Bryony Skinner reports
Chilham Castle hosted it’s first event of the 2019 season over the weekend of 27-28th April and saw 600 combinations compete in the beautiful park land surroundings. This event was the first for Chilham Castle with new headline sponsors, One Ashford Hospital and riders were full of praise for how the event was run. The organisers commented; “We managed to miss the worst of the weather, it was slightly cold but mainly dry. We had a new x-country course that ran in reverse for this event which was very well received and we have plans for new fences for the July event. As ever we could not do any of this without all of our volunteers who worked tirelessly throughout the weekend. A big thank you as well to everyone who bought tickets for the tombola and helped to raise nearly £400 for Willberry Wonder Pony charity.”
Suzanne Ashwell continued her brilliant start to the 2019 season by taking the win in the BE80(T) section F on Rhomantic, her own 15hh gelding. The combination added 2.4 x-country time penalties to a very good dressage score of 21.5. This win follows a 2nd at Horseheath and a 4th at Munstead for the pair so far this year.
The BE90 section E was won by Terri Bates on her own gelding Picanini Runako, a 6 year old by Don VHP Z. This was the second event for the combination, who completed on their dressage score of 28.5 after coming in exactly on the optimum time x-country. Terri said: “I have owned him since 6 months old and backed and broke him in myself. I thought the course rode fantastically the hills were certainly a challenge for us as we don’t have any where we are based but he rose to the challenge and really did me proud on course taking it all in his stride. I love Chilham it’s such a beautiful venue and always so friendly. This year I am hoping to get a full season of eventing under our belts and just have a great time whilst he is still learning and growing though hopefully not too much more at 18hh I already need a ladder to get on. To come first at our second BE90 makes me so happy and proud of this horse and really excited where we could go.”
BE100 section I was won by LucyAnna Westaway, riding Django Untrained, a 6 year old 16hh gelding by Billy Be Cool. The combination completed the x-county 13 seconds inside the time to finish on their dressage score of 24.3. LucyAnna commented:
“He (Django Untrained) is owned and bred by Lizzie Calvert and is now six years old (stable name is Baby) and I have been riding him since he was 3yrs. Following advice from Lucinda Green at a XC clinic at Slades farm last year where we were a demo horse, we have waited until now to start eventing him – this definitely paid off as he has won his first two events! The course was beautifully presented and rode very well – I definitely want to ride there again. I was really impressed how Baby coped with the hill and he learnt a lot from the course. His next event is Keysoe and we then plan to give him a mini break from eventing to go showjumping then come back eventing early autumn with a possible aim of stepping him up a level at the end of the year.”
The best dressage score of the weekend went to Melissa Joannides who won the BE100 section J, completing on her dressage score of 19.3 aboard her husband’s 12 year old hunting mare Hay Josephine. Melissa also won the BE100+ section N with 6 year old stallion, Prometheus II; again finishing on their dressage score of 24. Melissa said: “Hay Josephine is the most lovely chestnut mare who always tries her heart out. It was fun to ride the course in a different direction this year at Chilham to make a change. I thought the BE100 was an inviting course that asked a couple of tricky questions so it wasn’t totally plain sailing. ‘Joss’ as she is known at home, is out of a flat race horse, so the Chilham hills are absolutely nothing to her; in fact, I had to go round in a hand canter to avoid too fast penalties! She will continue to event around the south east circuit until the hunting season comes around again. This is why Chilham was only her first event this season as she has a break post hunting before coming out for some fun during the summer!
My second winner was Katy Wise’s SPSS graded stallion Prometheus II. This is ‘Percy’s’ second season eventing as he is a 6yo this year. He completed his first Novice the other week so we dropped him down a level at Chilham for a confident run as we didn’t know how his first Novice would go. Suffice to say, he was brilliant and did an almost fault free test for 24 which was second best, but double clear inside the time was good enough for top spot. I adore this little stallion who is not only talented, he has a wonderful temperament and character and is proving trainable and brave. He is now available for breeding. After a good run here, we shall step him back up to Novice and just take each event as it comes at the moment.
I thought Chilham had done a good job of preparing the ground in this unusual dry spell and as always it was well run.”
The BE100 Section K was won by Katie Preston and Templar Juno, who jumped double clear and inside the time to compete on their dressage score of 27.5. Katie is a full time equine vet based at Milbourn Equine in Kent, and will be contending Badminton for the first time this year with her horse Templar Justice. Of Templar Juno, Katie said “She is a very special horse who I have been very excited about since I got her as a yearling, I am so proud that she proved me right today as a winner at only her 3rd event!! Juno is very talented, incredibly laid back and has a great attitude to work with so I am very lucky. The course was lovely with perfect ground and enough questions given the testing terrain. Juno did suggest to me halfway up the hill she was tired but I gave her a little kick and she cracked on, being young she has ever really had to work very hard yet so I think it shocked her – but will have been a great education as she finished well. She will have a break now for a bit, she made it feel easy so don’t want to run her too much – will save her to try and qualify for Osberton 5 year olds.”
Tom Jackson had a busy weekend, competing 4 horses and taking first place in the BE Novice section P with 7 year old gelding, Ask for Manchier. Only one combination finished the x-country inside the optimum time in this section and Tom added 1.6 time penalties to his dressage score of 27.5 to win. Tom also came 7th in this section with the 6 year old gelding, Dassett Endeavour.
The x-country time proved influential in the BE Novice section Q, with only two combinations finishing within the optimum time. One of these was Georgina Wood, who won the section with the 16.3hh gelding Greenlanes Hudson, completing on their dressage score of 30.0, 5.7 points ahead of the 2nd placed combination. Georgina commented:
“Hudson is a 7yo gelding by Zambesi and was bred by a friend of ours who has a small stud called the Greenlanes Stud. He came to me as a 4yo from the breeder to produce and sell for Eventing. But we fell in love with him and my aunt, Liz Hale, and my parents clubbed together to buy him. He only stepped up to Novice this season and has been 7th, 5th, 3rd and now has won! The course was lovely. I thought it was cleverly built with plenty of questions and using the undulations well. I was delighted with the ride I had, he was so bold and it was the first time I’ve really asked him to gallop but he loved it. He is entered for his first CCI2*S at Rockingham next month and then hope to step up to intermediate after that!”
Other winners: BE90 section A; Jasmine Wilks, Comsplan Zeus: BE90 section B; Sacha Hourigan, Will She Be Dun: BE90 section C; Jade Forlani, Billy Oak: BE90o section D; Alycia Port, Second Edition II: BE80(T) section G; Phoebe Auger, Ticketyboo Roo: BE80(T) section H; Bridget Priest, Culmore Frank: BE100o section L; Emma Baker, Brockley Star: BE100ou18 section M; Claudia Cooper, Vardigo: BEONu18 section O; Leilia Paske, Fernhill First Friend: BEON section R; Kate Beier, The Gossip.