Equestrianism: Tornqvist on the rise

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Paula Tornqvist, a Swedish airline pilot, rode Monaghan to win yesterday's Advanced Intermediate section of the South of England Horse Trials, defeating the European champion, Lucy Thompson, on Welton Romance.

Tornqvist began riding just seven years ago, at 26. "The captain of a cargo plane asked me if I'd like to go to England to do some fox hunting," she recalled. "I said I would, but I thought we'd be shooting with rifles. I didn't realise we'd be riding horses."

Unwilling to admit her error, she bought the then five-year-old Monaghan - "I saw him looking over a stable door and I liked his face" - and they began learning together. Tornqvist has since been in the Swedish Olympic team, which finished seventh in Atlanta, and she now commutes between Sweden and England, while preparing Monaghan for her first ride at Badminton.

Thompson, who rides for Ireland but lives in England, was walking painfully yesterday as the result of a fall two weeks earlier in which she damaged the base of her spine. The injury meant that she missed Belton last weekend, so Welton Romance was having her first run of the year yesterday.

Though pleased with the mare, with whom she won her European title, Thompson is now planning to ride her other mount, Welton Molecule, at Badminton. This half-brother to Romance did only the dressage and show jumping yesterday, having completed three one-day events earlier this year.

The BEIB Open Intermediate section provided a win on Rock King for Sally Bullen, organiser of the Windsor Three-Day Event. Ideally, the bay stallion, who has "a magnificent temperament", would compete at the Windsor fixture next month. "But I can't run the event and ride in it, so we'll probably go to Burgie in June," Bullen said.

Results, Digest, page 19