Aston Le Walls hosted their fourth and final affiliated event of the season with over 930 entries and 21 Sections running over three days. Since their Events earlier in the year the Taylor’s have been busy installing their new all weather surface opposite the original all weather which was once home to both the warm up and arenas for the dressage. The new layout saw all of the dressage arena’s moved to the new all weather surface and the original site now divided to provide a warmup for the showjumping (next to the showjumping arena) and the rest devoted to the dressage warmup. This made a vast improvement to the warmup areas with ample space for all competitors and the grassy mound making easy viewing for all spectators. The cross country courses had been changed from their events earlier in the season to provide variation to competitors returning to the venue, and competitors were very impressed with the efforts that had been made to the ground cross country with the rain and course preparation providing near perfect going over much of the course.
Oli Townend dominated the placings over the three days with 15 horses entered in sections from the 100 to OI, he celebrated 4 wins and a further 8 top 10 placings.
In Section A of the Intermediate only 4 out of 32 made the optimum time cross country and the showjumping proved fairly influential with only 8 pairings going clear. The top two placings were unchanged following the dressage with Charlotte Agnew and ‘Charlie Harper’ posting the best dressage score of the section (26.8) and adding 5.2 penalties from the jumping phases for a final score of 32 and 1st place. In second place on a combined score of 33, Blyth Tait and ‘Leo Distinction’ scored a 28.6 dressage and added just 0.4 time penalties XC and 4 penalties in the showjumping. Phillipa Ward and ‘The Artist Almost Famous’ added only 0.4 penalties in the jumping phases to their dressage mark of 33.2 for third place, even without the time penalties it wouldn’t have been enough to catch the top 2.
Aoife Clarke and ‘Fernhill Adventure’ were the victors in Section B finishing on a combined score of 29.1 with a dressage score of 27.1 and 2 time penalties xc. Oli Townend was one of only 2 competitors in the section to finish on their dressage score with a final mark of 30.2 and second place. In third place Paul Sims and ‘Sam I am’ finished just .6 penalties behind the second place pairing with an impressive 24.8 dressage score and 6 penalties to add from the jumping phases.
Victory in Section C went to Matt Heath on board ‘Billy Boyne’ who added just 0.4 penalties XC to their dressage score of 30.2 and their best placing to date at this level. Alice Pearson and ‘Word on the Street’ improved on their seventh place at the same level in Aston’s July Event by clinching the best dressage score of the section (26.1) but rolled a pole showjumping and went 6 seconds over the optimum time XC for a combined score of 32.5 and second place. In third place Samantha Hobbs and Tresoke posted a score of 34.9 with 30.5 in the dressage and 4.4 to add from the XC.
Piggy French had a very successful three days finishing in the top 10 across 4 Intermediate sections starting with a win in Section D on ‘Cooley Top Cat’ finishing on their dressage score of 27.5 and the only pairing to complete the section on a sub 30 score. Second place went to Michael Winter and ‘MHS Cooley Quality’ who went two seconds over the optimum time xc to add 0.8 penalties to their dressage score of 30.2. Rosie Fry and ‘Arise Cavalier’ bettered their 4th placing at their first Intermediate at Barbury in July by taking the third spot with 5.2 time penalties xc and a dressage score of 28.2.
The top two riders in Section E of the U21 OI both finished on their dressage scores and with only .2 penalties separating them. 1st place went to Libby Seed on board ‘What a Catch’ who scored the second highest mark of the day in the dressage to finish on 30.7. Emily King bettered her 7th place in the U210I at Astons July Event to finish on her dressage score of 30.9 with Charlemagne. Amy Struthers and Fabriano started the season at BE100 level having only just started competing together this year, they added 0.4 time XC to their dressage score of 33 to take their best placing to date in their first OI.
In Section F only 3 combinations made the time xc, the highest placed of which was Piggy French in 3rd place. The winners were Fiona Breach and Creevagh Silver De Hagh (who was previously competed by JP Sheffield), they went two seconds over the optimum time to add 0.8 penalties to their dressage score of 27.5 and post the only sub 30 score of the section. Young rider Noah Brook took on the ride of Deo Volente from Piggy French this season, they competed in their first Intermediate at Aston scoring the best dressage mark of the section (24.1) and adding 8.8 time for a total score of 32.9 and second place. Piggy French and Jump Jet finished bang on the optimum time and added 4 penalties from the SJ to their dressage score of 31.1 for third place.
