As is standard at Aston Le Walls, competitors gave significant praise to Nigel Taylor and his team for a fantastically organised event with fabulous ground conditions. In a largely professional competitor turnout the three days of competition saw the true British summer show its true colours. The event also 03saw the launch of a new charity fundraiser to raise money for The Bobby Robson Foundation, in recognition of Ben Hobday’s current plight, and MPN Voice for Kate Rocher-Smith’s (Dassett Eventing) Aunt, Sheena Hawkin. Fuzzy bugs were sold to competitors and spectators with Dassett Eventing pledging that for every competitor that wears their fuzzy bug into the show jumping in the Advanced 8 & 9 Year Old class, which they sponsored, they would give £5 towards the fundraising pot. The slogan #kickingcancersbutt has been seen trending across social media in the eventing community and this fundraising effort has only added to its popularity.

For one competitor Aston saw the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication come to fruition with Hannah Jones competing on her own homebred mare, Lils Unlimited Lass, making their debut at Advanced in the Dassett Eventing 8 & 9 Year Old class. Jones commented, “I still can’t believe we have done it! Our own little homebred that we didn’t ever dream would be so talented. We’ve had our share of setbacks including a virus last year that wiped out the whole summer for us. We just managed to get to the 7 Year Old Championships for our first CIC** and 14th place! This year a niggle at the beginning of the season again meant missed competition and I thought Advanced was out of the question but she felt amazing cross country at Nunney ** so I bit the bullet and entered Aston.”
“I wasn’t aware how prestigious the 8/9 year old class at Aston was, which makes me more proud to have even got there! I was really happy with my dressage mark as I felt some movements could have been a lot better and we were late to do our second change. I was even happier when I realised she lay ninth out of fifty-five after dressage! Show jumping is probably the phase I get most bothered about and it was quite a technical, twisty track so I knew I needed the keep the forward rhythm. I was thrilled with the way she jumped the first three, which came up pretty quickly, took a flyer at eight and she tried all the way with just an unlucky pole into the treble. Cross country was quite intense at the start too and she was taken by surprise by the bank out of the water but after this just grew in confidence and is so straight and really wants to jump for you. She is the best cross country horse and felt amazing!”
“A thank you to not only my parents for continuing support but also Nick Gauntlett who has really helped with my show jumping confidence and who kept telling us she was special! The one thing I do feel at Intermediate and above is the lack of recognition for amateurs. We have Grassroots Championships and new Novice Championships but neither can you do if you have ridden at Intermediate or above. Even a prize inn big special classes like this for best amateur would be good. I think there were two of us in the top twenty that were amateurs and I believe we were both vets!”

047In the Novice Section U Ibby MacPherson put in a fantastic performance on Deoch An Doris to maintain her dressage lead adding just 1.2 time faults in the cross country. MacPherson then continued on a strong run coming in second in Section V of the Novice on Evantos K and eighth in the Intermediate Section Q on Harleys Comet. MacPherson commented, “It was quite an emotional win on Deoch An Doris. Mary McFarlane, who started my riding career in Scotland and owned McCallan, who I went to Junior Europeans on twice, very sadly died in September 2013 of cancer. Doris was her dressage horse and after Jock, her husband, trying Doris in pairs driving he decided to send him to me to event and sell. We got on like a house on fire and Jock very generously decided to give Doris to me, a very lucky girl! He is pretty quirky and is the only horse I have ever had a dressage judge comment, “well sat” and he can deposit me in the middle of a cross country course with what’s more like a reflex action than a plan! This was his third Novice and I’ve learnt now to cross country school or canter him the day before to tire him out. I’m very lucky to have him and he will be with me forever.”
“Evantos K was doing his second Novice and won his first Novice at Upton ten days ago. He is six and although I think he is very talented, he is 17hh and quite weak so I don’t want to rush him. I didn’t feel like I was going quickly on him but he covers the ground incredibly easily and made the mud on the cross country feel like perfect going! Although it was wet both of my horses felt very confident so I was happy to let them have a proper spin cross country as I thought it was the best ground we were going to get for a while as it has been so firm and I think you can do way more damage on the firm than the soft. As always the course was very educational and Nigel (Taylor), who helps me massively show jumping and cross country, Anne and Tissie always do a fantastic job!”

