Rika Nile reports ….

Nearly 500 combinations attended Rackham Horse Trials for two full days of BE90 and BE100 competition. Six of these combinations shared the same rider half in Melissa Joannides, who had a busy yet successful weekend picking up two wins and three further placings.

West Sussex based Melissa events full time and is no stranger to winning with her exciting string of horses, and is currently sitting on top of the Foundation Points League. Melissa’s first win of the weekend was in BE90open section D, riding Melanie Gatt’s Craan Bob.

Talking of the win with the 14-year-old gelding, Melissa said: “I was delighted to take this honour as Melanie was hoping to come and watch but she is currently pregnant and had to go into hospital so this was a great way to cheer her up! 

“Having only been partnered with ‘Bob’ since March this year when Melanie passed the reins over to me for the season, I’m so pleased to have cemented a strong partnership with this lovely horse, with this being our second win of the season.”

Melissa’s second win was with Carolyne Allen’s Silken Creme, who in their two seasons together are yet to be outside the top 10.

“This was a fitting win as two years ago this was our first ever event together where she also won! ‘Dunny’ has been a bit of a superstar since I took her on, winning a total of 10 events,” Melissa commented. 

“This year we also qualified for and were in the top 10 of the BD Novice Winter Championships at Hartpury. She is a really fun little horse to ride and seems to do anything I ask of her. She actually stands as the Supreme Champion Mare for the Sports Pony Studbook too.” 

Melissa finished off her weekend with 4th in BE100 section F with Ashford Cleave Little Man, who currently sits top of the horse foundation points table, 7th in BE90open section D with Sally Doonaveeragh, and 10th in BE100 section O with Hay Josephine

“I really liked the new course at Rackham, it introduced some exciting new challenges and rode very well across both levels. As always it ran very smoothly and I’m grateful to the organisers for fitting in my 6 horses so well! I had an amazing support crew this weekend who make everything possible and I’m so grateful to every one for their help,” Melissa added.

BE90 section C winner Sarah Hayter-Smith returned to eventing at the end of last season after injuries prevented her from competing since 2014. An injury nearly prevented her from competing at Rackham over the weekend, although it wasn’t an injury of her own this time.

“We nearly withdrew from Rackham as my husband, who is a farrier, sliced through his tendons last weekend and only got operated on 48hrs before the event. Luckily for us the wonderful secretary and organiser shuffled my times so we could leave later meaning I could dress the husband first thing this morning,” Sarah said.

Riding the homebred Lucky Turn, Sarah was making the step up from BE80(T) to BE90 for the first time since her injuries saw her sidelined from eventing for over three years. The combination made the step up with ease finishing on their impressive 23.3 dressage mark.

“As well as a broken leg and broken ankle, I had quite a bad head injury which meant I had a millisecond delay in my thought process so I struggled to jump. We started jumping at the end of last season, around a couple of 80’s to see if I wanted to continue eventing,” said Sarah, who is strongly involved with the organisation of Brightling Park International Horse Trials. 

“‘Wesley’ has the best temperament and I compete him in British Dressage and the aim is to be competing medium by the end of the year,” Sarah added, also thanking her good friend-turned-groom Becky Forte for all her support. 

Gaspard Maksud achieved his season aims of picking up a ticket for the 5YO championships at Osberton in September with Zarazoga II. Their 22.8 dressage put them firmly in contention from the offset, but the foot perfect double clear that followed gave them a convincing win.

“I’m very happy for the owners of the horse who have been supporting me a lot since I’ve got her. I already had in my mind to try to get her to Osberton, as I feel she has the quality to get there and perform well,” Gaspard commented.

The best dressage mark of the weekend was posted by young rider Josh Moore and his grey gelding Funny Boy Fortuna in BE100o U18 section L. Their 18.5 dressage mark and double clear left them firmly on top of the leaderboard through all three phases. 

Josh, who has just completed his GCSEs, said:

“I came out with the intention of being competitive as this was our final competition before the shortlist for the South East u18 team is announced, so I was delighted to have had such a great day.

“I got ‘Timmy’ as a five-year-old and in our first season together he injured himself and then in our second year I had a bad fall and couldn’t ride him from March until September, so I’m really glad that this season is going right so far,” Josh added.

Other section results:

BE90 section A: Harriet Gillam – Milchem Las Vegas

BE90 section B: Samantha Harvey – Cillrois Heartbreaker 

BE100 section G: Sam Penn – Burntwood Sorrel 

BE100plus section H: Gemma Tattersall – Facari MG

BE90 section I: Jenny Naylor-Davis – Jump Que

BE90 section J: Katie Hale – Claydon Robinia

BE90 section K: Lucy Gaston – Smart Colours

BE100open u18 section M: Olivia Hall – Foxdon Half Pint

BE100open section N: Sarah Rosser – Innishowens Law

BE100 section O: Christopher Burton – Coup De Coeur Dudevin

BE100 section P: Alex Colborn – Nederlands Fleetwood

Images courtesy of Lansdown Photography 

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