Sarah Carless reports…
Nearly 600 competitors headed to Chilham Castle for the first of its two British Eventing fixtures in the heart of Kent.
The weekend belonged to Melissa Joannides who came away with three victories to her name
In BE90 Open Section F she won with Craan Bob. In BE100 Section K she topped the table with Hay Josephine and in Open Novice Section S she won with Briarlands Birdsong, previously ridden by Izzy Taylor. Tom Jackson was another rider to have a successful weekend with two victories to his name. In Novice Section Q he topped the table with Georgio D Over and in Novice Section R he won with Forest Gump 124 and also came second with No Limit II.
Susannah Skeggs and Topholm Tribute topped the standings in BE90 Section A. Susannah, who work full time as a sales manager in merchant services and keeps her horses on her husband’s farm, has had Hector for four years.
She told Eventing Worldwide: “it’s taken an awful lot of work to get him out eventing again after being diagnosed with kissing spine in November 2015. Our plans for this season are to carry on at 90 and do a few 100’s later in season and as the win gives us a chance to do a regional final then we will give it a go. I’m totally over the moon with him and he really does love his job. We joke that we think he winks at the judge when he does his square halts. He is a very lovable horse who try’s his heart out for me.
Seventeen-year-old Annabel Murphy topped BE90 Section B with Milore Bormes. Lolly, as she is known at home, is Annabel’s first horse and their win was completely unexpected.
Annabel said: “We brought her last May unseen…crazy I know. At the time she was advertised, I happened to leave my Facebook open and mum spotted a video of her which very much caught her eye due to her fabulous jump and way of going. Mum has a brilliant eye for nice young horses, having found my sister and I our fabulous ponies so definitely trusted her instinct when she said we would take a chance with her and buy unseen. At the time we brought Lolly, she had done very little so was extremely green with lots of learning to do.
After many months of hard work, she made her eventing debut last month at Munstead. With Chilham being only her third ever event, the biggest aim was for another confident run before she steps up a level. Winning at Chilham was completely unexpected. We were pleasantly surprised when we saw her dressage score of 28.3, as although she shows a lot of potential for this phase and is improving all the time – it is something we have had to work very hard on since we got her, and she is still very much a baby in this phase. She is a fantastic jumper, and naturally covers the ground so I always look forward to taking her jumping – she proved this with another super double clear! After we finished cross country I heard on the tannoy that I had taken the lead having stayed on my dressage score, which was a lovely surprise as I hadn’t seen the other scores but being nearer the top half to go in my section, I thought that this would change. Leaving Chilham I knew we would finish in the top ten, but there was still a lot of scores to go up, so to find out on the way home that we had actually won was unbelievable. I am so proud of Lolly, especially as it has taken a lot of hard work and patience to get her to this point. It makes me so excited for her future and I am really looking forward to our next event at Tweseldown, where she will do her first 100.”
In BE90 Section C it was a win for Ollie Martin and Martins Irish Viking. Ollie, who is based in Kent, imports horses from Ireland with his parents
Ollie commented: “I had a great weekend at Chilham. This season I have five horses to compete and four of them competed at Chilham Horse Trials, our local event and most definitely my favourite. Martins Irish Viking who was imported from Ireland in January did a super test in his first BE90 for a score of 29.5 and he then proceeded with a double clear with ease which gave us the win. It was fantastic to win after competing there for several years and really did make our weekend. I would love to keep him but unfortunately, we can’t keep them all. I have one horse Martins Irish Eddie who is definitely not for sale – I’m looking to qualify him for the five-year-old championships and Badminton grassroots for 2019. Eddie also had a good result at Chilham in the BE100 for 3rd place. The organisers and volunteers do an amazing job making Chilham such desirable place to go.”
Beverley Mattelaer piloted Headdon Diamond Lil to victory in BE90 Section E. Beverley has owned Lil since she was three and she started eventing her last year.
She told Eventing Worldwide: “I was thrilled that Lil won her class. She has the most fantastic temperament and tries her hardest. She performs consistently well. She had one BE80 run this year at Munstead, then I ran in her first BE90 at Larkhill and this was her second BE90, and she was placed in all three runs. I will continue with BE90 this year, and when I feel she is ready will run her at BE100. Chilham is a wonderful venue. Everyone there is very friendly and helpful.”
The Open Novice Under 18 class (Section P) was won by Katie Hales and Killacoran Blue. Katie has owned Toddy for 18 months, and calls him a cross country machine.
She said: He has been a superstar. He is 18, though you’d never know it and is a brilliant pony having been to three pony Europeans before we bought him! Winning at Chilham was very special as my section was so competitive and it is my first win at novice. I’m hoping to Pony Trial toddy as this season continues and depending on how the season goes I would like to aim to go to Brand Hall Pony Trial or if I’m lucky Frickley for the Novice Under 18 teams in the summer.”
Chilham Castle’s second British Eventing Fixture will take place on 28 and 29th July, with classes from BE80(T) up to CIC*.
Other section results: BE90 Section D Kate Linsbury, Lisky Brook; BE80(T) Section G Rebecca Crawford, Dollys Daydream II; BE80(T) Section H Julie Offen, Inus PH; BE80(T) Section I Lucy Wheeler, What A Fella II; BE100 Section J Tom Crisp, Donna Halcyon; BE100 Open Section L Megan Williams, Flugal S; BE100 Open Under 18 Section M Josh Moore, Funny Boy Fortuna; BE100 Open Under 18 Section N Eloise Van Praagh, Lydican Star; BE100 Plus Section O Harry Dzenis, Gulf Stream III.
Photographs courtesy of PDG Photography