Event reports sponsored by Elite Horse Owners
Laura Phipps reports..
Ascott under Wychwood hosted its second horse trials of 2017 over the weekend of 3rd-4th June with classes from BE80 (T) to BE100 Open. This venue affords visitors the opportunity to plonk themselves on a deck chair and open their picnic basket ,without having to pack up the sausage rolls again, as a view of 90% of the course is accessible from one position.
Its likely the ‘Pudding and Prosecco’ stand may have enticed a few onto their feet – champagne bubbles usually being required for drowning sorrows or celebrations. Luckily it was the latter for Trudy Johnson, winner of BE90 Section H aboard Catch Me If You Can: “ I did make use of the stand – I had a glass of bubbles whilst waiting for the prize giving!” adding ‘they were gorgeous rosettes.’ Catch her they could not, as the pair produced a fabulous dressage mark of 23.5, attributed to help from Tom Graham and added nothing further for the win. This 5yo gelding, known as ‘Little Leo’ at home, was an ‘unexpected purchase’ from Brightwells in 2015 and it has proved a shrewd move as Trudy explains “People stopped to watch our dressage! And he has now learnt what fun XC is. He felt awesome.We are moving up to 100 level next week at BCA and have our eye on the 5 yr old qualifiers but only if he is ready. The event here is always lovely – i’m so glad it has stayed on the calendar.”
On the other side of impatience – if one can learn to wait out the jitteriness – lies power. Thoroughbred power in this instance. Angela Molson’s penchant for thoroughbreds was rewarded as a previously described ‘tiny and evil mare’, Petit Rouge, is transformed into BE90 Section I winner at her first affiliated outing. But Angela had to wait: “ I bought her as a 3 yr old from Peter Makin and only because she moved well. I chucked her in a field for 6 months and the rest is history” said Angela. That patience has equated to an altered and more pleasant description of ‘Minnie’, who only stands 15.1hh, as Angela says “ She now loves her new job and thrives on work – she’s pretty special in all three phases with a great brain. My unhorsey husband even rides her round the fields occasionally!” Their win here was gained on their dressage score of 31.5 closely ahead of Josephine Shipmantoon and Pembridge Veilie on 31.8. Angela, who works full time as an Equine Sales Manager for Countrywide, declared herself ‘thrilled’ with this ‘hugely unexpected’ win reflecting ‘she was solid in each phase and tried her heart out – I feel she deserved it, of course I am biased but I adore her! This was a fantastic event and huge thanks to NFU Mutual for the fab prizes.”
Laura Ridout, winner of BE90 Section M, no doubt has a right to feeling slightly smug as her mount here Coolodge Sox originally arrived to her yard to be sold but Laura ‘liked him so much’ she decided to keep him; 7 years, 7 seasons of BE later and here they are racking up a hat-trick of wins. This 16hh, 14yo gelding of unknown breeding, has a fantastic record with Laura with the pair only twice finishing outside the top 10 since 2012 including 6 wins last season. Here they added nothing to a equal dressage leading mark of 27.8 to win comfortably from Katie Hale and Claydon Robinia on 32.8. Laura, who works in the family business breaking and producing young horses, commented “it was great winning here as he has never won here before.”
Clio Georgiadis and Chess Master emphatically won BE100 Open Section B on their dressage mark of 24.3, some 5.1 penalties ahead of Eleanor Balysz and Opposition Nirvana. ‘Chester’ has managed to boomerang his way back to Clio as she explains to Eventing Worldwide: “My family owned Chester for a number of years and last year we sold him to Lorna Roberts who’s since moved to Australia for a year, so i’ve been extremely lucky to have him on loan whilst she’s away.” The pair clearly had unfinished business as this was their first BE win together. “I was over the moon with our result – we’ve been working really hard with his program and it was so gratifying that all the hard work paid off” said Clio.
This weekend was proof that great things can come with short legs as there was a flurry of mini marvels triumphant. BE100 Section B winner Armada Great Gatsby, who stands only 15.1hh added his name to the list. Becky Woolven partnered this 7yo gelding by the German riding pony FS Golden Moonlight, to a career first BE win, having only began eventing this year. They shimmied to a class leading dressage score of 25.5. Their nearest pursuers after dressage fell by the wayside which meant Becky was afforded the luxury of tipping a pole without relinquishing the win, but it was close. Nana Dalton and Master Utah completed on their dressage score of 29.8, just 0.3pens from victory.
A horse who brushes the measuring stick at 17.2hh hit back for the larger types in BE100 Section C. Jumbos Question and David Doel lead from the outset adding nothing to their dressage mark of 25.5. This 5yo gelding by Jumbo was having only his second BE outing and is surely an exciting prospect with the promise of more to come as he matures. Runners up, Danielle Mccormack and Boston Flyer completed on their dressage of 27.0.
The height battle was like a swinging pendulum over the weekend as Bella Butterworth and Cross the Tide chalked up another win for the smaller brigade in BE100 Section F. This 13yo gelding of unknown breeding stands only 14.2hh but that mattered not a jot as they added 4 SJ pens to complete on 31.8, marginally ahead of Kirsty Cocks and Practical Magic IV, who also accrued 4 SJ pens, on 32.0. The winning pair stepped up to BE100 level this year, after only 3 BE90 outings at the backend of 2016, improving their dressage mark each time – here they scored a very respectable 27.8.
Section N: Khia Cadney-Moon & Black Region – 28.3
Section O: Helena Smith & Video – 28.5
Section J: Katie Baldwin & Moelfryn Golden Wonder – 28.4
Section L: Lucinda Mesquita & Le Ramexico – 30.3
BE90 Open Section K: Madelaine Woodford & Furich Tejo – 30.6
Section A: Alice Sandberg & Beijing III – 24.3
Section E: Jessica Baker & Belville Clover – 26.0
Section G: Daisy Berkeley & Caroline – 24.5
Photographs courtesy of Phil J Photography