Sonia Chapman reports …
The second week of the eventing season did not let up with people’s enthusiasm for a return to the sport, with Aston receiving over 1800 entries. Aston and BE reach an agreement to add two extra days to the event, running from Thursday to Monday, with classes ranging from BE90, BE100, Novice and Intermediate. Entries ranged from amateurs with one horse to professionals bringing out as many of their yard as could get in without being balloted (Izzy Taylor and Oliver Townend both had 14 horses each).
The new event layout was met with positive comments;
Gemma Tattersall “Massive shout out to the team at Aston, it was EXTREMELY well run on absolutely brilliant ground, spaced out and very safe! Thank you!”
William Fox Pitt “Nigel had done his usual classy job providing the best going and the two tracks were spot on for what we currently want”
Due to various reasons including Covid 19 & HS2, the lorry park is now a further field along, which on this occasion also contained the cross-country start. The old lorry park, now contained the showjumping. Which handily consisted of two rings and a large warm up. Meaning that change overs between classes was kept to a minimum with judges stepping out of one box walking a few metres and getting into the box for the next class. In addition to changeovers this also meant that the ground was only jumped on for half the time, although each day had a different course for each height.
While the dressage did seem a long walk away from the lorry park (well any helpers worried about putting on weight / not getting their exercise over lockdown had their work out routine increased!), the warm up space was greatly improved. The dressage atmosphere was extremely quiet, which was good for people whose horses were definitely pleased to be out at a party again!
Routes to all phases were laid out in a one way system, which added to the spacious feel to the event.
Richard Coney and Kananaskis won the competitive U21 section, with Molly Faulkner coming second on Call Me Cooley although Molly had lead the dressage on Classic Affair with a 22.5. Lockdown has definitely allowed the leading dressage scores to tumble, with low twenties and early teens scores required for section wins at all levels.
Dargun and Piggy March followed up latest weeks win at Tweseldown, with a win the open intermediate section D, leading from start to finish to complete on 22.3. Second and third were also good dressage horses in the form of Dacapo and Laura Collet in second, with Hector Payne and Top Biats in third.
From Hectors facebook page;
“Great to get back out again today with TOP BIATS in the Open Intermediate at Aston – he was super to score 26 in the dressage and jump a double clear inside the time for 3rd🥉- he is also tentatively looking for a new jockey to take up the levels” -Wow what a great opportunity for someone.
Three other dressage stars took the podium spots in Open Intermediate Section P, led by Kitty King and the classy Cristal Fontaine, followed by Blenheim 2019 dressage leader Izzy Taylor and Monkeying Around, rounded out by Yasmin Ingham on Sandman 7. This section also saw the return to eventing of Kitty king on the popular Ceylor Lan.
Kitty King also took the lead in Intermediate section Q on Vendredi Biats, with the best dressage and an FOD (finish on dressage). Bulana and Nicola Wilson, showed that they are coming back into form after injurys to take second. While the now amateur Paul Tapner and his only event horse Bonza King of Rogue picked up third after missing all of last season.
Piggy March took Intermediate section A on Marchwood from Susie Berry on Kilcandra Capital, while Susie was lucker in Section B as Piggy was not in that section so Monberg by Design took top spot!
Arthur Duffort and Arkos Lad completed on a classy 20.2 (no not a typo) in intermediate section R to take the win from Izzy Taylor and Hello Stranger (who might not be a stranger for much longer if you look at her results).
The final intermediate section was own by Yasmin Ingham, who lead the dressage and then finished on that score with Banzai Du Loir. A very exciting and talented French horse found for long term owners of Yasmins, Sue Davis and Jeanette Chinn last year in France by Uptown Eventing.
All the cross country courses were beautifully flowing, giving new and the experienced a like a chance to improve fitness, banish the cobwebs or be competitive without putting too much wear and tear onto your horse.
Well done Aston, another great event.