ALICIA Hawker described competing at Badminton Horse Trials as a ‘dream come true’ after placing in the top 50 on board Charles RR.

The Hullavington-based eventer has attended Badminton since she was a young girl, making her debut appearance at the premier three-day competition even more special.

After placing 68th in the dressage, Hawker displayed great composure to finish 54th in the cross-country before topping off the weekend with a 12-fault round in the show jumping.

“It was really special, and because it was so local to me there was loads of support,” said Hawker.

“When I was going around the cross-country course on Saturday you could hear people shouting and cheering. It was very special.”

Hawker teamed up with Charles RR for the 69th time at the weekend following six years of competing together.

During that period, Hawker is yet to claim a win on her trusty 10-year-old – but she has reached the top three at respected events including Wellington and Branham.

With a combined age of 33, Hawker and Charles RR were one of the youngest pairings in the competition.

But their relative lack of experience on the big stage didn’t hinder their performance as the 23-year-old voiced her delight with how Charles RR handled the additional pressure.

She said: “We knew we had to qualify to get in and we did just that.

“The cross-country for me was the best part, Charlie RR went really well – he flew round.

“He’s quite a powerful horse, so he found it quite easy.

“I was pleased with how he went. I wasn’t too sure how he’d react to the crowd, but he seemed to like them.”

After a positive display at Badminton, Hawker now has her eyes set on the next prestigious eventing competition towards the end of the season – Burghley.

“We hope to go to Burghley, we’ll see how he recovers from the weekend,” said Hawker.

“He’ll have a couple of months quiet time now before starting to train for that.

“It was a childhood dream of mine to compete, we’ve been there every year and because it’s so close to me it’s the event I’ve always wanted to compete in.”