Sarah Carless reports ..
Swalcliffe kick-starts eventing success
Blustery conditions weren’t enough to deter competitors at Swalcliffe Horse Trials over the weekend as the popular early season Oxfordshire fixture attracted more than 500 entries across the two days of competition.
Kacey Arnold improved on her third-place finish at Twesledown last week to win BE90 Section B with NPS Elegance. Kacey co-owns NPS Elegance with her mother Karen, a horse they purchased from New Priory Stud as a four-year-old in October 2015 after she sadly lost her novice horse to colic. The mother of three works at Idbury Stables and her mare is accompanied to all events by Honey – a 35-year-old miniature Shetland.
Kacey told Eventing Worldwide: “It has been a brilliant start to the event season. She is big moving horse and her canter was weak so we took it slowly last year and came out at the end of last season to be placed in every event that we did. I’m over the moon with how Swacliffe went – the mare deserves it and it was a perfect end to her last 90 – she steps up next time out to 100. The aim this year is the six-year-old championships at Osberton at the end of the season.”
Mitsubishi Motors Cup hopeful Steph Lynn and Crystal VII were victorious in B90 Section C as they started their preparation for the finals in May. Steph has owned 12-year-old Crystal since she was a three-year-old. Originally bought as a project she now has a home for life with the freelance riding instructor. But her win and qualification for the finals nearly didn’t happen as Crystal suffered an injury.
Steph said after her win: “It was a lovely surprise to win today. We have a few events entered in the run-up to the Mitsubishi Motors Cup and my main focus will be getting Crystal fit enough. The win and qualifying for the championships was made extra special as Crystal injured her stifle in the field, and the vets weren’t sure she would come back into work. She had a year off and a lot of patience but she’s come back better than ever.”
Hannah Townley started her eventing season with a win in BE90 Section D with The Domino Effect – the only combination in their section to finish on a sub-30 score. Hannah recently changed career – having spent 12 years working as a groom she moved to a job as a Purchase Ledger for a building contractor in Yeovil. Her horse is a 12-year-old Lipizzaner x Cob, known as SuperCob to his friends,
Hannah told Eventing Worldwide: “It feels absolutely amazing. I still can’t quite believe it actually happened but am so pleased that all the dark, wet evenings spent schooling really paid off. Rhingo has a fair few quirks and very much a mind of his own so getting him to focus on me at a competition can be quite challenging especially as he like to know what everyone else is doing. But he’s very honest and tried his heart out for me which I can’t fault him for. We did a few BE100 classes last year so am hoping to do more of those this year and hopefully finish the season with the three day BE100 at Aldon. I also now have a couple of regional final qualifications at BE90 so would be nice to do well on those and maybe qualify for next year’s Mitsubishi Motors Cup at Badminton. Hopefully this has been a great start to a great season for us.”
Paul Tapner got his 2017 season off to a winning start in fine style with a win in BE100 Section H. Riding Captain Fred and Penny Barker’s six-year-old Bob Chaplin, the Australian rider finished 5.7 penalties ahead of the rest of the field with a winning score of 17.3.
Louise Scammell and Just An Illusion IV were another combination with a massive winning margin. In taking victory in BE1OO Section F, the combination won with a score of 21.5 – 7.5 penalties ahead of their nearest rival. Louise also finished in the top three in BE100 Open Section H riding Future Catana.
Kylie Roddy took a brace of victories over the weekend. Riding Ringwood Gold Dust she won BE100 Section I and followed this up in BE100 Section J to win with Shearwater Bonaparte.
The event attracted particularly strong entries in the BE100 Under 18 classes with two full sections. Sarah Ownes rode Bright One VH Dukeinde to victory in Section K with a winning score of 29.3, whilst Connie Roberts won Section L with Loris Concerto with the only sub-30 finishing score of the section.
Other section results: BE90 Open Section A Amy Pugh, Lynwood Montana; BE100 Section G Henry Dove, Timeless Myth; BE100 Open Section H Julia Fairbank, Shannondale Sonoma; BE80(T) Section M Holly Clarke, Gingerbread IV; BE80(T) Section N Amy Sweet, Benny Banassi.
Photographs courtesy of TB Photographic