Cholmondeley Castle Sponsored by Weatherbys Bank

In its fifth year hosting British Eventing Horse Trials, Cholmondeley Castle once again proved to be a beautiful backdrop to put on another fantastic event hosted by Musketeers Events. The 19th Century castle provided a picturesque backdrop to the show jumping arena and the courses which varied from BE100 to Intermediate provided the challenge often looked for by riders for late Summer events.

Ibby MacPherson added to an already fantastic season with her string of rides by taking a win, second and a fourth in the Novice and Intermediate sections. MacPherson commented, “I’m slightly blown away at the moment but know I have fantastic horses and a brilliant team around me. Evantos K has had phenomenal form with a one-two-one in his first three Novices. I think he is very special and am looking to find a syndicate for a half share in him. He will have a few quiet runs now. Harleys Comet is a very exciting horse for lovely owner, Lyn How, who has owned horses with William Fox Pitt, so I feel privileged she wants to have one with me! He is without a doubt one of the best horses I’ve ever sat on. He has the most incredible jump and could be a proper show jumper. He is as brave as a lion, as nimble as a cat and has serious horse power. He has a very exciting future ahead of him and I am very grateful Lyn has persevered through some frustrating times with his dressage, we are on the cusp of amazingness! Nigel Taylor has been fantastic with both horses’ jumping and knows how to bring the best out in the horses and me, as does Andrew Fletcher!”

The best dressage score of the weekend went to Andrew Downes and Cartier VD Ruitershoeve who achieved a fantastic 19.3 in Section A of the BE100. After bringing a total of seven rides to Cholmondeley it was the thirteen year old 16.2hh gelding who proved lucky to take the win in a competitive section. Meanwhile in Section B of the BE100 Chloe Wilfort and Rath Bouncing Sky were closely followed by Tracey Crane and the large 17.2hh Henry the Hunter to just pip them to the post by less than a point. Tracey Crane commented, “I had a brilliant ride on Henry. He is such a superstar! He hunts all winter with my husband, Andrew, who is joint Master of the Albrighton and Woodland Hunt.”

In Section C of the BE100, despite adding 2 cross country time penalties, Hattie McCance and Tullibards Lux Elegant’s strong dressage score of 26 carried them through to win the second. McCance said, “I thought the event was lovely again and the ground was very good. My horse jumped a lovely double clear, everything rode as I had walked it and he also did his best dressage test to date. I’d definitely recommend the event to others.” Following very closely behind was Ben McClumpha who has been having a fantastic season with Charestown Warrior, commenting, “Chareston Warrior, although new to the eventing scene, is proving to be very consistent with his second places, in all four of his starts! He did his usual obedient test and jumped double clear around what proved to be quite testing tracks for all the levels in both jumping phases. As always it is a lovely, well organised event with every effort being made to ensure great going and variety with the course running in a different direction.”

International event rider Aoife Clark brought two rides with her for the BE100 which proved a successful choice with a win and third place in the BE100 sections. Clark said, “I was delighted with how both the young horses went, I hoped to get my Intermediate horse I too but it seems it’s popular and there was no space! It’s a great event with decent courses across all levels. A lot of work had been put into the ground and it rode well. Kiwi is a very cool six year old dun who will go Novice next. Jenson III is a really super five year old being placed in the top three in his last four pre-novices, including a win in the 5 Year Old qualifier at Little Downham.”

In Section O of the BE100 Molly Williams just managed to skittle ahead of Clark by maintaining her dressage score. Williams said, “Cholmondeley is such a lovely course and it is such a privilege to be able to ride around such fantastic countryside, especially with the show jumping being situated in front of the castle itself! The volunteers were so friendly, it really does made for such a welcoming and fun event. I was so pleased to get a double clear, show jumping can sometimes be a bit hit and miss with us as Axel is rather ‘enthusiastic’ but he jumped better than he has all season which was such a great feeling. In the cross country he absolutely flew, especially the water where he could show off in front of the Weatherby’s tent! I do sometimes feel a bit out of place being eighteen and on an over grown Welsh Section D cross Thoroughbred, warming up alongside a lot of very smart horses, but somehow my overgrown cob does seem to charm the dressage judges. Despite only having a field to practice in at home I think our hard work may just be paying off! I am off to uni in September so am trying to make the most of this season with him so it’s such a brilliant experience being able to compete alongside some of the big eventing names! We’re off to Homme House next to have a go at our first Novice, so fingers crossed for that.”

