Sonia Chapman reports ..
Chilham castle is another of the amazingly beautiful venues that in Britain we are so lucky to have. With the dressage based next to the lake and boathouse, with gorgeous views back up the terraced lawns and herbaceous borders towards the castle. The cross-country course is based within rolling parkland complete with specimen trees, avenues and copses. While on the whole the sun shone, with some light drizzle the ground was unseasonal hard which was a shame for the organisers. Especially considering the disappointing level of entries, which has been seen across the board and grass roots this season. The show jumping arena still had some atmosphere with a couple of exhibitors and food stalls. The cross country at Chilham is always demanding on horse fitness with a long pull uphill in the middle of the course after the water to the top of the park. The bonus is that if you have good ride at Chilham your horse’s fitness has improved. However, all courses encouraged positive riding with people and their horse growing in confidence as there round continued. The novice course did remove one fence (the hayrack at fence 14) from the course halfway through the competition, have there was a hold on course to treat an unfortunate fall.
Alana Sparrow and Ballylennon Sam made their first BE event a winning one by taking BE100 Section J, with a double clear finishing on 29.5. Sadly for Alana has eventing goes with every positive comes a negative and with her second horse she was jumped off at fence 3, but on the positive of that it at least saved his legs for another day!
Marianna Sawyer and Kingston followed up their win from South of England, with another win in the BE100U18, finishing on a classy score of 26. Darcy Rook and Stambrook Mastercard were left to rue there 1.6 time penalties cross country, which pushed them down into second place, however second was still worth the 5am start!
Lisa Pilbeam and Cum Laude Bright Z picked up the win in the BE100 Plus and their next stop is Keysoe Novice. Lisa has always been a great rider of mares, even before they became more widely accepted. Katherine Stewart was thrilled with her absolutely super star Delightful Mr Clover stepping up to BE100 Plus for the first time. This makes it the third top 2 place in row for this combination. Pru Dawes was third on Cooley Diamond Dancer, Pru would have picked up the win in this section on new ride Cooley Legaland who previously went to the Blenhiem 8&9 class with Georgie Spence. Pru had a really successful day also picking up a win on Djakota EB in the BE100 Open. Hannah Galley and the experienced Winchester V were second. Laura Durkan and Ballycreen Pointouschka claimed third in this extremely competitive section.
Horse twin Twice As Nice IV (15.3) and Sacha Hourigan claimed the win in BE100 section K, interestingly Sacha also rode his larger twin brother Double Act IV (16.2) into 5th place in one of the Novice sections. The twins are out of Sacha’s former advanced mare Hyanie D’Aubrie, who was found in France by the equine eventing agent Uptown Eventing.
BE100 saw the highest number of cross-country clears (78.2%) across the classes, although where there were problems these were spread across the course.
Charlotte Bull and Cyber Rocket won the Open Novice U18, in a small but classy field. Interestingly Cyber Rocket is by the celebrated stallion Jumbo who is also the sire of fourth place Jubilee Star III ridden by Ella Palmer. Ella was thrilled with Jubilee Star III as they produced a personnel best in the dressage achieving a 27.
Harriet Colderick and Watergate Bay blitzed the Open Novice with an amazing 20.3 in the dressage to finish nearly 20 marks ahead of second place Clemintine Shipp and Downdstown Play Boy. Wow what an achievement, Harriet was over the moon and stated that he makes her heart sing. Even dressage super stars Laura Schroter and Willem Van Wup could only manage a 24.3, although they only came for a dressage outing.
Harriet Upton and exciting new ride Ubranco UK won Novice section P, with a good dressage and the fastest cross country time in the section. It was the combinations second event together and Harriet was pleased with there solid performance, while enjoying every minute of riding Scooby. Jasmine Wilks and Lady Darcey were second, while Kristina Cook with Monbeg High Life were third.
Matthew Selby and the on fire Fleetwater Capriccio won Novice Section Q, with a 23.5 dressage to finish on 31.1. Alice Dunsdon and the consistent Espoir Landais were second.
The Novice sections were small sections with only 65 cross country runners in total, which produced the lowest percentage of clears across the classes at 69.2%. The problems were had either at the tricky skinny Hippo into the water at 6, while a few were then caught out by the skinny exit to the water at 7. The final combination at 19 to 20, consisting of a house to left pit like drop down to a shoulder brush also claimed a few scalps.
Sadly, Chilham Castle is for sale, so anyone that has £15 million hidden down the back of the sofa please take a look. Some of the features are the Grade 1 listed Chilham Castle, a striking 1920’s marble indoor swimming pool, 2 Astroturf tennis courts and some 300 acres.