Winning end to the season at Calmsden 

Sarah Carless reports …

The traditional Autumn British Eventing competition at Calmsden proved popular, with more than 500 horse and riders competing at the Gloucestershire event.

The event has grown in popularity since it was introduced to the British Eventing Calendar in 2010, and for its final event of the year balloted entries due to the large number of people wishing to compete over the two days – with classes ranging from BE90 to Open Novice.

Fit horses are required for Calmsden, as there is a steep climb towards the end of the course and the course ensured accuracy and positive riding was rewarded. The most influential fence in the novice was the combination at 5 – a roll top to a step to a skinny pallisade, and this caught out a number of riders, especially by the corner on a turn before the water, whilst the BE100 bogey fence was a ditch to a skinny which required positive, accurate riding.

The honours of winning with the lowest score went to Jason Hobbs in BE90 Section L. Riding Woodfalls Brook, the pairing scored 13.8 in the dressage and clear in both jumping phases. This gave them a winning margin of 12.7 penalties.

The Somerset-based rider has had a tremendous season despite missing the first half of the year through injury. He has collected seven wins and 14 top ten placings, having rarely been out of the rosettes. He qualified horses for both the Four and Five year old finals of the Dubarry Burghley Young Horse and had two horses in the placings at the KBIS British Eventing Young Horse Championships at Osberton.

The winner in BE90 Section M was Marlborough-based Catherine Burrell and Fleck. It was a successful event for Catherine as she was also third in BE100 section H on Cassidor. Catherine also competed at the new Littleton British Eventing Competition on with two horses and picked up top ten placings – second on Khaya in a BE90 Open and eighth on Emmerton in a BE90.

In BE90 Section N, victory went to Lucy Dixon and Southmead First Stitch. It has been a successful few weeks for rider who previously rode for Jane Holderness Roddam and runs her own yard near Badminton. The pairing who were second at Dauntsey the previous week as well as picking up a third place at West Wilts’ September event, scored 18.8 in the dressage and even a pole down in the show jumping could not deny them the win.

Lucy comments: “We wanted to do the BE100 at Calmsden but we didn’t get in because entries were full. So we entered the BE90 instead. This little horse is one I have produced for the owners and I backed him when he was three. He has the heart of a lion but he has struggled with show jumping as a he is a little horse with a big stride and he can’t cope with the power just yet – he was always one I thought would take a long time to grow into himself. In future he’ll jump clear and will be really nice. He is owned by Sue Williams who bred him and she is a really lovely owner. If we don’t get into Aldon this will be his last event of the year and we’ll spend the winter working on his show jumping.”

One of the more local riders, Mike Winter – who lives the other side of the A429 to the event, took a win in BE100 Section J with Shannondale Arlo. Another Gloucestershire-based rider took the win in BE100 Section F. Italian Vittoria Panizzon riding Quitus De Louan took their second win in as many competitions, following on from their victory at Sapey. Calmsden also proved to be a winning venue for Georgie Spence and Friday Night. On this occasions they were victorious in Novice Section C, following up their BE100 Open win at Calmsden earlier in the summer.

Jo Verey, Event Organiser of Calmsden Horse Trials, commented: “We were very happy with the event. The weather was cold but dry – our first dry October event for a few years! We’d had some rain at the beginning of the week but then it dried out nicely so we had near perfect ground conditions. We had had to ballot extensively – most likely due to the cancellation of Larkhill. A lot of riders were caught out by this and sadly they did not get onto the waitlists either. So Saturday was mainly novice classes with 2 small 100 sections at the end of the day. On Sunday we ran 100 sections first followed by 3 sections of 90. The courses were average length but fit horses are required here as there is a hill towards the end of the course.

Other section winners at Calmsden included Novice Section A Abigail Walters, Agher Spot The Difference; Novice Section B Emily Philip, Stanhopes Gift; Open Novice Section D Hannah Freeman, Miss Elly IV; Novice Section E Aofie Clark, Kiwi; BE100 Section G Jenny Levett, Ballymore Rich Cat; BE100 Section H David Doel, My Friend Jackson; BE100 Section I Tom Rowland, MGH Maybe A Mission; BE100 Open Section K Rebecca Howard, Shannondale Julia.

Novice classes were sponsored by Stratstones Land Rover, Cheltenham. They provided a unique prize with the top three riders  from each section being put in a hat and the lucky person drawn out won an off road driving experience at Land Rovers Eastnor Castle. Equifeast were the sponsors the BE100 Sections, and other event sponsors included Black Moth Vodka, Cotswold Vets, Watership Property Ltd, McGills Accountants, The NFU  and Chetwood Wealth Management.

Courtesy of Philjphotos

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