The Novice sections proved to have a very influential time which saw a double clear within the time almost guarantee a top placing. In section F Helen Waterhouse did just that with her ride Maesmawr Fox, completing on their dressage score of 34.5. Waterhouse commented , “I thought the event ran very smoothly, even with the sharp rain showers! Having sponsors tents around the water jump gives the event a real large event atmosphere. I look forward to Cholmondeley because the cross country is always challenging with the undulating ground but Maesmawr Fox and I are used to the hills in Wales and now feel well prepared for our Autumn three day!”

Despite getting a stronger dressage score than the winners Sophie Toogood and Darcos Wisecracker added timefaults to their score to slip to second place. Toogood said, “This weekend was my fifth time competing at Cholmondeley Castle over three years, both with BE and Pony Club. For these events I have been placed fifth and two seconds at BE Novice and also team ninth 2013 and winning with The Flint and Denbigh Team in 2014 whilst bringing home individual third at the Open Pony Club National Championships. The event this weekend was my first ride around the course in reverse which rode really well. The ground was exceptionally good this year with plenty of give and grass cover. The dressage arenas were well prepared. I felt that the show jumping arena was spacious and asked questions of horse and rider through the course building and the terrain. All in all, apart from the rain, I felt the event ran smoothly. Thanks go to the stewards and organisers being helpful and accommodating. Due to the pleasant experience my dressage this year gave me a solid but average score of 33.8. A fluent clear show jumping round with lots to think about. During the cross country the weather was unpredictable working in was a deluge of what felt like freezing cold rain, however I started and finished in the dry! The course offered different challenges compare to previous years. I felt the first jump was very close to the start box which did not enable me and my horse to gain a good rhythm quickly enough which tested my riding…Following this event I hope to achieve a good result at the Pony Club Championships 20015 and I hope to compete around the Intermediate course next year.”

Section H of the Novice had a particularly strong professional rider turnout with Oliver Townend having two rides alongside Rosalind Canter and Andrew Heffernan. It was Richard Long who was to achieve top honours with Alcazar YB finishing on their dressage of 24. Long said, “This was my first time riding at the event which is crazy as it is so local. I have tried twice before but was injured before it once and it was cancelled due to weather the second time. We were really pleased about the win with Alcazar. He has been tricky cross country and we have taken a while to find the right bit. Now he seems to have turned a corner and have got the right idea. We enjoyed the event and had four horses there and they all went well. I thought they made an effort with the ground which was good and the setting was lovely.”

The Open Intermediate Under 21 Sponsored by Askham Bryan saw just thirteen riders start. Mollie Summerland took her moment with ride, Blusteren, to win the section by almost eight whole points. Summerland said, “I thought the event went really well and much better than I expected as it was only our second Intermediate together. He was very well behaved in the dressage and stayed relaxed which allowed me to try for a bit more in each of our movements like the medium canters which he then got a nine for! In the jumping he gave me such a good ride. I find him strong cross country but the track suited him well as he loves big bold fences, there were some tricky questions but I did not feel he found anything too much of an ask so that has given me confidence for our first CCI ** at Hartpury. I did not go to the event with the thought I was going to win as there were some very good riders in my section so to win by the margin he did was amazing. I love working with his owner, Ginni Wellings, and I cannot thank her enough for giving me the ride on Wotsit, as he is known at home. It was my first time at this event but I loved the whole set up. Weatherbys private banking hospitality area for owners and riders created such a good atmosphere by the water and meant Wotsit and I got a loud cheer after going through which was nice.”

