Laura Phipps reports…

Borde Hill hosted a three day bank holiday feast full of jam packed action, with classes ranging from BE80-Open Novice with competition proving as fierce as the sizzling heat.

Baybridge Happy Days consented to playing happy days to win BE80 Section B with Claire Huyton doing the steering.  Claire is not afraid to admit he has what she describes as a ‘horrific’ record – a smattering of letters instead of numbers littering his page. “He’s very temperamental” commented Claire. “I’ve had him since he was four and at times he wouldn’t even leave the start box and then he missed last season due to a ligament injury. I put a pro on him for his first start this season in the hope it would give him a confident run but they got eliminated in the SJ. So, two weeks later here at Borde Hill, I wasn’t hoping for much.” Horses often make fools of you, as they say, and the pair cruised to the win, completing on their dressage score of 29.5. But Happy Days has a sense of humour and clearly couldn’t complete his day without a slight bit of drama as Claire said “he did spook going into the woods and very nearly had me on the floor! Other than that he was amazing and flew round. We will step back up to 90 level in a few weeks – he’s got loads of talent but just doesn’t always want to play. I think most people I know think I should have sold him or taken up dressage a long time ago!” 

In a complete role reversal, Karen and Peter O’Sullivan’s Fresh Expression has made a seamless transition from dressage horse to eventer. Harriet Colderick took over the ride on the 12 year old gelding in the summer of 2017 and this was only their second BE outing together, improving on a fifth place at Munstead to a red rosette in BE90 Section G. The pair completed on their impressive dressage score of 22.8 ahead of Charlotte Bull and Macadam Jewel on 24.7. Harriet commented “he’s been a dressage horse his whole life and only learnt to jump last summer when he came to me. He has taken to it like a duck to water and has proved incredibly brave and careful and has a brilliant attitude. He’s a joy to have in the yard and we feel he is a real grassroots contender.”

A win in BE90 Section I proved just the tonic for Jo Snijder and Spellbound Lexicon after a loss of confidence following a rotational fall, which resulted in a broken shoulder for Jo. “We completely lost both our confidence so we’re slowly building our way back up” commented Jo, a police call handler based in Newbury. The result told no such tale as they completed on their dressage score of 29.0, with a healthy five penalties to spare over Corinne Roberts and Fourstar Struck in second place. “I’m really pleased as the SJ was causing a lot of problems but she’s incredibly careful and then we flew round the XC” said Jo. Jo has owned nine year old ‘Lexi’ since she was a four year old and describes her as a bit of a ‘hippy’ as Jo takes up – “despite being a well-bred competition horse, she much prefers living out and is bitless apart from for dressage.”

Olivia Craddock’s first outing with Galwaybay Panther, a 6 year old gelding by Mermus R, was a successful one as they won BE100 Section P. Olivia commented on her Facebook page: “I was feeling excited to get our first event under our belts and just expected it to be a great learning experience for us both. So I was pleasantly surprised that we managed to lead from start to finish and complete on our dressage score of 27.0. I’m delighted for his owner Beverley Sheikh as she’s been incredibly supportive since we sadly sold Billy Liffy.” 

Andrew Nicholson brought three horses to compete here and left with a win in Novice Section T aboard Babiblonia BT4. This six year old mare by Meneusekal was gaining her second career victory – their leading dressage score of 25.3 enabling them to afford adding six penalties for a rolled pole and time faults in both jumping phases, to eventually scrape the win by 0.3 of a penalty from Hannah Gadsden and Obos Boogie Woogie in second place. 

Sarah Gordon was in flying form to complete a double of wins on just her third and fourth BE outings. She was partnering Boulabeha Who Dun It for the first time and took BE90 Section F in some style. They producing a dazzling 19.8 in the dressage and added nothing more to lead the section from start to finish with a comfortable five penalty cushion ahead of Charlotte Mount and Make a Wish II. Boulabeha Who Dun It is a 14.2hh, 12 year old by the Connemara stallion Templebready Fear Bui and was gaining his first career BE victory. In contrast, Sarah’s second ride, Clonleigh Strike, is a 16.2hh, 10 year old gelding, and their third outing together here yielded a win in BE90 Open Section K completing on their dressage score of 29.5.

Other Section winners:

BE80 Section A: Suzanne Hopkins & Out of Your League, 27.8

Section C: Sean Duffy & Toms Sister, 35.00

Section D: Holly Dangerfield & Ray of Light W, 25.00

BE90 Section E: Kitty Ashby & Boleybawn Rose, 20.5

Section H: Alison Burns & Professor Sprout, 28.00

Section J: Beverley Mattelaer & Headdon Diamond Lil, 32.9

BE100 Section L: Kate Welch & Dicali OHZ, 25.5

Section M: Jessica Copsey & Glensenshaw Sweet Girl, 24.00

Section N: Darcy Zander & Gold Strike Blue DHI, 24.8

Section O: Sam Penn & Burntwood Sorrel, 24.5

BE100 Open Section Q: Lisa Pilbeam & Popstar III, 25.8

BE100 Open under 18 Section R: Eloise Van Praagh & Lydican Star, 24.5

Section S: Anna Martin & Sannanvalley Classic, 28.3

Novice Section T: Andrew Nicholson & Babiblonia BT4, 35.7

Section U: Ruth Starey & Bee My King, 32.4

Open Novice Section V: Alfie Marshall & Tiggity Boo, 32.8

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