Jessica Hewlett is Young Rider of the Year 2023 – Exciting final in Opglabbeek

Jessica Hewlett is Young Rider of the Year 2023 – Exciting final in Opglabbeek

(Opglabbeek) Two award ceremonies were celebrated today in the Ashford Arena of the SenTower Park equestrian centre: First the winners of the eighth and final rating competition of the BEMER Young Riders Tour were honoured, then the new ‘Young Rider of the Year 2023’ was recognised. After eight stops all over Europe, 21-year-old Jessica Hewlett from Great Britain is the overall winner of the international jumping series for the U21 generation. 46 points sealed her success, because with Ilmar HBC (by Dantos HBC x Voltaire) Hewlett placed at three stations of the tour and won the Grand Prix in Lamprechtshausen, Austria. Gilles Müller (SUI) was able to secure the vice champion title with his Grand Prix victory today and 37 points, while his compatriot Thibault Keller was delighted with third place overall (34 points).

Exciting until the last minute 

44 young talents competed in the Young Rider Grand Prix. Leon Brutsaert (BEL) and Gilles Müller (SUI) provided the first moments of suspense when they remained clear in the first round of the 1.45m jumping competition and qualified for the jump-off. Thanks to their good scores in the ranking, both riders could still have justified hopes of a podium place. Ten pairs fought for victory in the subsequent jump-off and for the last points in the BEMER Young Riders Tour. Gilles Müller and his Ukato x Lux mare Giavanna CB set the first best time with 36.84 seconds. Leon Brutsaert (BEL) and On Time van de Elshoeve left the course with a fence down in 40.49 seconds, the result was sixth place. The French rider Mathis Vallat on Elliot Majuscule and the American Jennifer Billington with Flipper Darco Uk Z did not manage to come close to Müller’s time, the clock stopped at 37.48 for both of them.

Crowning end to the season for Hewlett

Hewlett was over moon hearing about her win. She received the news in the stable, giving her Ilmar HBC big pats: “We’ve been watching the competition at home, I was a bit on edge the whole time, wishing that I could have been there and jumping around myself. I was wishing everyone well of course, but obviously I wanted to keep hold of my title!” It’s Hewlett’s last season as a Young Rider and she’s grateful about finishing on such a high. “I stepped out at the beginning of this year and I said I really want to ride in the Nations Cup team. That was already a high aim I thought. So to now have won the BEMER Young Riders Tour, I couldn’t be happier. It’s been my best year. Kenny has been the best partner ever this season, he’s been unbelievable and so consistent. I love him so much,” Hewlett revealed.

Happy Gilles Müller

Gilles Müller was also more than satisfied with his second place in the Tour, which he admitted he had secretly hoped for: “My horse gives 100 percent every time, she is very reliable. I knew that I certainly had a good chance of winning, but the fact that it ended up being second place overall is of course great. The goal was to win in the jump-off, there was no plan B.” The top three in the overall ranking can look forward to starting places at renowned international CSIs in 2024 – a particularly valuable prize when it comes to making the challenging jump from junior tournaments to senior sport. The eight renowned CSI shows that hosted the BEMER Riders Tour this year are up for selection. Hewlett gets four starting places, Müller gets to choose two events and Keller gets one starting place. For the winner and runner-up, however, a start at Horses & Dreams in Hagen a.T.W. from 24 – 28 April 2024 is obligatory.

Result BEMER Young Riders Tour – Rating Competition – CSIOY NC Grand Prix with jump-off – 1.45m

1) Gilles Müller, SUI – Giavanna CB 0-0/36.84
2) Mathis Vallat, FRA – Elliot Majuscule 0-0/37.48
2) Jennifer Billington, GBR – Flipper Darco Uk Z 0-0/37.48
4) Ava Vernon, GBR – Volnay de Choc Z 0-0/38.22
5) Emma Stadling, SWE – Calleth You Cometh I 0-0/41.56
6) Leon Brutsaert, BEL – On Time van de Elshoeve 0-4/40.49

All results: 

Overall ranking of the BEMER Young Riders Tour after eight stations

Jess Hewlett (GBR), 46 Punkte
Gilles Müller (SUI), 37
Thibault Keller (SUI), 34 

Caption: The top three overall, Jessica Hewlett (GBR, represented by team member Lauren Caroline), Gilles Müller (SUI) and Thibault Keller (SUI, represented by team member Gaëtan Joliat). Congratulations by Dorothee Hahn for the Riders Tour, Patrick Holtermans, Sales Manager of BEMER Int. AG and organiser Laurens Meynaerts. © Pegasus Photo Creations