Report bt Amanda Brown

Photographs Courtesy of Vincent Whitehead Photography

BE100 Section A

1st Andrew Downes & Cartier VD Ruitershoeve 19.3 D, 4 SJ

2nd Sarah Caplan & Barones 24.8 D, Double Clear

3rd Harry Moran & Bally Chill 26.3 D, Double Clear

BE100 Section B

1st Chloe Wilfort & Rath Bouncing Sky 29.8 D, Double Clear

2nd Tracey Crane & Henry The Hunter 30 D, 0.4 XCT

3rd Hannah Bate & Galvanised 31.5 D, Double Clear

BE100 Section C

1st Hattie McCance & Tullibards Lux Elegant 26 D, 2 XCT

2nd Ben McClumpha & Charestown Warrior 29.3 D, Double Clear

3rd Ellis Morton & Elsinore ELS 30.8 D, Double Clear

BE100 Section N

1st Aoife Clark & Kiwi 25.3 D, Double Clear

2nd Emilie Chandler & Poppys Law 27 D, Double Clear

3rd Jeanette Brakewell & Tory Massini 26.8 D, 0.4 XCT

BE100 Section O

1st Emilie Chandler & Cooley Galwaybay 27.5 D, Double Clear

2nd Molly Williams & Axel Folie II 27.5 D, Double Clear

3rd Aoife Clarke & Jensen III 24.3 D, 4 XCT

BE100 Open Section D

1st Fiona MacDonald & Spring Into Business 22.5 D, Double Clear

2nd Victoria Mitchell & Coolgrange Pixie 20 D, 4 SJ

3rd Lindsay Middleton & Ballyhist Queen 26 D, Double Clear

BE100 Under 18 Section E

1st Chloe Pearson & Garrybritt Calvin 25 D, Double Clear

2nd Chloe Pearson & Garryduff Chacoa 25.8 D, Double Clear

3rd William Bower & LSF Lux Good 31.3 D, Double Clear

Novice Section F

1st Helen Waterhouse & Maesmawr Fox 34.5 D, Double Clear

2nd Sophie Toogood & Darcos Wisecracker 33.8 D, 1.6 XCT

3rd Emily Gilruth & Topwood Dancer 33.3 D, 4 SJ

Novice Section G

1st Ibby MacPherson & Evantos K 30.3 D, Double Clear

2nd Sophie Brise & Sea Admiral 28.8 D, 4 SJ, 2 XCT

3rd Jon Kirby & Dungar Diamond 33.8 D, 1.2 XCT

Novice Section H

1st Richard Long & Alcazar YB 24 D, Double Clear

2nd Rosalind Canter & Spring Ambition 27 D, Double Clear

3rd Laura-Beth Pilkington & Elja 27 D, 0.8 XCT

Novice Section I

1st Stephanie D’Andrimont & Daisy XV 26 D, Double Clear

2nd Oliver Townend & Treglider 28.3 D, Double Clear

3rd Rosalind Canter & Shannondale Sue 29.5 D, 2.4 XCT

Open Novice Section J

1st Polly Stockton & Stanhopes Mr Macoy 24 D, 3.6 XCT

2nd Elizabeth Abell & Glimavragh 26 D, 4 SJ

3rd Jeanette Brakewell & Cooley Master 24.5 D, 5.6 XCT

Intermediate Section K

1st Andrew Nicholson & Loughnatousa Joey 25.5 D, 4 SJ, 0.8 XCT

2nd Ibby MacPherson & Harleys Comet 34.1 D, 1.2 XCT TF

3rd Daisy Berkeley & Shannondale Jasper 30.5 D, 6 XCT

Open Intermediate Section L

1st Andrew Nicholson & Swallow Springs 23.2 D, Double Clear

2nd Izzy Taylor & KBIS Briarlands Matilda 26.4 D, Double Clear

3rd Oliver Townend & Sandiman II 28 D, Double Clear

Open Intermediate Under 21 Sponsored by Askham Bryan Section M

1st Mollie Summerland & Blusteren 24.3 D, 4 SJ

2nd Caroline Clarke & Touch Too Much 30.9 D, 4 SJ, 1.2 XCT

3rd Francesca Sargent & Nankin W 24.6 D, 8 SJ, 3.6 XCT

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