Bertram Allen takes another leap forward
Every young boy involved in ponies dreams of one day winning that champion race, or that major competition in the show ring.
For Bertram Allen, he has realised that dream time and time again. And, were it not for the toughness of the challenge in Las Vegas one week ago, the 19-year-old could have easily added the FEI World Cup to the many accolades he has accumulated ever since he began competitive show jumping a decade ago.
To win a qualifier on the opening day was magical, and to place third to long-time campaigner, winner Steve Guerdat from Switzerland, was simply phenomenal.
Allen's rise to the top of his game in the preceding weeks had not surprisingly garnered many admirers, all of whom now believe that the young Wexford man will, one day, claim that World Cup crown.
It is well known that many of Ireland's top riders in show jumping, eventing and, especially racing, honed their riding skills in the hunting field. For Allen it was with the Wexford Foxhounds at the tender age of eight.
It has to be said that nowhere else but hunting will you gain such confidence in the saddle, a confidence that Allen has in abundance when facing some of the biggest show jumping tracks on the circuit.
During his biggest test to date in Vegas he rode the mare Molly Molone V with such panache that onlookers were in disbelief that he was the youngest rider competing, along with fellow 19-year-old Jos Verlooy from Belgium.
"I knew I was in with a reasonable chance this week, thankfully it went really well to plan and it's great to be on the podium today," he said afterwards. "I've had a great week and feel honoured to be sitting up here with these riders at this young age."