Event Reports sponsored by Elite Horse Owners
Eryn Douglas reports…
Floors Castle international horse trials in undeniably a favourite for many competitors in the northern eventing circuit, attracting competitors from the north of Scotland right down to the south of England. The magnificent castle backdrop creates an electric atmosphere which was reflected in another weekend of exciting competition.
There is a real excitement surrounding the dressage warm up at Floors; with the international arenas within intensely close proximity of the Floors Castle itself and the national arenas also a stone’s throw from the castle on the pastures of the Roxburghe estate. The show jumping arena sits just in front of the busy sponsor’s tent; directly below the castle creating the most picturesque main arena. Kenneth Rendall’s tracks proved testing throughout the weekend – perhaps most so in the 1* class where only 26% of horses jumped clear. The cross country course consists of mainly flat terrain, however course designers Ian Stark OBE and Angus Smales made great use of the natural undulations to create demanding tracks at all levels. Ian perfectly describes the setting at Floors as “a natural amphitheatre”, and takes inspiration from the history of Floors Castle to create imaginative fences which do truly fit perfectly to the magnificent castle backdrop. One of the most notable fences is the cannons, which are meant to reflect the tale of the King James II’s death, which supposedly occurred due to a cannon backfiring at Floors Castle.
Oliver Townend comfortably topped the Cazenove Capital CIC** Section A riding Tamara-Jane Davis
Arctic Mouse – adding no faults to his dressage score of 41.3. Paul Sims and Fred and Roselle Willis’ Last Secret followed on a score of 44.9 to claim second place with Wills Oakden third riding Cooley Ramiro, who is owned by Katherine Lindsay and Janie Tate. Ian Stark’s stiff 2* cross country course proved to be demanding for the partnerships who set off out the start box – with only 59% crossing the finish line with no jumping faults.
Oliver Townend also claimed first and second honours in the Anderson Strathern CIC* class riding Menlo Park (owned by Serena Vitalini) and Sweeps Crystal Cruise (owned by Rachel Wood) respectively. Menlo Park didn’t move from his impressive dressage score of 36.5 to win by 9 penalties, with Sweeps Crystal Cruise adding 1 show jumping time and 6.4 cross country time faults to his dressage score of 38.1 to finish in second spot.
Wills Oakden also picked up third place in the CIC* class, riding joint organiser Cindy Onslow’s Dremain Star Attraction. Wills and Drewmain Star Attraction posted a dressage score of 45.2 and added only 0.8 time faults to secure bronze honours on a score of 46.0.
Local rider Lucinda Crawford enjoyed an outstanding weekend riding her father Cameron Crawford’s Silver Touch and Ballintoher Harry – which she claimed a win and a third on respectively in the NFU Mutual ONU18 section. Lucinda, who is 16 and a pupil at St George’s School for Girls, picked up the ride on Silver Touch from Caroline Powell in just December of last year however has enjoyed great success even at the early stage of the partnership: being in the ribbons in 7 out of 8 of their affiliated outings together this year. Lucinda gives credit to her school who are flexible and supportive of her eventing career and also to her mother Mary who helps keep the horses fit whilst Lucinda is at school – a true family affair! Lucinda jumped a double clear in the time on both horses; posting a dressage score of 26 on Silver Touch and 31 on Ballintoher Harry. Following her impressive result, Lucinda said “they both jumped perfectly around the beautifully presented novice course at the magnificent Floors Castle and I’m over the moon with how they both performed!”. Lucinda looks ahead to the rest of the season and plans the step up to Intermediate with Silver Touch in the latter stages of 2017.
BE90 sections S and T were both won by Stephanie O’Neil riding her own Monbeg Safari and Good Enough II. Monbeg Safari added 2 time faults to the dressage score of 25.8 to win the Michael Wares Section S and Good Enough II stayed on the dressage score of 27 to top the Justerini & Brooks BE90 Section T. Stephanie said that “Floors is such a fantastic event with a great atmosphere and the organisers continue to take the event from strength to strength”. Stephanie had a busy weekend; with over 20 horses running from her and fiancé Wills Oakden’s yard. Good Enough II is out of the same dam as Ballbreaker SD who was 6th in the CIC** at Floors with Wills – Stephanie has had Good Enough since he was 3 years old, and says that “he’s a lovely little eye catching horse with lots of jump”. Stephanie also speaks highly of Monbeg Safari; saying that she is “really excited about him for the future and hope to contest in some BE100 and 5 year old classes with him now”.
As one of the most prestigious events in the Scottish calendar, competitors and spectators alike look ahead and dream of what the organisers and course designers have to offer at the next international fixture at Floors Castle.
Cazenove Capital CIC** Section A – Oliver Townend (Arctic Mouse)
Strathern CIC* Section B – Oliver Townend (Menlo Park)
Wellocks Open Intermediate Section C – Ben Hobday (Aberllanerch High Tide)
Saffery Champness Novice Section D – Katie Magee (Grand Amour A)
Weatherby’s Private Banking BE90 Section E – Henny Cooper (Peak A Boo II)
Eskdale Shooting BE90 Section F – Emma Nicholson (Strike It Lucky)
Lloyd Group BE90 Section G – Jennifer Pearson (Highlight K)
NFU Mutual Novice U18 Section H – Lucinda Crawford (Silver Touch)
Turcan Connell Novice Section I – Joshua King (Silvercroft Kenny)
Rettie Open Novice Section J – Lorna Riley (VIP IV)
Rathbones BE100U18 Section K – Eilidh Macauley (Casper Z)
WR Patterson BE100 Section L – Kirsty Veitch (Jake XIV)
Kinloch House Hotel BE100 Section M – Amy Aspen (Wise Guy)
Devoucoux BE100 Open Section N – Daisy Cross (Bridgepark Cottage Lady)
NFU BE100 Section O – Emily Parker (Cover Girl Cooley)
Bloomfield Horseboxes BE100 Section P – Wills Oakden (Zuccheros Deff Leppard)
Kelso Racecourse BE100 Section Q – Lauren Webster (Balhagarty Lancelot)
Best Intent BE90 Open Section R – Louise Forty (Loughnatousa Edward)
Michael Wares BE90 Section S – Stephanie O’Neil (Monbeg Safari)
Justerini & Brooks BE90 Section T – Stephanie O’Neil (Good Enough II)
Galedin Veterinary BE90 Section U – Kate Sanderson (Arkmire Mr Slipper)
Photographs courtesy of Dave Cameron