Jemma Docherty reports…
Forgandenny Horse Trials, now in its fourth year, continued to deliver the eventing goods. Organisers Douglas and Mandy Edward have continued to grow and change the tracks at each event giving it a fresh feel every time you visit. Again, the weather gods shined on the righteous with quite a buzz around the main arena on both afternoons with spectators and competitors enjoying the sunny weather, watching some excellent competition and indulging in ice creams.
Even before the last horse went over the finish line on Sunday afternoon, Douglas Edward is already putting work into place to change the water fence which will bring even more exciting changes for the 2020 events.
Gillian Edward, who is married to Bruce Edward who run both Central Scotland Horse Trials and Hopetoun Horse Trials were the first winners of the day, taking the Turcan Connell Sponsored BE90 Section A by just .1 of a penalty. The 12-year-old, Benny Station has been on top form since his 15th place at the Mitsubishi Motor cups finals back in April, gaining a 2nd at Belsay and then a win at Forgandenny. They next take on the 90RF at Glamis, a new event for the Scottish Calendar, where they will be hoping to bag their return ticket to Badminton next year.
The other two sections of 90 were won by Persia Bhatia and Aughnacliffe Gem who finished on their dressage score of 27.8 and Louise Le Geyt with Quarter Of also finishing on their dressage score of 31.5. Di Beaumont’s Show Jumping track proving to be a test for the 90 sections with only 22 combinations going clear across the three sections.
The 4 and 5 year old classes were run alongside the 90 and 100 sections with Sean Henderson and Rebel Fran taking the top spot in the 4 year old class and local rider Wills Oakden taking the 5 year old spot with his wife Stephanie’s Cooley Cando jumping a double clear to finish on their dressage score of 31.3.
Wills and his string of horses had a good run over the weekend with all five horses finishing in the top ten. Wills added to his 5-year-old class win with a further two wins on the Sunday in the 100 sections. Cooley Pot of Gold another promising 5-year-old also owned by Stephanie and the promising 6-year-old mare, Lots of Quality owned by Shaun Murray taking the tally to 3 wins.
Daniel Scott another local rider produced good results across the weekend. Daniel was delighted with how all his horses ran especially, Carrick Diamond Warrior who has been in great form all season, so was pleased to get his first win for his owner Alison Newton. Daniel was full of praise and enthusiasm for the event who said
“It is always a really well-run event, nice to see there are always changes to the courses and that the organisers listen to the rider’s suggestions. The tracks provided some good questions in the novice which was nice as it gave the horses being aimed for Blair Castle a good run with it being strong enough but still gaining in confidence. The 100 track was very educational again with some strong questions but really setting the horses up for the future and the next level”.
Jessica Zajda and Leisure man enjoyed the win in the 100 section H finishing on their dressage score of 28.3. Both Jessica and her mum, Diana, returned to the event on Sunday to volunteer as judge and writer for the dressage. It is so nice to see an event that so many local people put back into the sport by returning to volunteer. It is the vast army of volunteers that help this event to keep growing and improving.
Star of the weekend without a doubt goes to 71-year-old Lyn Gower (self-described “grandma goes eventing”) who showed us all exactly why we love this sport. Lyn completed her very first ever 80T and in doing so raised a whopping £750 on the day alone with the event and officials all donating generously to her cause which was the World Horse Welfare. Overall, at last count Lyn has raised over £1200. Lyn was cheered all the way round the XC and came across the finish line to even bigger cheers.
The 80T sections were well represented with three full sections coming forward. Suzanne McCall and Sir Mac won section J on a score of 32.5, Section K won by Karen Low and Balhagarty Rising Star and finally section L was won by Sally Sandison and Rushwood Sunseeker.
Leona Blacklaws and the very pretty mare Shannondale Enya claimed their first top spot and gained their Scottish champs qualification finishing on a score of 25.6. Shonagh A Robb and Platinum Crackers continue their impressive run this season to take the win in section N. This combination have been in the top 4 in every run this year so far.
The 90 Open section saw Eilidh Cameron and her handsome dun gelding Vasco Gold Rush claim their first ever BE win. Eilidh is also responsible for all the Health & Safety for the event but still found the time for a whizz round (quite literally picking up some too fast time penalties xc). After sustaining an injury and missing the whole of 2018 season, Cider and Eilidh have been enjoying having fun round the 90 opens this year and the smiles on both their faces said it all.