In Section G of the OI 7 pairings scored a sub 30 dressage, 3 of which took the first 3 placings. Piggy French finished bang on the optimum time again and added no penalties from the jumping phases to complete on her dressage score of 24.3 with Belco HRS for first place. Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class also finished on their dressage score (27.5) to take Oli’s fifth 2nd placing from the three days of competition. In third place Nicolas Astier and Piaf de Bneville added a pole showjumping to their dressage score of 25.2 for a combined score of 29.2.
Oli Townend nabbed two of only 3 double clears inside the time to finish on his dressage scores and take 1st and 3rd place in Section H. His first place came with Miss Nina Barbour’s ‘Harthill Diamond’ who has shown very consistent form this season at Novice level and scored a 24.5 dressage to finish on their best combination score to date. In Second place Jesse Campbell and Jjamaica topped the dressage marks with an impressive score of 20 but added 2.4 time penalties XC and 4 penalties from the showjumping for a total of 26.4. In third place with his second ride Oli and Tregilder finished on their dressage mark of 29 in the horses second ever Novice and their second consecutive double clear inside the time at this level.
In Section I Oli Townend topped the leader board again this time riding Heidi and Ian Woodhead’s ‘DHI Okey Cokey’. They finished on their dressage score of 30 with nothing to add from the jumping phases. The 16,2hh mare by Corland was originally campaigned by the Woodhead’s daughter Holly and is having an extremely successful season at Novice level with 6 top 6 placings in the same number of runs, their next run will be in the Novice at Somerford this weekend. Second place rivals Anna Tomlinson and ‘More or Less’ also finished on their dressage score (30.3) a mere .3 penalties behind Oli in first place. Anna is currently competing at U18 level and has had a fantastic season coming 2nd in the Badminton Grassroots BE100 section and with a couple of notable wins at 100 level earlier in the year. The transition to Novice has been fairly seamless with top 5 placings in their last two events. Aston is only the combinations second ever Novice, a very impressive result for a pairing so new to this level. In the third spot and also finishing on their dressage score (33) was Harry Horgan and ‘Noreway Harry’, they are next aiming towards the CIC* at Somerford.
Sam Lees and Easy boy topped the leader board in Section J finishing on their dressage score of 29.3 for a .2 penalty lead over runners up Oli Townend and Gortglas Crazy Love. Sam and Easy boy made the headlines back in March where they score a 17.3 dressage at Poplar Park. In second place Oli Townend and Gortglas Crazy Love also finished on their dressage for a combined score of 29.5 and Oli’s fifth 2nd placing of this Aston event. Amelia Walker and her own ‘Cooley Steel’ took third place ending the day with their score of 32.3 and their highest placing to date.
In Section K Nicola Wilson finished the day on her dressage score of 26.8 to take the win riding ‘Kiltealy King’. A costly pole in the showjumping put Oli Townend and Shearwater Sportsfield out of contention finishing on their combined score of 27.5. In third place Annabel Wigley and Amazing Spy also added 4 penalties showjumping to their dressage of 24.5 for a combined score of 28.5.
In Section L 3 of the 4 top dressage scores also clinched the top 3 placings. Richard Coney and Kananaskis completed on their score of 25.5 for a comfortable win in their section. Stella Benatti and Zaron added 0.8 penalties from the XC to their dressage of 26.4 to take the runners up position. Fiona Davidson and Lissyegan Junior Guy rose one place from 4th after the dressage to finish in 3rd
with their total score of 29.1.
Fridays Pathfinders in Section M set the bar high for the remaining 90 sections taking place on the Saturday kicking off with a win from Sophie Callard and KFS Nicely Dun finishing on their dressage score of 27.3. Debbie King and Silvercroft Kenny also finished on their dressage score with a 29.5 mark cementing their second place within the section. Hannah Mears and Oakwood Butterscotch narrowly missed out on second place with a costly one second over the optimum time XC with 0.4 penalties to add to their dressage score of 29.3 and put them .2 penalties behind the second place pairing.