Jodie Amos followed closely behind MacPherson with Barnadown B Lucky finishing on a strong double clear. Amos said, “It was actually a catch ride I picked up for Camille Combes, his owner, who has been out of action following a fall on one of my youngsters. He’s a super talented little horse with a lot going for him, so I really enjoyed myself, I’m just frustrated not to have won! The rain over the weekend was obviously a shame from a spectator’s point of view but the ground was perfect. Nigel is forever improving the facilities and I think Aston Le Walls is pretty hard to match these days!”

Jonelle Price and Ascona M produced the best dressage of the Novice Section C with a 24.5, unfortunately the time had been tight for many combinations throughout the weekend and Price was another one to fall victim to it allowing Paul Sims with Luxalike to slip ahead of her and take the win. Price commented, “She’s a lovely mare. She was 16.1hh when we brought her at the end of last year and now must be close to 17hh! So we’ve taken our time with her this season but she really does everything right and I am really excited about her. I had only flown in from New Zealand at six am that morning so I was feeling a little fuzzy to say the least. Thankfully she gave me a lovely ride in all three phases, having won the dressage I probably shouldn’t have been a few seconds over cross country, but it’s not much of a priority for her at this stage.”


Charlotte Agnew rode Condor L2 to a lovely win in Section V of the Novice despite the very wet conditions on the Sunday. Agnew said, “I have a great weekend, although wet! Condor is a lovely horse, he was bought for the sydndicate just over a year ago and is such a big mover it has taken a while for him to grow into himself. This year he is much stronger and is starting to really utilise his power which is exciting. He was fantastic in all three phases on Sunday and I am very excited about his future!”

With a strong turnout of thirty-eight competitors in the Open Novice Under 18 Section E competition was fierce. Naomi Lawrence proved So Quiet is anything but by producing the only double clear within the time combined with a sub thirty dressage score. Lawrence said, “I’m very proud of So Quiet (aka Wispa) as I’ve produced him through the levels myself which makes this win even more of an exciting moment. He’s improving every time I take him out and this is his second win on the trot at this level, but it was my best cross country ride on him yet! Even in the torrential rain on Friday, he stormed around the cross country getting round effortlessly inside the time. Last year he hated cross country and I thought I was going to have to give up and sell him as a show jumper but after a very hard winter training he’s come out a different horse and I’m hoping to step him up to Intermediate in a few more runs. It was also special to win at Aston Le Walls as I’m trained by Nigel Taylor so he helped warm me up for show jumping and got to see, probably, this horse’s best show jumping round yet. He just keeps getting better and better and I’m now looking forward to aiming him at young rider trials next year alongside my other horse, who finished 6th in the Open Intermediate Under 21 this weekend”
Vittoria Panizzon showed One Night Love the way around his first Intermediate to win section N. The seven year old gelding produced his best British Eventing dressage score to date with a 24.6 meaning that four penalties added in the show jumping still left them breathing room in the cross country to take the win. More experienced horse, Croisier, was captained by Ben Way to do a double clear with a few cross country time penalties to come in close behind, taking second. Way said, “I was thrilled with how the horse went as he is only seven. That was his last Intermediate run as he is now Advanced on points. He did a very nice test and great double clear, he is a serious show jumper! They had done a brilliant job of the ground, I don’t think that you would have found better anywhere. However, I am very glad that I was not there in the pouring rain on the Sunday.”

