Sarah Wells-Gaston reports ..

Regarded as one of the North East’s premier events, Belsay Horse Trials once again attracted a full list of entries as organisers Peter and Laura de Wesselow welcomed local and international riders to the two-day event.

Belsay proved to be a successful event for Team Hobday with two wins, two seconds, two thirds, three fifths and a seventh place for Emma and Ben, who both took home a win. Ben’s victory came in Open Intermediate Section G with Shadow Man II whilst Emma topped BE100 Section O with Shadow Star Quality.

It was also a successful event for Charlotte Parry Ashcroft who collected two wins at Novice, including the Novice Regional Final. She topped Section A with Harthill Storm and the NRF Section E with Will Jack B King.

Brianna Tweddall and Lisboy Buachaill were the winners in the Open Novice Under 18 (Section C). The pair have competed together for the last five years and Brianna is looking forward to representing Zetland at the Pony Club National Championships and is hoping to be picked to be part of the Northern Area team at the BE Under 18 team Championships at Frickley.

Brianna told Eventing Worldwide: “He hadn’t done a lot but he had scope to burn and huge potential. He is kind, intelligent, brave, an incredible jumper, safe and sound. I feel incredibly lucky to have been blessed with this horse, he really is my horse of a lifetime. Last summer was blighted with injury, mainly me breaking my ankle tripping up a step, which gave us a late start to last year’s event season, so our win at Belsay felt an even greater achievement. It was an unexpected win after a disappointing dressage left us sitting well down the table. The show jumping proved very influential, it definitely wasn’t a dressage competition. We were the only pair in our class to get a clear round which saw us climb up the table. The cross country was amazing, Lish flew round, it felt incredible! Belsay is such a wonderful event – the ground, course and organisation there really is second to none.”

Sarah Hislop piloted Caheradoo Emma to victory in BE100 Section J, and also came ninth in BE100 Section K on Hitstar.

Sarah told Eventing Worldwide: “She is a little star. I bought her from Ireland at the end of her four-year-old year. She’s always been so straight forward to jump and just loves her job. She did four events last year with double clears and the fourth clear cross country. She doesn’t particularly like flatwork but this year she’s come out really enjoying it and working really well! She’s a machine cross country – all I have to do it sit a steer! She will hopefully head to Eglinton for her first Novice and if all goes well I’d love to take her to the six-year-old championships at Osberton at the end of the year.”

Natasha Burrows and Midnight Revolution, known as Revel at home, were the winners in BE100 Section K. Natasha, who is a chef at a golf club, has had Revel for nearly four years and describes him as very cheeky.

She told Eventing Worldwide: “Fitting in the work balance is quite tricky. Out of competition Revel is my mum’s hacking pony so I only rode him once or twice a week. I was shocked to win. I did my dressage which was very fluent and relaxed despite two minor blips to score 31. I went show jumping which didn’t go to plan at Warwick but this week he pulled it out the bag with a clear. I knew there was someone who finished on 31.1 and the time had been riding quite tight. Revel is small so we pushed on and managed to come home nine seconds inside the time . He felt really focused which is unlike him. It felt amazing to win on home turf as I prefer to travel away for competitions.”

Rustenberg Diamond was ridden to victory in BE90 Section L by Laura Fenwick. Rustin is owned by Ged and Becky Walker and at Belsay the pair finished on their dressage score of 24.0.

Laura told Eventing Worldwide: “He would usually be competed by Becky Walker but I’ve been lucky enough to be given the ride on him. He’s a fairly consistent horse who rarely out of the placings and a pleasure to ride. He’s entered up for Alnwick Ford in the BE100 next time out. I do a bit of everything with the horses including point to pointing, eventing and showing so we’re always out and busy. It was great to get a win at Belsay with it being our most local event only five miles down the road. Laura De Wesslow and her team do the most amazing job at Belsay, the ground was perfect and the atmosphere was fantastic. I’m looking forward to next year already when it gains international status.”

This year’s Gill Gilbertson Memorial Slaver, awarded to the highest placed re-trained racehorse across the BE100 and BE90 classes, was presented to go Sophie Dods riding Bamber Bridge. The pair were fourth in BE90 Section L.

Sophie told Eventing Worldwide: “My dad trains racehorses and trained Bamber Bridge. He won as a two-year-old on the flat and was placed as a three-year-old but didn’t meet the grade as a four-year-old. I knew the people who owned him well so asked if I could keep him and try event him because he was such a nice-looking horse. That was in the October 2017 and he was still a colt so we had him gelded and started from there. Last year I did one BE80 with him and he was great so this year just went straight for the BE90. It felt great to win the Slaver as this was only his fifth event and he’s just taking everything in his stride. I hope to carry on doing BE90s this year and maybe think about BE100 next year or try get him qualified for RoR Grassroots eventing championships.”

For the third year in a row Pip Nixon was the highest placed Mowdenian – awarded to the The Highest placed Mowdenian (or ex Mowdenian. She was awarded this for finishing second on PRF Divo Mail in Novice Section B.

Alongside the eventing action, the George Crawford Legacy Trust paid a stop to Belsay on their 364-mile bike ride in memory of George. The bike ride started from George’s home in Melrose and will end at Harper Adams University and the team hopes to raise money for the trust in aid of supporting individuals and charities with their dreams.

Organisers of the event are already looking ahead to 2020 when it will host the British Eventing Pony Championships and a CCI2*-S competition.

Other section results: Novice Section B James Adams, Bejewel; Intermediate Novice Section D Wills Oakden, Cracker Jack II; Intermediate Section F Alexandra Farrar-Fry, Santiago S; Open Intermediate Under 21 Section H Connie Gill, Florida II; BE100 Open Under 18 Section I Olivia Graham, Tale of Two Shivers; BE90 Section M Pietro De Marrchi, Legal Graffiti; BE90 Section N Stephen Rankin, Cooley Empire; BE100 Section P Holly Richardson, Ipache; BE100 Open Section Q Mark Jackson, Linnel Dance Again; Novice Section R Steven Smith, Imposant.

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Entries are open for this year’s Barbury International Horse Trials, which runs from 4th – 7th July.

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EVENT REPORTS – Brand Hall International