EVENT REPORTS – Bicton Arena International Horse Trials (1)

Sammi Tucker reports…

Bicton Arena is the South West’s premier equestrian venue.  Set in a part of Devon’s rolling hills on the Clinton Estate, it is the perfect venue for all aspects of equestrian competition, but especially for the horse trials.

Running on Grade 1 listed parkland, it’s sandy old turf and undulations provide the ultimate cross country experience.

Bicton Arena saw an astounding amount of entries due to lots of earlier cancellations on the BE calendar. A major ballot took part and over the three days more than 1,200 horses started.

Helen West, Bicton’s Arena Manager said “We were blessed with the weather!  We enjoyed 3 days of fabulous competition.  It was a pleasure to watch 16 Badminton combinations competing here, the going was perfect and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive about the tracks, the going, the atmosphere, helpfulness of all the teams and I am extremely proud of everyone who made it a success. It was great to see Laura Collett win the 2* with what is a class horse and clearly destined for great things.  Kitty King won the 1* with a super 6yr old which also looks set to have a star studded career ahead of it.  It was

Tom Jackson

equally good to see some of our locals winning at the lower levels.  These include Becki Churchill and Annie Mingo both of whomvolunteer for us and whose families help us at Bicton. It was great to see so many members of the public joining us to watch the action.  Very grateful to Lord & Lady Clinton for allowing us to be here and also very grateful to all of our generous sponsors”

The sun shone brightly throughout the three days of competition, which began on Friday starting with the Novice sections.  The novice course sweeps through the parkland taking advantage of its natural hills and 18 fences to be jumped in an optimum time of 4 minutes and 56 seconds. 
In Novice section C Tom Jackson took the lead after the dressage on a score of 24.8 on the 16.2hh gelding Forrest Gump 124.  The pair rolled a pole in the showjumping, but with enough room to spare on the scoreboard between them and second place winner Rachel Corbett and Fairview, who finished on their dressage of 29.3, they remained at the top and went clear around the cross country to take the win on a score 28.8.
Novice section D saw Holly Wright and 10 year old mare Minacks Maid scoop the win with 30.0.  They had a dressage of 28.0, a clear showjumping and clear cross country with 2.0 time faults.  They were closely followed by Coral Keen by 0.5 of a penalty and third placed Stuart Fitzgerald by 0.8. Coral Keen piloted Total Darkness, a 17.3hh 7 year old gelding by Wish Upon A star.  They rolled a pole in the showjumping and went clear in the time around the cross country whilst Stuart Fitzgerald completed on his dressage of 30.8 on board Doranstown Chair, a 16.2 gelding.
Novice section E saw 36 starters and 33 completing.  Jesse Campbell took the lead after the dressage on a score of 26.5 with Dani Evans in second on 29.0  Jesse and the 8 year old gelding Diachello II unluckily rolled a pole in the showjumping but completed the cross country clear in the time to leave them in 3rd place. Dani Evans and the 6 year old 16.2hh mare Hollywood Dancer,  jumped a double clear for them to grab the top spot with Caroline Harris and Falko TH in second on 29.5
There was some good jumping shown in the Open Novice section F with only 4 combinations having refusals across the country and 4 not completing.  Charlotte Andrews was one of the combinations to go double clear and in the time to finish on her dressage of 27.5.  Toby Pigott and Royal Diamond II were right behind Charlotte and Millhollow Classic by 0.3 and had to settle for second place after their double clear in the time to finish on 27.8.  

World class riders entered the advanced intermediate at Bicton, many prepping for Badminton.   The 9yr old, 16.2hh gelding Vendredi Biats clinched the top spot under Kitty King in the advanced intermediate section K completing on a score of 30.1.  The combination scored a dressage of 26.5 in a hotly contested AI and picked up 3.6 time faults across the county but nothing to damage their overall score.

Breathing down their necks was Pippa Funnell on the 14yr old Billy Beware. they scored a very decent dressage of 23.3 but 7.6 time penalties on the testing track set the to 30.9 and had to settle for second. The time proved hard to get for this advanced intermediate section with the time allowed being 5 minutes and 50 seconds and no one managed to get inside.

Intermediate section G was another cross country track with the optimum time of 5 minutes 50 seconds and only one rider came home inside of that time, and that was the winner Izzy Taylor on the 8yr old mare Grafenelle.  The 16hh mare scored a dressage of 28.2 and went on to do a double clear inside the time to grab the win by 5.5 penalties ahead of Richard Waygood and Askari,  who got a dressage of 22.5,  but 11.2 time penalties on the cross country set them back.

Intermediate section H shown many more top riders including the ever famous Mary King coming second with King Bill.  The 16.3hh, 8yr old gelding by Mill Law did a good dressage of 24.3 but 5.2 time penalties, set them for second as Tom Jackson took first with Capels Hollow Drift.  They scored 26.1 in the dressage, clean heels over the showjumping and with 2.4 time penalties on the cross still saw them good enough for the win.  Again, the only rider to go double clear inside the time was Izzy Taylor and Tregolls and so completed on their dressage of 30.2

 The Open Intermediate saw a very hotly and world class contested section J with only 3 making the time on the cross country, two of them belonging to Izzy Taylor.  Izzy finished 3rd and 4th in this section aboard Impromptu II a Master Imp sired gelding and Kilderrys Cougar Girl, a 10yr old mare.But neither could quite catch up with Pippa Funnell and Sandman 7 who scored a dressage of 23.9, clear showjumping and with just 2.0 time penalties across the country saw them finish in first on 25.9.