053The Open Intermediate Under 21, sponsored by Askham Bryan, saw three sections run very competitively. Ella Hitchman and her ride, Rocky Rockstar showed how far they had come from competing in BE90 and 100 level in 2012, to being consistently placed at Intermediate and ** competitions this year. She followed on form by winning Section L, saying “I didn’t give Rocky (Rocky Rockstar) the best time in the show jumping but he was a total saint and helped me out and tried so hard. The cross country rode really well and Rocky made it feel fairly easy, the luxury of having a through and through cross country horse! I love riding at Aston because the courses are always built very well with enough questions to keep horses thinking. I never expected to win the Young Rider Final Trial as it’s super competitive and although Rocky has been on great form it never entered my mind! It topped off what’s been a very exciting first half of the season and set us up for the Young Rider Europeans in a month’s time.”

Following just 0.8 of a dressage score behind Hitchman was Kristina Jackson and Lemington Lets Dance who again finished on their dressage score to finish second. Jackson said, “It’s great to be able to do the dressage and show jumping on arenas, giving a championship feel. My dressage test was much improved from Barbury. Show jumping was very good around a tricky technical course but all my training seemed to have paid off, with Dan not even touching a pole. The cross country course was in perfect condition and I give my thanks to all the grounds staff. Dan gave me the most amazing cross country as per usual. We completed in time to finish on our dressage score. Dan is a horse who excels in the cross country so I always look forward to this phase. The organisation was very professional and ran like clockwork with all the stewards being very friendly and accommodating.”

Sam Ecroyd has recently been having an exceptionally strong spell with multiple placings at every level. Ecroyd continued his form by dominating Section M of the Open Intermediate Under 21 taking the win on Opera House and a third on Wodan III. Ecryod said, “I had such an amazing weekend at Aston Le Walls with two super results with two super horses. The winner, Opera House, would normally be my second horse but recently has been on absolute fire and is such a joy to ride! He has now been selected for the Junior European Championships in Poland! I feel very lucky for all the support I have off everyone and to have such lovely horses to ride.”034

Charlotte Bacon and Sannanvalley Justice managed to put some pressure on Ecroyd by producing a 30.9 dressage followed by a clear show jumping. In what was fast becoming a test of time management cross country Bacon added just 1.2 time penalties to finish in second. Bacon said, “I felt she gave me her best yet in the test, she really let me ride her. It was pleasing to be rewarded with a personal best for her at the level. She continued to give her all for the jumping phases and with the good ground I was really able to put my foot down cross country and enjoy it.”

The tight competition continued in the Under 21 class in Section S with one of Sir Mark Todd’s own riders, Rafael Losano, going head to head with Bert Bolton. Despite producing the best dressage result of the section Losano’s cross country time penalties allowed Bolton to take the lead. Bolton commented, “It was excellent to have Purple Sands back after his Bramham holiday. He was a touch feisty in his dressage but otherwise produced a nice test. He then jumped a double clear inside the time to win. He is such a machine cross country. I loved having him out again!” Finishing on a score of 37.3 with Glock Pullman Losano said, “I am seventeen years old and I am from Brazil. Sir Mark Todd is the Brazillian coach and I have been staying with him since May. I think the event was well organised, it is the second time I have been to Aston and it has a lot of good riders. My first result at Intermediate was ninth place and I am very satisfied with the improvement of my horse’s dressage. This was a really nice opportunity to prepare us for 3* competitions.”

The prestigious Dassett Eventing Advanced 8/9 Year Old class had a strong field of fifty-eight riders. Ian Wills was to provide Hartpury Sky Is The Limit with the winning ride, saying, “My ride on Hartpury Sky Is The Limit at Aston Le Walls was fabulous start to finish, he is such a pro in all three phases. I am very grateful to Diana Brodie, who owns him, for her support and patience. Sadly Diana was not there to watch. When I heard over the tannoy that Piggy French was the probably winner on her score, I thought ‘oh not yet matey, the fat lady is still singing’, knowing Sky Is fit, well and able to collect going forward round his first Advanced on fantastic going. So he took the title of the Dassett class, the money and prizes are amazing. Kate Rocher has made this such a show case class, thank you Kate. I cannot thank Robert Snaddon enough for his help show jumping as clear round made all of the difference.”

