Sarah Wells – Gaston reports ..
Bicton is a well-loved venue in the south- west and support for the event showed with more than 400 combinations competing over the weekend.
Meridianway Ramzes Boy is having a stellar season under Alexander Whewall. Their win in BE100 Section H marked their fourth of the year which has also seen them pick up a second place at Chepstow and third at Nunney International.
Graham Law and Eternal Evolution picked up their third win of the season and a second on the trot in winning BE100 Section I.
Ella Venning is having a stalla first season with Rathattan Robie having been placed on every outing so far. But they topped the tables at Bicton in BE80(T) Section F with a winning score of 28.8.
Ella commented: “I have had Robie for just over six months. Bicton is our most local BE venue. This was our fifth BE event and to win was unbelievable. When we drove into the lorry park at lunch time mum spotted a winner walking across with a gorgeous bunch of flowers and very jokingly said how she would love a bunch not thinking that we would ever get one! Robie was fantastic, he did a lovely dressage test getting a 28.8 and putting us into second after the dressage, something we have really been focusing on. A fab clear in the show jumping kept us in second and then he jumped a super cross-country round within the time so coming through the finish flags we knew we’d finished second, which earned a few tears from mum and lots of hugs and kisses for Robie from us both. Whilst washing him off it was announced over the tannoy that we had in-fact taken the lead which meant more tears from mum. Robie is a total superstar and out of our 5 BE events this year we have finished with a double clear in four of them just rolling a pole in our first. I am also a member of the South Devon West PC and over the next few weeks we are representing our club in the PC area competitions. We have qualified along with the team for the dressage Regional championships and I have my fingers crossed that we can do the same for the eventing and showjumping. I am hoping to move up a level towards the end of the season, but have to convince mum first.”
Our Star Jim was piloted to victory by Looby Marsden in BE90 Section C providing them with their second win of the season. Looby is a freeance rider and instructor who took on the ride with Kido when owner decided she no longer wanted to event.
Looby told Eventing Worldwide: “I am incredibly lucky to have had a variety of competition rides since and have had some great results. I met Kido at an eventing clinic I was teaching on and then started to teach his owner Karen privately. Karen decided that she no longer wanted to event Kido so asked me if I would like to have the ride, which I obviously jumped at the chance! I always liked Kido and didn’t have an event ride, due to the previous one being sold. Unfortunately, I only get to ride Kido once a week, but I do feel we are developing a good partnership and have made a lot of progress! I have worked very hard on the dressage and the show jumping which has really reflected in our results, especially our first win at Pontispool and a regional final qualification! I then did some work on the cross country and it paid off as we had another amazing result with another win at Bicton! I cannot take all of the credit though as Karen’s daughter Emily gave Kido a brilliant start to his eventing career but was forced to give up the ride for university. Karen looks after Kido and keeps him fit for eventing and prepares him and travels him to the shows and Miguel has helped me a huge amount on the show jumping and I wouldn’t be having the success I am without this amazing group of people behind me and I am very grateful to all of them.”
Another rider having a stellar season is Alexa Palmer. With Global Super Nova they have been placed on each outing and at Bicton they topped Novice Section L. Last June Alexa suffered a serious fall from a horse but never doubted returning to eventing and has done so in style.
Alexa told Eventing Worldwide: “It was hugely rewarding to win. I have worked hard during my comeback from brain injury last year – my horses had six months off and have been bought back into work completely by myself. Nova is a hugely talented six-year-old mare whose become very tuned in to me through training and always wants to please. This year she’s already been Inter-County champion and had bronze at the BD Youth Inter-Regionals with my team finishing as champions. Her consistency this season was rewarded by the win in her first Novice at Bicton and she will now continue at the level before competing at the 6-year- old national championships and an intermediate if we meet the MERs.”
Imogen Carter and Ardo Z were the winners in Novice Section M. The Freelance groom is also an Equine Co-ordinator at The Donkey Sancturary. She has owned Ardi since 2016 and the pair will be competing at this year’s Festival of British Eventing in the Corinthian Cup.
Imogen told Eventing Worldwide: “It took me a good few months to learn his gears, but he is such good fun to ride. Dressage is his weakest phase, he finds it hard to stay calm and relaxed but at Bicton it all seemed to come together. I have worked really hard to teach him to stay supple within his flat work and it has taken a lot of different training methods, tears and ‘I’m just going to take him jumping thoughts but I was over the moon to see a 26.8 on the scoreboard. He has scope to burn and is super bold, which is good and I love that about him but can also get a little nerve wrecking for my family and supporters as he tends to only go one speed cross country – flat out. My show jumping round was the most worrying phase for me, I get myself all nervous. I have recently started training with Althea Bleekman – I can’t thank her enough for the help she has given me over recent weeks. It’s obviously paid off. Cross country was super fun. I love Bicton and the way Helen builds her courses; bold, flowing and a good test. I didn’t know I was in the lead going into the cross country so I just went to enjoy it as I usually do. I had heard that people were having a few problems and worrying about a few combinations but I knew that if I was riding straight, Ardo would go between the flags – he knows his job. I was delighted to have this win, I have really struggled over the past year or so with social anxiety and depression, I nearly gave up altogether. So, to come back and my favourite local venue, on my horse of a lifetime and win by six points I was over the moon – I’m still on cloud 9. I’m so grateful for my family and trainers for believing I could do it, even when I was adamant I wasn’t. I celebrate the highs because they don’t come along very often!”
Bicton also hosted qualifiers for the British Eventing Young Horse Championships at both four and five-year-old level. Georgie Selley made it two wins from two with TMF Fly High. Off the back of their win at Chepstow the pair topped the four-year-old section B1. In the five-year-old Section K, Vicky Tuffs took victory with Jasper.
Other section results: BE90 Section A Ali Wilkes, Jazz Roos; BE90 Section B Poppy Burner, Witchcombe Music Man; BE90 Section D Lixie Luxton; BE90 Open Section D1 Freddie Best, Jacomar; BE80(T) Section E Anaya Stewart, Rolo XI; BE100 Section G Janou Bleekman, Jannimesa Jewel; BE100 Open Section J Frankie Sommerfield, Ffynnoncadno Jupiter; Open Novice Section N Flora Lickiss, George V.
Images courtesy of Tanzy Lee