for our pre-Mitsubishi Motors Cup event, which I think is going to be Northallerton (1) at the end of April.”

Do you have a secret superstition before a competition?

I’m not really a superstitious person so I don’t have anything I have to do or wear to set my mind at rest. Saying that, ever since I started competing I would go all day without being able to stomach food. I’m a bit better now and can eat, but of course my competition day diet essential is chocolate. At least it gets me through the day!

What do you never leave home without?

My mobile phone. I think it now has a permanent attachment to my hand. I’m always out and about I would never get anything done if I didn’t have it with me. I also often ride alone so prefer to have it to hand just in case, but best of all, I use it to record all of our training sessions.

Which is your favourite discipline?

Now that’s a really good question! It half depends on what my horse is best at, but if I had to choose one, I would have to say dressage. Oscar and I used to compete up to Medium level and I love the feeling you get when something just clicks and you can go into that arena, show off your party tricks and are rewarded by improving scores. To spend the time training and getting the accuracy and discipline right to do a variety of different movements just helped to build our relationship, and in the end it helped us with our jumping no end (and trust me, showjumping is far from our favourite!).

Who inspires you?

My instructor, Jannet Bowness, is the biggest driver of my success. She has had a really tough few years between a bad horse related accident and a serious illness, yet she has been on hand to help and train me whenever she was able. She is a really fantastic trainer and doesn’t hand it to me on a plate; she makes me think and become a smarter rider, but she’s always there to support all of her pupils both at home and at shows. I know where to go for help if I ever have a problem and Jannet really believes in our ability, which helps me no end when I’m in mild panic mode before going into the ring!

For more information on the Mitsubishi Motors Cup visit

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