Jemma Docherty reports…
It was clear to see why Forgandenny Horse Trials was voted Event of the Year in 2018, as again 2019 did not disappoint and lived up to its reputation of an award-winning event.
Organisers, Douglas and Mandy Edward, along with their vast army of volunteers, organising team and sponsors delivered an excellent well-run friendly event over 2 days.
Basking in glorious Perthshire sunshine the event, now in its 4th year, continues to grow and change taking into consideration the ever-changing sport and continually offering a change to the XC courses. Callum MacDonald’s well-built show jumping track kept all riders and horses on their toes.
The change of direction to the cross-country course this year was received well by all competitors even from the many who decided that the water jump at fence 12 was an optional extra and bypassed it for an error of course.
Saturday was the busiest day, with 10 sections across 90,100 & Novice classes.
Section A the Turcan Connell BE90 was won by Katherine Tullie on Everqueen S finishing on their dressage score of 28.5 followed closely by Gail Mackay on Templebready Boy on 31.5.
Scott McLellan riding his own Daimler II took the win in the PPM sponsored BE90 section B with a dressage score of 28.5. Scott who has previously evented up to 3 * took a break from eventing for a few years to focus on dressage has returned in winning style. Daimler a 10-year-old gelding, having never evented before, proved that Scott has made the right decision to dust off his body protector. Scott said the course was very educational and the pair now have a few more events planned as they hope to return to Forgandenny in July.
The ON U 18 section was won by Emma Webster and The Face of Rome, even with an unlucky pole in the SJ the smart dressage score of 22 kept them ahead of Georgia Buchan and Valentino III.
The Open Novice section sponsored by the Malcolm Group saw 13 riders come forward, this time the dressage and SJ proving to be influential with only 6 clears and the top two combinations producing some very smart dressage tests. The win went to Izzy Bamford and her 15.2hh gelding Geffory. Forgandenny is clearly a lucky event for this combination making this 3 out 3 wins over the past three events.
Shaun Murray and the beautiful mare, Wainthropp, took second place jumping a double clear and finishing on their dressage score of 29.5. Shaun whose business Precision Pumping & Metering LTD (PPM) is one of the main sponsors for the event even returned to the event to turn his hand to commentating for the XC on the Sunday.
After missing out on their first run of the season with Dalkeith being abandoned only 2 weeks ago due to the weather Eilidh Macaulay and Casper Z took the Novice win in a large section adding only 2.8-time faults to their impressive dressage of 22.5. Eilidh also took second place in Section H BE100 on another ride Rockon. Emily Parker and the very consistent Cooley Carneyhaugh took second place with another double clear and a dressage score of 28.5.
The 100open U18 section was well supported with 27 riders coming forward all looking to gain those important qualifying scores ahead of the teams being picked for the Frickley Park championships. The win went to Brook Walker and Shannondale Flight finishing on 27. Roan Grant and the smart Chestnut gelding Caballo Rojo were narrowly beaten by Brook by 0.8 as they completed a nice double clear with a dressage score of 27.8. Roan runs his own clothing business, RGequestrian, also kindly sponsored a section and a xc jump at the event. It is nice to see young riders and businesses also supporting their local horse trials and putting something back into the sport.
Aberdeenshire based riders were out in force this weekend with Katie McLaren and Vistimar taking the win in section I, followed by Badminton bound Sophie Bultitude and her talented gelding Laghey Clover also taking the win in section H.
Sophie was delighted with their first run of the season before the make the long trip down to the grassroots championships next week. Sophie and “Juno” earned their place at Badminton after winning the Scottish 90 championships last year at Blair Castle. Sophie now will concentrate on The Mitsubishi Motors Cup at Badminton as her next goal before making the step up to Novice later in the season.
Sunday saw the 80T riders out in force with 3 sections and around 80 riders coming forward. Recording the best dressage score of the weekend with a very impressive 18.8 was Victoria Gladwyn and Sonnersted. Sonny is a 9yrs old 17.2 Oldenburg gelding by Stedinger out of a Donnerhall mare. With a score of 18.8 it’s no surprise that the combination has just stepped up to Inter I, having qualified Summer Regionals Advanced Medium and Area Festival Prix St George. Vikki said that he had found some of the bigger competitions daunting with the atmosphere so thought that maybe taking him to do some BE would give him more confidence.
The 90 sections were won by Cameron Swales and Machno Showtime this was only their fourth event together and their first of this season. Sharon Thom and Chippendale Vivaldi jumped round double clear with nothing to add to their dressage score of 29.3 to take the win in Section O.
Martin Arnott took the win in Section P with Robert and Lyn McFadzean’s Brookwood Braveheart completing on his dressage score of 25.8. Dressage leader Wills Oakden and RLE Castlecomer Boy sadly rolled a pole SJ to put them into second place on a score of 28. Closely followed by Daniel Scott and Interalia on 29.8.
Martin has recently come back to eventing after a 15-year break, last competing when the Steeplechase and the Roads & Tracks phases were still included! We caught up with Martin to find out on why he made the decision to return to eventing.
What made you return to eventing after 15 years away?
Eventing has always been my first love and only gave it up due to business reasons as I had an owner with 15 showjumpers at the time who wanted me to concentrate on show jumping. Now that I’m my own boss, running Elite Equestrian Services in West Lothian with my partner, I can pursue the eventing dream once more.
Have you noticed any changes in eventing? – The jumps aren’t as scary! The events are a lot more structured now and so much better run. Even at grassroots level there is still a feel that you are at a proper event. I think there is a great passion for the sport especially in Scotland, with a small number of people who put everything into the sport and without them eventing in Scotland wouldn’t be what it is. For that we are all very grateful for their passion and commitment to the sport.
What did you miss the most?
Being able to visit the beautiful estates and locations that normally in an everyday life we wouldn’t even know existed. From the beautiful farm locations of Forgandenny and Kirriemuir horse trials to the amazing estates like Floors Castle. Eventing really is an amazing sport to be part of.
What are your hopes and plans for the rest of the season?
I have a number of different horses both of my own and of owners at all levels. Brookwood Braveheart has the goal of Blair 2* in sight this season and there are a couple of promising youngsters coming through that we would like to qualify for the Scottish Championships at Blair also. The main aim really is for all the horses to grow in confidence and experience to move up the levels.
The final section of the day was the PPM BE100 section Q was won by Daniel Scott on a new ride Hegglelane Houston. Owned by Kirsty McMillan and out of Hollywood, the smart 7-year-old grey mare has come to Daniel to be produced and sold on. Daniel was exceptionally pleased with her first run being a win. Hopefully, they will move up to Novice at Kirriemuir Horse Trials in May. Daniel had a busy weekend with a total of 8 horses running over the two days. He was complimentary of the event and courses saying that they were inviting and encouraging which was perfect for his younger horses. Daniel is heading to Floors Castle next with the more experienced horses to contest his first International Classes since Blair last year.
A special mention has to go to Douglas Edward, the event organiser, as not only did he head up the team to run another successful event, he also found some time away from official duties to give three of his younger horses a run round the 90 and 100 classes on the Sunday. What a hero!