Perse rider makes the jump to international competition
Enis Allajbeu (Lower Sixth) exhibited his equestrian skills at the Balkan Show Jumping Championships in Greece.
Representing his native Albania, Enis took on riders from across south-eastern Europe in the junior event in Athens on board his horse Elliott H.
From a field of 50, he was one of 28 riders to reach the final in his category following two qualification rounds.
Enis said: “The first round didn’t go so well. My horse was tired because it had travelled by lorry for five or six days, but the second round was amazing, so we made it through.”
In the final, Enis and his horse were performing well only to come unstuck at the 11th fence out of 14 on the course.
He said: “The height of the jumps in qualifying was 1m 25cm, but they were 1m 30cm in the final and that’s the highest I’ve jumped at a show.
“The first 10 jumps were amazing, but then I dropped a couple and my horse stopped, so it went well but I could have done better.
“It was also the first time I’ve done show jumping on grass which was a challenge. On sand, the horse will plant its back feet before a jump, but it couldn’t do that on the grass, which was very wet as there had been flooding in Athens the day before.
“It was a great experience. There was a big adrenaline rush, but you just forget about everything when you’re competing.”
Enis, who got into riding aged four, had already enjoyed a successful summer with victory at the prestigious Chepstow Summer International and he hopes his recent experiences will stand him for good stead for future big events.
He added: “Show jumping is a sport with a lot of ups and downs because it’s two minds that are involved. You might be having a good day and the horse might not or vice versa and that will affect your whole round, but it’s great fun.”