The Advanced Under 25 Section K saw Tom McEwen give Staff Des Champs his first run around an Advanced course to win the section despite lying thirteenth after dressage. McEwen said, “Nigel and his team did an incredible job. Superb going after the very long spell of rain and with the new surfaces it was always going to be incredible! Staff Des Champs was brilliant, he jumped superbly and flew around the cross country. I was especially pleased as it’s the horse’s first Advanced and his first win!”

Another Advanced first timer was Look Now, ridden by Millie Dumas who followed McEwen closely to finish second. Dumas commented, “I had a really good ride on my Advanced first timer, Look Now, who is a ten year old Thoroughbred gelding owned by Susan Larson. He felt very confident at this level. I chose Aston as his first Advanced as I usually think it is a fair course for first timers, however, this year it seemed to cause a fair bit of trouble. I was very impressed with how Look Now stepped up to the mark and tackled some tricky combinations. He is a really fun horse to ride cross country as he is very quick and nippy being a Thoroughbred. He is now qualified for three * which will hopefully be our next step with him. We were extremely lucky with the weather and ground conditions on Saturday as it happened to be the only dry day! We had a lot of rain Friday but the ground held up so well and felt perfect under foot. The new surfaces at Aston are fantastic and we all felt extremely grateful to be able to do our dressage and show jumping on them as otherwise if on grass it would have been a bog!”

Report by Amanda Brown

Photographs Courtesy of Hoofprints Photography



Novice Section A
1st Arthur Duffort & Oaklands First Time 33.3 D, Double Clear
2nd Emily Llewellyn & Crystal Rock 33.3 D, Double Clear
3rd Gordon Murphy & Dream Master 30.5 D, 1 SJT, 4 XCT

Novice Section B
1st Tim Price & Koh I Noor 18.5 D, Double Clear
2nd Johannes Hayessen & By My Side 2 30.3 D, Double Clear
3rd Mark Ford & Dali III 30.3 D, Double Clear

Novice Section C
1st Paul Sims & Luxalike 25.5 D, 1.2 XCT
2nd Jonelle Price & Ascona M 24.5 D, 3.6 XCT
3rd Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp & HS Oskar 25.3 D, 5.2 XCT

Novice Section F
1st James Sommerville & Altaskin Jack 30.5 D, 0.4 XCT
2nd Lucy Jackson & Superstition II 28.5 D, 3.6 XCT
3rd Andrew Downes & Just William XX 32 D, 1.6 XCT

Novice Section U
1st Ibby MacPherson & Deoch An Doris 28.8 D, 1.2 XCT
2nd Jodie Amos & Barnadown B Lucky 30.8 D, Double Clear
3rd Matthew Heath & Lockroy 29.5 D, 4 SJ

Novice Section V
1st Charlotte Agnew & Condor L2 24.8 D, 0.4 XCT
2nd Ibby MacPherson & Evantos K 29.5 D, 1.2 XCT
3rd Anna Wilks & Billy Senora 33 D, Double Clear

Open Novice Section D
1st Jonty Evans & A Chance Affair 28 D, Double Clear
2nd Lucy Reeve & Bright One V H Dijkeinde 27.5 D, 4 SJ
3rd Sarah Holmes & Dunganstown Fleur 30 D, 3.2 XCT

Open Novice Under 18 Section E
1st Naomi Lawrence & So Quiet 29 D, Double Clear
2nd Coco Taylor & Sugar Brown Babe 27.3 D, 5.2 XCT
3rd Stephanie Phillips & Lantana 23.5 D, 4 SJ, 5.2 XCT

Intermediate Section N
1st Vittoria Panizzon & One Night Love 24.6 D, 4 SJ, 6 XCT
2nd Ben Way & Croisiere 29.8 D, 5.6 XCT
3rd Jo Rimmer & Isaac Newton 32.7 D, 4 SJ, 0.4 XCT

