Rika Nile reports…

Bicton Arena held the second of British Eventing’s winter Arena Eventing series, holding the competition for the first time and kicking off the first of their 2017 fixtures. 80, 90 and 100 level courses ran seeing competitors contest over a course of show jumps before going straight into a simulated cross country course in an attempt to qualify for the championships at Aston Le Walls in February.

Rachel Shire booked her ticket to the championships with Christine Hill’s Castlelawn Echo, after Christine was injured and Rachel stepped in to compete. Ending on a zero penalty score, Rachel and the 8-year-old took the top sport over Kate Prendergast and Kilpatrick Cassius and Poppy Burner with Whipstaff Picasso, who both also ended on a zero penalty score.

Rachel told Eventing Worldwide: “He is such an honest, genuine horse so I never doubted his jumping but we were delighted he had won as I thought I had gone quite slow! I think the arena eventing is great as pre season training for both horse and rider and also gives a goal to aim for in these bleak winter months! There is always enough dressage and showjumping training but we can all be guilty of only doing one or two xc schooling sessions before the start of the season!

“I was hoping to qualify my other ride Widlake Princess (also owned by Christine) in the 100 but a rider sat nav error put paid to that! So she and one of my youngsters will go to Wellington to try again. It would be nice to have a few to take all the way to Aston Le Walls for the final”.

The 90 class had a strong entry with 36 combinations running in total, seeing 32 finishing and 13 finishing on a zero penalty score. The section was headed by Rhiannon Tewson with Idefix III, who also took 5th place with her other ride Laburnam Mossie. She took the class ahead of Rebecca Reid and Cante Jondo Rocio and Janou Bleekman riding He’s All White in third. 

Only the top three combinations finished on zero in the 100 class, with Nicola Foad and Potsdam Junior emerging top of the leaderboard. Second was taken by Emily Wiegersma and Fire, with Polly Muirhead and Carnsdale Mr Cool in third, after also taking 10th in the 90 section.

The remaining events in the Arena Eventing series take place at Onley Grounds, Epworth EC, Wellington, Wickstead Horseplay, Dallas Burston Polo Club, Mendip Plains and Moreton Morrell College.

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