Sonia Chapman reports …
The weather gods are not always generous to Borde Hill with it either torrential rain or boiling hot. This year for the majority the weather was a nice temperature, just after the cold weather we have recently had it seemed tropical. The organising team at Borde Hill worked tremendously hard to ensure that the event could run. With one of the wetness months of May on record it was touch and go right up to Wednesday before the event on whether they could run. Indeed, the going was extra soft in places and the lorry park was just ok, with some big tractors on hand to pull out the unfortunates. The showjumping track did have to make use of the bottom half of the ring to try consistent going for all competitors in each class. The showjumping location at Borde Hill is testing anyway, due to the undulating nature of the ring on the side of a hill. Although it had fewer tradestands that previously there were still 3 feather flags around the outside to provide an atmosphere, so combined with the soft going at the top of the ring it was a technical test. Borde hill also fell foul to the reduction in entries this year, with the competition reduced from 3 days to 2.
The three competitive BE 80 sections were won by Milli Day and Llangennydd Chase, Tom Cousillas Elusive Oliver and Beth Hobden with Maghera Liam respectively. Tom was thrilled with Oliver in his first BE80 and second ever event, Oliver will now have a holiday and come back for the end of the summer.
The BE90 sections were also a competitive affair. Holly Rogers and Calcourt Florentine won section B by a huge margin of 7 marks, with a great 25 dressage and a double clear with no time penalties. Holly has always believed Florian was capable of some top results so it was the best feeling to be able to produce the performance. Sam Sweeney and Warren Marshals Foodys Classic Dawn (Lord), headed the leader board in section D with the best dressage and was never caught. This made it 2 wins from 2 for Sam and Lord after picking up a win at Firle as well. A great result for Sam who only gave birth to son Luke 3 months as well, although Sam did comment that her competition gear was bit tight and the cup cake consumption might have to be cut down. Lord also can be seen with a short hunting tail, as after going back to his owners over the winter while Sam was pregnant, he came in from the field on the first day home with a tail full of clay. Warren decided that this was not acceptable so immediately provided Lord with a nice short hunting tail length!
Nicola Holehouse and Millfield Catapult pick up a second win on the bounce topping section L after a win a Tweseldown the week before. Nicole who is a great dressage rider for the second week running eased the best dressage of section out of Craigy, this time leading by 3.3 penalties. A pole in the showjumping could not affect their lead and a great cross country which did include a massive spook at the fence judges in deck chairs with sun hats at Fence 2 could not stop there winning form.
As usual the cross country course at Borde Hill was up to height and technical, although this year to try to obtain the necessary course length at each height the course were slightly twisty turny and switch back on themselves, making the cross country time especially tricky to achieve.
Claudia Thornett and Doonaveeragh April topped the Open Novice by being the closest to achieving the cross country time with a frustrating 0.4 penalties. Felicity Collins and the consistent Billy Memphis made it five from five double clears to pick up 4th place. Felicity is really enjoying riding this super mare while owner Lucy Allum is on maternity leave, although when testing Felicity’s stick ability in the warm up maybe not so enjoyable! Fifth place in this section went to Jonelle Price on a new ride the previous Chris Burton ride Coup De Coeur Dudevin, a combination to watch for the remainder of the season.
The two novice sections were full of multiple riders who were not making it easy for the showjumping ring steward, in fact some were down right rude which is extremely unfair on people who are giving up there time voluntarily. Although Jonelle Price and Andrew Nicholson to name a couple were 2 people I constantly heard thanking the volunteers for there hard work.
Jack Pinkney and Estelita headed Will Furlong with Jalifia in second and Felicity Collins Iede CVN in third. Will had a great weekend with his team of young horses, with two seconds and a win in the other Novice section on Patito. A unfortunate pole when getting slightly stuck in the mud on homebred MR McGregor cost him the win in the BE100. Felicity also had a good weekend with IEDE CVN being the star after not eventing for 18 months, producing a great dressage with a super double clear with a few planned time faults for third.