NOBODY was happier with the success of the British Olympics dressage team - who took the gold medal at Greenwick Park - than Richhill horsewoman Sasha Stewart (nee Harrison).
For, in the small world of the horse world, Sasha had the thrill of riding ‘Utopia’, the mount of Carl Hester at Greenwich, who was a vital part of the trio who took the premier award - the first Olympics medal ever won by a British dressage team.
About eight years ago - just before Sasha made the Irish Olympics team in Athens - she rode the legendary Utopia in and around the events in Ireland, with quite a bit of success.
Said her dad Derek Harrison, “With Sasha being such a fine dressage rider, Carl and other top people would send their horses here for Sasha to develop them as part of their training. Utopia was, as far as I recall, a three-year-old and she had quite a bit of local success with the horse. Eventing is a tight world, and Carl was one of her many friends within the sport.”
The other two in the gold-winning team were Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujarin, and their gold medal (Britain’s 20th) pushed the Brits further ahead of their 18 total in Beijing.
Mr Harrison said that he was “astounded” at the stories circulating that Sasha actually owned Utopia and the horse was being sold on. “She never owned Utopia,” he added. “But she’s thrilled to be associated with the whole scenario.”
Sasha wasn’t available for comment as she was preparing a birthday party for her twins!