Banburyshire rider 'on cloud nine' after making history in international dressage competition

A Banburyshire woman is ‘on cloud nine’ after making history by becoming the first dressage rider to represent Jordan in an international competition.
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Karla Deir Martin, 34, from Cropredy has received congratulations from the Royal Jordanian Equestrian Federation for her excellent performance at the CDI Crozet near Geneva last week.

"I'm so proud to have gone and stuck the flag in the ground to represent Jordan and hopefully this will be just the start of more to come,” said Ms Deir Martin, who trains with her husband George Martin at Babington Dressage, Williamscot.

She was riding Silver Dream, aka Elf, who is owned by Mr Martin. The pair came sixth in the Prix St Georges, fifth in the Intermediate 1 and second in the Intermediare I Kur to music from Aladdin, gaining 67.430 points.

Karla Deir Martin and Silver Dream (Elf) in their ground-breaking competition last week. Picture by @photoslesgarennesKarla Deir Martin and Silver Dream (Elf) in their ground-breaking competition last week. Picture by @photoslesgarennes
Karla Deir Martin and Silver Dream (Elf) in their ground-breaking competition last week. Picture by @photoslesgarennes

Ms Deir Martin, whose father is Jordanian, has only been competing Elf since last year and the two had never done an Intermediate competition before. She funded the entire trip herself and, with groom Lizzy Knight, drove over to the Swiss border to take part. Mr Martin flew over to be with Karla and train her over the three days of competition.

“The thing I was most pleased with is that Elf got more and more confident every single day and which obviously reflected in our scores and there's still so much more to come. So I'm excited about next season," she said.

Ms Deir Martin’s parents and brother travelled to Crozet for the competition where the Jordanian flag was raised for the first time.

“Jordan has many showjumpers and endurance riders but they have never ever had anyone compete internationally in dressage. They run a small league but they’ve never had anyone to represent them before.

Proud family - Karla's father, Zaher Deir, mother Marion Deir,  brother Tariq, husband/owner/trainer George Martin, Karla and groom Elizabeth KnightProud family - Karla's father, Zaher Deir, mother Marion Deir,  brother Tariq, husband/owner/trainer George Martin, Karla and groom Elizabeth Knight
Proud family - Karla's father, Zaher Deir, mother Marion Deir, brother Tariq, husband/owner/trainer George Martin, Karla and groom Elizabeth Knight

"My father is Jordanian and I have dual nationality - and a horse competing at that level. I’d been out competing in the UK at Prix St Georges (PSG) level but this was only my third ever PSG. The plan originally was just to go and do the PSG because we had never competed at Intermediate. But with driving all that way over two days, I decided to do the Inter I and freestyle.

“It's obviously a very big venue and there were lots of horses lots of things going on so I was I was very nervous when I arrived. But to be honest, the moment I'm on the horse I just calm down and the only thing I focus on is what Elf is doing.

“Throughout the week he was getting better and better and then came second in the Kur with a cracking score. He would have been over 70 per cent had I not made a mistake with both of my changes. The comments from the judges were absolutely lovely. It’s all I could have asked for; I’m on cloud nine.

“My family are really proud. They're proud of me representing the country and they're aware of the amount of hard work and dedication it has taken - and also that I'm doing this myself financially. It's not a cheap game.”

After another long trek back through France and across the channel, rider, horse and groom arrived home to a stable yard decorated in the black, white, red and green colours of the Jordanian flag.

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