Sarah Carless reports…
The sun shone on Dorset as Bovington hosted its first eventing fixture of the year.
Having had their last competitive run in September 2019, Charlotte Rowe and Eventing Worldwide’s Redbarn Lux Ury Biscuit returned to the eventing scene in fine form with a win in BE100 Open Section C. And they won in style with a finish on dressage score of 21.5 – the lowest winning score of the weekend. Not only that, but Charlotte also finished third in this section with Stonehavens Star Quality – also owned by Eventing Worldwide – with Charlotte having five top ten placings in total over the weekend.
A delighted Jessica Crocker, editor of Eventing Worldwide, said: “It’s so good to be back out, it seems like forever since we where last at an event. Biscuit has retuned in fine form stronger than ever physically which showed in his test today. Having last year off really has been the making of him, at least there’s something to thank Covid for ! We are absolutely delighted with him, if someone had said this morning he would gain a dressage score of 21.5 I’d of bet my house he wouldn’t ! Everyone knows how much I think of this horse, I’m just really happy to be back out enjoying what I love. Bridget (Stonehaven’s Star Quality) is a mare I recently purchased, she too hasn’t had an outing since 2019 when she won the Irish Open Intermediate Championship. She was a very good girl today, we a super pleased with her workman like attitude, she’s definitely a mare on a job. We are really pleased with her result today, it’s been a huge team effort to get here. We are looking forward to this season with her and what we believe she can achieve. Charlotte has worked super hard this winter with not only my horses but all the horses on her team, it was so good to see her duly rewarded this weekend with 5 top 10 placings.”
Sheila Williams an Donail Beauanco topped BE90 Section I with a score of 23.6. Boris, as he is known at home, belongs to Sheila’s mother Linda who bought him from Ireland as an unbroken three-year-old.
Sheila said: “He was bought for someone else to produce but it didn’t work out and he came to me four years ago. Unfortunately he was very broken and he had to have a year off. So I have been riding him for three years and it’s been a very slow process of getting him going with a lot of rehab so he’s a bit of a late starter. Due to him having very sensitive feet I am very careful of the sort of ground I ride him on so can be limited on how many times he competes. Bovington was the first event for us this season so I was over the moon to do a dressage test of 20.8. I felt it was a good test but you never know how the judge is going to judge you. After I jumped clear show jumping I still didn’t know my score. We looked on eventing scores and it still wasn’t up so off I went to the cross country and while I was waiting section I leaders were announced. So the pressure was on to go clear cross country. We went clear but had a couple of time penalties so it was anxious wait for the last few dressage scores to go up. Someone else had a score of 20.6 which dropped me down to second, but then we checked again and she had 4 faults show jumping. Winning makes all those long winter days and all the hard work worth it.”
Having finished fourth at Portman, Anna Johannson and Madford Law jumped up the leaderboard to take the win in BE100 Section B. Anna has part owned Tom, as he is known at home, with his breeder Clare Crocker since he was born.
Anna commented: “He is the first horse that I have produced myself and for it all to come together is the icing on the cake. It was really lovely to win at Bovington, as that was his last run at BE100 before stepping up to do Novice at Bicton this weekend. He has been placed in the top five in his last four BE100s, winning two of them, so on paper he’s definitely ready for the step up. Clare is a massive part of my whole team and I couldn’t do it without her, nor would I have such lovely horses. I remember choosing Tom’s sire (Mill Law) all of seven years ago now and back then winning BE was simply a dream so for it to all fall into place makes all the hard work worth it.”
Lucy Henretty-Lee last competed in a BE competition in August 2019 and has since had her first child – a daughter named Isla. With Amandi Vivendi she returned to affiliated competition with 8th place in BE90 Section G2.
Lucy told Eventing Worldwide: “Vindi was my lockdown purchase and I got him from Alex Whewall. I didn’t manage to get out to any BE events last year so Bovington was our first one and Vindi’s first ever event. It was great to be back out eventing as my last one had been in August 2019 while I was pregnant. I wasn’t expecting much from our first run out as Vindi is still a bit green. My main goal was just to complete. We did a good test for 31.5 but I was a little worried while we were trotting around as Vindi kept spooking at the white boards and the markers but once we went in, he was great. He was super show jumping, and jumped a lovely fluent clear round which had us in third place going into the cross country. Our start was a little sticky – I don’t think he has ever left a start box before so he was a little confused which meant the first three jumps were very sticky but once he realised what he was supposed to be doing. He was great and went clear with 6.8 time faults. He is a big horse with a huge stride but he hasn’t really learnt to gallop yet so that is what we will be working on. The ultimate aim for him this year is to get up to novice. I would love to get back to the Festival of Eventing championships at Gatcombe to do the Corinthian cup again.”
Other section results: BE100 Section A Aaron Millar, Count Onyx; Novice Section D Sam Griffiths, Monbeg Whisper; Novice Section E Gubby Leech, Catherston Oakley; Intermediate Novice Section F Alexa Palmer, Global Super Nova; BE90 Open Section G1 Padraig McCarthy, MGH Querly; BE90 Section G2 Madeline Reader-Smith, Rocky XI; BE90 Section H Imogen Cole-Holland, Reubens Beltaine; BE80(T) Section J Claire Ferguson, Studland Bay Eric: BE80(T) Section K natalie Anscombe, George XVI.
Images courtesy of Sophie Robins