Millie Wain reports..
There were two days of competition at Alnwick Ford in Northumberland. The event hosted classes from BE80(T) to Novice level and attracted nearly 400 competitors across 17 sections. The Paul Ellis- designed cross country course was well-presented and gave combinations plenty of confidence as they ran across the Northumbrian countryside.
BE90 section H was won by Kate Sanderson riding Hillgarth Rachelian on a score of 28 penalties. Kate was delighted with her win and said it was made even more special with Alnwick Ford being her local event. The pair have accumulated some excellent results in their time together. In fact, they have finished in the top five 6 times in their 8 events together. The pair stepped up to BE90 level two weeks prior to their win at Alnwick: Kate said “it’s only her second run at BE90 (minus one we did back in 2017 but I pulled her up cross country as she was just jumping very flat, and a few months later we found she had a bone fragment in her fetlock). Every time I event Elle (as she’s known at home), I just feel so very lucky. Back in 2017 when we found she had a bone fragment in her fetlock she had to undergo surgery and we didn’t know if she would ever really withstand work again, let alone jump or event. So I’m just forever grateful to my vets at Alnorthumbria for all they’ve done and I’m very lucky she’s bounced back better than ever and is absolutely loving life.”
Kate told Eventing Worldwide how has owned Elle for four years and bought her for £650 as a 4-year-old off a Facebook advert: “She had just been backed with the intention of having her a few weeks to sell on, as she’s only 14hh. She’s full Welsh D so not your typical event pony, but for what she lacks in size she makes up in power. It became very apparent very early on, her incredible jump and power in her paces and I just fell in total love with her, she has the heart of a lion. Never in a million years did I think I would ever be able to own a horse or pony as talented as her, so she’s going nowhere. She’s taken me to two BD Winter Championships and is now competing at BD Medium level. After the Nationals this year I wanted us both to let our hair down and have some fun and get back out Eventing properly for the first time. She’s done 4 events so far, all double clear and no lower than placing 5th. We only have one event left which is the 80 championships at Norton Disney, then after that she will be going on a well-deserved holiday.”
Next year, Kate and Hillgarth Rachelian have ambitions to qualify for Badminton 2022, compete in some HOYS M&M workers qualifiers and continue to gain success in dressage championships.
Emma Coghill took the win in section E of the novice, which made the 8.5 hour journey from near John O’Groats worth it. Emma was riding Rainbows Little Rock and were one of only 5 combinations in the section to complete on their dressage score, which was 32.5 penalties. They had no time in hand on the cross country, with just 0.3 penalties separating them from second and third place, who both completed on 32.8. Amy Aspden had led the section going into the cross country and was one of two riders to post a sub-30 dressage score; she added 8.4 time penalties on the cross country but still took home 7th place. We caught up with Emma after her win:
“I was so delighted and surprised to win this weekend. We were placed 2nd in the Novice at Forgandenny last weekend but never expected to win an event with the larger volume of competitors in England. We have had to travel to England a few times this year and were placed 4th at Warwick hall 2 weekends ago. Possibly one of the most travelled competitors with our average journeys, even in Scotland, taking about 6 hours.
I have had Sol for 4 years since he was a 4-year-old. He is an extremely talented horse who I hope to continue up the levels. We had planned on doing a few intermediates this year but with the current situation and a lack of anything above novice level in Scotland, it has not been possible. We have competed up to 2* level jumping a fantastic clear XC last year at the very challenging Blair Castle Horse Trials.
I am a PhD student based in Inverness and travel 2 hours back home at least 2 times a week to ride and train.
We only have one event remaining this season at Kirriemuir, we had hoped to go to Osberton but it was just not viable travel and cost wise. Hopefully with our fantastic results we can pick up some sponsors.”
Harriet Bagley had an impressive win in the BE100open section with Forestland of Drayton. They achieved the only sub-20 dressage score in the section, and led the first phase by over 6 penalties with a score of 17.5 penalties. Harriet said that her win “was amazing. I’ve never had a dressage score into the teens before, so it was really exciting, especially for him to have been so far clear of the next best mark.”
The combination knows each other very well, having been a partnership for 7 years: “We got him when he was 5, he’s taught me so much and taken me to so many firsts, so any day out with him is always a pleasure, he really is the gift that keeps on giving. He loves his cross country more than anything and gets excited as soon as he sees the start box and enjoys every minute. He’s just the most wonderful horse to have on the yard, I’m so lucky to have him.”
Harriet graduated from university last year and is currently enjoying her time eventing. She is riding Forestland of Drayton and 3 other horses, including an 8-year-old who is rising up the levels and 2 young horses, one of which made his BE debut at Alnwick running a lovely double clear. Harriet explained “it’s exciting times ahead for those”.
There was one Open Novice section, which was won by Sara Bowe riding MHS Seventeen, owned by Deirdre Johnston. The 7-year-old has had consistent results at novice level; this was their third win of the season. Sara had a busy weekend, having competed at Kelsall Hill on Friday and at Alnwick over both days. MHS Seventeen produced a lovely dressage test to score 24.3 penalties and went double clear inside the time, finishing ahead of Katherine Hague and Cooley Adventurer in second place on their dressage score of 26. Joanna Neilson completed the top 3 with CES Silver Chip.
Emma Hobday had a successful weekend at Alnwick Ford; all 4 of her rides finished inside the top 10, 3 of which were in the BE90open section. Emma secured a one-two finish in section M with Dunloughan Marley and Clonmore Orbits Son respectively, as well as taking 8th place with Silver Jubilee. This was each horse’s first BE event and they all jumped double clears.
Alnwick Ford posted on their social media and said “we have been lucky enough to run 2 events with great support in these challenging times. Roll on 2021”.