Ruth Orrell-Stokes reports….
On Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd July we saw Aston le Walls run their third fixture of the season. The event ran levels from Novice to Advanced including specialised sections; advanced 8/9 year old class (A89YO), open novice under 18 (ONu18), open intermediate under 21 (OIu21) and advanced under 25 (Au25). Organised and ran by Ann and Nigel Taylor, the owners of Aston le Walls Equestrian Centre. The centre provides a busy competition calendar with four British Eventing fixtures each year alongside other affiliated and unaffiliated competitions. They also offer all year-round facilities and many training opportunity’s including camps. A popular venue that has worked extremely hard in partnership with Farol LTD, Jerzy Adamek, Dominic Clews and Hugh Darbishire to prepare and ensure the best going giving the conditions.
There were six novice sections over the weekend with Laura Collett, riding Hanson DHI, winning section G on a dressage score of 23.5. They were one of only three combinations in the section that didn’t add any penalties to their dressage score. Laura, a professional event rider based in Cheltham, also took another win the 8/9 year old advanced section with Dacapo. Sired by Diarado a show jumping Holstein stallion at Deckstation Schockemohle stud. The developing horse is showing a promising eventing career with Laura, recently placing 9th in the CIC*** ERM at Barbury and 9th in the CICO*** at Houghton International.
James Avery, an event rider for New Zealand, on Seaflower won the novice section C on a dressage score of 27.8. The combination has had a successful season so far placing in the top three in four out of seven events. Seaflower, known as Wren at home, is a 7 year old mare owned by Lizzie Edwards. James told us that he ‘took the ride on Wren after riding her for Jonelle Price while she was away. I thought she was a very talented horse, she could really move on the flat and jump. Despite not riding her cross country prior, I was happy to take on the ride. Our aim is to progress her up the levels and is going to be doing her first CCI* at Camphire International Horse Trials in Ireland’ which is on between the 25th to 29th July. The mare is bred by Sir Donnerhall who is currently ranked seventh in the WBFSH world ranking. He also said ‘it will be interesting to see how far she goes giving her dressage bloodlines. She can naturally do everything in the dressage arena and finds it very easy. She is also a talented jumper so is showing lots of promise.’
There was some movement at the top of the leader board for the OIu21 after the cross country. Gemma Wellings took 2nd on Strong Prospect a 10 year old gelding finishing on 33.9 and 3rd with Drumaclan Diamond D a 9 year old mare with 34.2. Drumaclan Diamond D had the leading dressage score of 26.6 until the last phase where they picked up 7.6 time penalties cross country that cost them the win. Gemma said ‘it was amazing to be out again after finishing my A levels a few weeks ago. Both horses did their first intermediates with me at the start of this season so we have been focusing on consolidating them at this level. We are hoping to do both Bicton and Millstreet CIC** with them both and finish with a CCI** at the end of the season if all continues to go to plan! I loved competing at Aston and found that both courses were very educational giving both horses a really good fitness run in preparation for their two stars later in August. The day couldn’t have gone much better and we loved every second!’
It was Max Warburton (19) that moved up the leader board to take 1st in the OIu21 with Samarkand. The combination had a foot perfect day completing on their dressage score of 30.7. Pursuing a full time career with horses he told us he has ‘a really nice string of both established and young horses in the yard, which is really exiting for the future. Samarkand or Henry as he’s known at home is owned by Julian Mash, who I have a few rides for now. Henry is a great horse and a real xc machine. He’s very quick and straight which makes that phase pretty easy for us both. We’ve had to really work hard with him finding his best routine and prep before a show as he can be quite hot for the first 2 phases, but I feel we really got it right this time and the hard works paying off!! I took on the ride about a year ago now and really feel we’ve clicked and he’s gone from strength to strength, having some great form at intermediate level. My aim for next year is young riders so this year will just be making sure we have all our qualifications sorted. I would love to get an advanced run on him though. The course at Aston was great they had done a brilliant job with the ground so full credit to the whole team there!’ It’s certain that we need to keep our eye out for this combination with three top three placings at intermediate so far this season.
Taking their second consecutive win in the U25 section was Emily King and Dargun. The combination won the Advanced U25 section on 32.2, adding 3.6 time penalties from cross country to their dressage score. They achieved the leading dressage score in their section of 28.6, which meant despite the time penalties they held on in the lead. The combination also won in June where they took the U25 CCI*** tittle at Bramham International on a completion score of 25.5.
A lady rider with 10 rides at Aston and who has achieved many top places on the leader board was Piggy French. Piggy won the novice section H with Madme Butterfly IV on their dressage score of 26.8 and the open novice section D with Emerald Jonny on their dressage score of 24.0. Continuing in fashion, Piggy moved up the levels winning on Brookfield Inocent in the intermediate section M completing on an impressive dressage score of 20.2 and completing her winning streak in the advanced section W with Vanir Kamira a 13 year old mare owned by Trevor Dickens. Vanir Kamira started her eventing career with Piggy in 2012. The mare has also been ridden by other top names in her career such as Izzy Taylor (2013) and Paul Tapner (2014-2016), with Piggy taking the ride back in 2017. Piggy posted on her facebook page ‘Vanir Kamira was back with a bang winning the WEG Advanced section on her dressage score of 26.6. She felt great so looking forward to some bigger challenges with her in the autumn.’
Gerogia Herring on SF Detroit won the open novice U18 section despite rolling a pole in the show jumping finishing on a score of 30.3. Despite the combination taking gold at the Kaposvar Pony Europeans in 2017, Georgia advertised SF Detroit the 9 year old stallion for sale a few days before Aston. She describes him as having a ‘stellar competition record that speaks for itself. He stands out due to his exceptional paces, eye-catching presence, work ethic and bravery. Huge personality but as a stallion straightforward to manage and a fantastic partner for a talented pony ride.’
Other section winners include (section, class, rider, horse): A N KATIE RICAHRDS ON GRINGOLET, B N KATIE BARBER ON DIAMOND MINE, F N MILLIE DUMAS ON UNIVERSAL COOLEY, N I TOM MCEWEN ON DREAMAWAY II, O I GASPARD MAKSUF ONALTUS LOUVO, V I TOM MCEWEN ON CHF COOLISER, Q I IZZY TAYLOR ON CONGUISTADOR II, S I JESSE CAMPBELL ON MORNING FAWLTY, U I HARRY MEADE ON GIDEON, T OI JONELLE PRICE ON CLOUD DANCER II, P OI ALEX HUA TIAN ON DHI JET SET, K A PAUL SIMS ON LAST SECRET AND L A MILLIE DUMAS ON ARTISTIEK.
Images Courtesy of Hannah Cole Photography
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