Section N was the only 100 Section to run on the Friday with the remaining sections taking part on the Saturday. Only 6 pairings made the optimum time xc with officials labelling the rugby balls at 14 as the potential bogey fence on the xc course. The top 3 all finished on their dressage scores with Anna Czylok and Curolea Mika finishing on 26.1 for first place. The runners up were Laura Collett and Sir Papillon who finished on 30.8 and their first top 5 placing at this level. Gilly Milne and Larino have just completed a string of Novice Events and finished on their dressage score of 33.8 to take their best placing of the season at 100 level, they are next heading to Goring for the 100 regional finals.
Section 0 had the largest number of starters out of all of the 100 sections with 40 starting. The section had an average dressage score of 34.1 with a spread of marks between 26.5 and 43, the top 10 all went double clear and only 2 of the top 10 combinations had time penalties xc. Oliver Townend took first and second placings coming first on his dressage score of 26.5 with Damaskus Van De Kapel and added 0.4 time xc to his dressage score of 28.5 on Tchatchaco Ya Ya for second place. In third place Sophie Hearle riding Jacomar Boy finished on their dressage score of 29.5.
In Section P the top 18 placings all scored sub 30 dressage marks with a total of 25 pairings achieving a sub 30 mark and a spread of dressage scores from 19 to 36. Oliver Townend and 5 year old ‘Lissyegan Cooley’ took first place on a dressage score of 21.5 in the geldings first event, he is now being aimed at Somerford Novice for his next run. Also finishing on their dressage score were Cordelia Croft and ‘Ultra de la Rose’ with a mark of 23.5 putting them into Second. Third place went to Ali Wallace and Pencos Equity who finished on their dressage score of 25.5.
Section Q proved they were the speediest of the 100 sections with 3 competitors scoring penalties for going too fast XC and over half of the section (19) achieving a double clear. It was close at the top with two competitors tying for 3rd place. Jemima Gray and Dolley Windsor Diamond finished on their dressage score of 30.5 for first place. With only .3 penalties separating them Amy Bell and Ballykillen Lass also finished on their dressage score with a total mark of 30.8. Finishing on identical scores of 31.3 and with exactly the same time XC were 3rd place combinations Jenny Levett and Ballymore Rich Cat and Katie Horgan and Jumbo’s Jet. The 5th place combination of Penelope Fairmann and Camiro’s Prince also finished on their dressage score of 31.3 but were 13 seconds quicker XC and furthest from the Optimum time.
In Section R the top 4 all finished within .9 penalties of each other and with 12 combinations scoring sub 30 dressage marks. Ben Westgate and Miss Hit finished on their dressage score of 27.8 for 1st place meanwhile the battle for 2nd and 3rd was tight with both competitors finishing on their dressage scores of 28.5. Second place went to Donna West and Hio Lookswell who were closer to the optimum time XC and eventual third place went to Amelia Walker on board E boy.
In Section S Imogen Hellawell and Band of Gold completed on a dressage score of 28.8 with 1.6 time to add XC to win the section on what is only the horses first BE outing. Tessa Baylis and commentators favourite ‘Carregcoh Llewllyn Ap Lloyd’ who have only recently moved up to 90 level took their best BE placing to date finishing on a 30.5 dressage and 1 time XC for second place. In the third spot Alexandra Hamilton and Frozen Asset completed on their dressage score of 32.3 and their best placing to date.
In Section T Frances Long and Mama Mia lead from the dressage completing on the best dressage score of the Section with a 27 mark. Olivia Birks and Darker Magical added just 0.4 penalties from the XC to their dressage of 30.5 for second place and Dan Mould and Daisy De Montfort completed on their dressage score of 31.3 for third position. Rebecca Jessett and Percivals finished on an identical score of 31.3 but Dan and Daisy were closest to the optimum time and scored no penalties in the jumping phases.
In Section U the top 9 all finished on their dressage scores with Julie Chapman and Vladimere reigning victorious with their completion score of 26.5 setting them 1 mark ahead of the second place duo. Dan Mould added another second placing to his day at Aston this time on board Flynn De Montfort, finishing on their dressage score of 27.5. In third place Jessica Leuty and Eclipse SB finished on a dressage score of 28 for a seasons best placing in only their fourth competition as a partnership.
Report by Sarah Ginn
Photography courtesy of Lorraine Porter