Intermediate Section O
1st Oliver Townend & Peruising 30.5 D, Double Clear
2nd Kerry Varley & Adagio N 29.8 D, 4 SJ, 2 XCT
3rd Michael Jackson & PSH Bespoke 34.6 D, 2 XCT

Intermediate Section Q
1st Oliver Townend & LCC Cooley 35 D, Doubel Clear
2nd Izzy Taylor & Van Dyke II 34.3 D, 2.8 XCT
3rd Louise Bradley & Kilgarron Kontender 23.9 D, 4 SJ, 11.6 XCT

Intermediate Section R
1st Izzy Taylor & Calibro 30.5 D, 0.8 XCT
2nd Oliver Townend & Sonic De Sermentol 23.4 D, 8 SJ, 2.4 XCT
3rd Eliza Stoddart & Priorspark Opposition Free 26.6 D, 4 SJ, 4 XCT

Intermediate Section T
1st Bill Levett & Lassban Diamond Lift 31.8 D, 0.8 XCT
2nd Izzy Taylor & Legende Top Secret 30.7 D, 4 SJ
3rd Kitty King & Vendredi Biats 30.5 D, 6 XCT

Open Intermediate Section P
1st Vittoria Panizzon & Bonne Amie 19.8 D, 3.2 XCT
2nd Andrew Hoy & Cheeky Calimbo 23.2 D, 0.4 XCT
3rd Oliver Townend & Red Andes Fanfare 28 D, 1.2 XCT

Open Intermediate Under 21 Sponsored by Askham Bryan Section L
1st Ella Hitchman & Rocky Rockstar 32.1 D, Double Clear
2nd Kristina Hall-Jackson & Lemington Lets Dance 32.9 D, Double Clear
3rd Emily King & Brookleigh 26.8 D, 4 SJ, 3.6 XCT

Open Intermediate Under 21 Section M
1st Sam Ecroyd & Opera House 25.2 D, 4.8 XCT
2nd Charlotte Bacon & Sannanvalley Justice 30.9 D, 1.2 XCT
3rd Sam Ecroyd & Wodan III 28 D, 8 SJ

Open Intermediate Under 21 Section S
1st Bert Bolton & Purple Sands 31.1 D, 2 SJT
2nd Rafael Losano & Glock Pullman 27.3 D, 10 XCT
3rd Louis Georgiadis & Playtime NZPH 31.4 D, 4 SJ, 2 XCT

Advanced Section G
1st Andrew Hoy & Rutherglen 25.1 D, 5.2 XCT
2nd Oliver Townend & Dunbeau 28.3 D, 4 SJ, 1.2 XCT
3rd Oliver Townend & Note Worthy 30.9 D, 3.2 XCT

Advanced Section H
1st Kitty King & Persimmon 26.8 D, 12 XCT
2nd Louise Harwood & Jenga II 31.8 D, 4 SJ, 6.8 XCT
3rd Sir Mark Todd & NZB Campino 29.8 D, 12.8 XCT

Advanced Section I
1st Louise Harwood & Whitson 29.1 D, 0.4 XCT
2nd Tim Price & Wesko 27.3 D, 6 XCT
3rd Gemma Tattersall & Arctic Soul 30.6 D, 3.6 XCT

Advanced 8 & 9 Year Old Section J
1st Ian Wills & Hartpury Sky Is The Limit 32.1 D, Double Clear
2nd Piggy French & Obos Cooley 29.3 D, 4 XCT
3rd Tim Price & Xavier Faer 33.9 D, 4 XCT

Advanced Under 25 Section K
1st Tom McEwen & Staff Des Champs 35.7 D, 3.6 XCT
2nd Millie Dumas & Look Now 35 D, 6.8 XCT
3rd Gina Ruck & Rehy Too 33.8 D, 4 SJ, 5.6 XCT

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