Just 14 horses started the Askham Bryan sponsored Open Intermediate under 21 section I and again saw the time was hard to get with only two finishing inside the time.  One of those was the winner Playtime, ridden by Sasha Hargreaves.  The 16.1hh gelding, now 15yrs old, put in a good dressage of 30.5 and did a double clear to grab the win. 

 Sasha said of the horse “Playtime (Smarty) and I have been together since September 2016 and after being on the GB Junior European squad last year we are trialling again this year with a big hope of selection!  Bicton was our first full intermediate run this year after cancellations and other complications.  Smarty was feeling super all day, feeling very relaxed and happy to be out and jumped the best he’s ever jumped in the showjumping.  Cross country he was flying but we unfortunately got held twice on the course.  Having never been held before I wasn’t quite quick enough with my stopwatch the first time so I knew my time was slightly out and after the second hold, I gave up on my stopwatch and just kicked! Despite being pulled out of his rhythm twice he absolutely flew round inside the time giving me a great feel. Our next event is the CCI* at Jardy near Paris in a couple weeks where I have Playtime and my second horse Woodland Be Daring who was 6th in the ONu18 today (friday) so fingers crossed that goes as well as this weekend!”

BE100 section L saw Joe Roome winning a mare he backed and produced himself.  Merdien D Exaerde, a 16.2 mare finished for the win with 26.2. 

Joe said of the mare “Thrilled with her, it’s her second win at BE100.  I backed and produced her myself, she went to the 5year old championships at Osberton last year and has come out this year physically more mature.  She’s a pleasure to ride in all three phases, always consistant and has a temperament to die for, so it’s always a pleasure riding her!”

Emily Proud won the BE100 section O and I spoke with her about her win and her horse Leonado C.

She said: “I have had Leonado C (Locky) since he was 4, I purchased him from JB Sporthorses and brought him on as an event horse myself.  We have taken things slowly as he is a giant, standing at nearly 18hh. So far he has been amazing though; as a 5 year old he qualified for the Burghley young event horse finals at Gatcombe, he won the Blue Chip flat ridden sport horse breeding (GB) finals in 2016, last year he won the novice workers at Royal Bath and West and this year he has finally got the win he so deserved at BE and it couldn’t have been at a more lovely event!He has been so close before, getting a few second placings, but at Bicton yesterday he got everything right. He did a beautiful dressage test – he is such a show off and finished with a double clear inside the time.  I have had help with my dressage from trainer Alice Peternell and jumping from coach Warren Lamperd, who ran in the advanced intermediate at Bicton in preperation for Badminton. It was a really lovely touch winning a posy from Halley Floral Design, making the moment even more special and a hamper from Darts Farm and a big thank you to our section sponsor Wyvern Equestrian for the voucher, Locky will be picking himself something nice! It has been hard work juggling my full time job as a physiotherapist with my horses, but a day like this makes it all worthwhile!”

BE90 section T saw Ffion Loring and 15.3hh mare Flamenca Z win with a double clear.

Ffion said: “It was a really amazing start to the season, after making the three hour journey from South Wales, all we really wanted was to come away confident and ready to move up to 100.  So when we got our best dressage test score to date we were really pleased. Going into the jumping there was a little pressure to do well, but luckily Izzy gave me an amazing double clear within the time!  I’m still not sure I actually believe we won our first event of the season! It was our first time competing at Bicton, it is a lovely venue and we will definitely be returning!”

The final day of competition on the Sunday was exciting with both the International novice CIC 1* and the International intermediate CIC 2* finishing off with the two jumping phases.  The dressage and showjumping for both of these classes took part in the year old Western Counties arena.

Kitty King took the early lead after dressage on the Friday in the international novice CIC 1* with Cristal Fontaine a 7yr old 16.2hh gelding with a score of 27.7.  An optimum time of 5 minutes 28 seconds proved a little difficult to get around this 1* course and Kitty came home with just 1.2 time faults to still be able to grab the win finishing on 28.9. Kitty said the horse was foot perfect saying; “He was a complete pro over the two days, so excited for the future with him.”
The International Intermediate CIC 2* competition at Bicton Arena saw 65 starters and 54 complete. After the dressage on the Friday, Chelsea Pearce took the lead on a score of 28.4 on board Albert VI, a 16.2hh 14yr old gelding.  After two jumping clears but 7.2 time penalties on the cross country they dropped down to 7th place giving the win to Laura Collett and London 52.  Laura and London 52 finished the Friday’s dressage with a score of 30.7 and did a double clear inside the time for the win, with Laura saying London 52 was pure class. 

Other section results: BE100 Open Section M Aaron Millar, Cloonberry Flare; BE100 Section N Owen Cooper, Pembroke II; BE100 Under 18 section P Olivia Mitchell, Woodland Lad; BE100 Plus section Q Katie Hancock,Chytodden Crystal Rosw; BE90 Section R Annie Mingo, Snowglow Jewel; BE90 Section S Rebecca Churchill, Mind Over Matter; Novice Section U Helen Marsh, Disco Chick; Novice Section V Andrew Nicholson, Argentino BK; Open Novice Under 18 Section W Emma Manton, Gortlas Earl Grey; BE100 Section X Joanna Dunn, Fergie Boy. 

Photographs courtesy of Tanzy Lee

Should you have any queries regarding EWW images please email jess@eventingworldwide.com

Read Previous


Read Next