EVENT REPORTS – Frenchfield (1)

Millie Wain reports

The Cumbria Horse Trials team hosted their first event of the 2019 season at the AW Jenkinson Frenchfield Horse Trials. Frenchfield is located in the heart of Cumbria, and the recent rain had resulted in the going being very good for riders. There were 340 entries across 17 sections, held over the two days of competition, with classes ranging from BE80(T) to Novice. This year, there was a new Novice level cross country course, which was designed by Douglas Weymouth; all of the courses were very well-presented and provided excellent viewing for spectators.

Saturday began with BE90 sections A, B and C. Section A was won by Alice Brickell and Mystery Man. This was their second run of the season, after picking up a 6th place at Forgandenny the previous weekend. The pair led their section from the dressage, where they scored 27.3 and followed this up with a double clear inside the time. This left them 4.5 penalties ahead of second place, which went to Gemma Carson riding T G F Lucy. They were another combination to complete on their dressage score. Third place went to Molly Selby and Tarmon Travis, who also completed on the same score as Gemma. They were in second place after the dressage phase but added 4 faults in the show jumping phase, but a clear cross country round within the optimum time of 4 minutes and 7 seconds was enough to secure 3rd.

Philippa Nixon had a successful weekend at Frenchfield, taking the top spot in two sections: the BE90open section and the Open Novice. There were 12 starting combinations in the Open Novice, and this particular section saw the second best dressage score of the weekend, which was achieved by Philippa and Arctic Cruising. They scored 19.8 in the first phase and jumped a double clear, adding just 0.8 time penalties to complete on an excellent score of 20.6 penalties. This left them 4.7 penalties ahead of second place, which went to Ben Hobday and Mile High, who finished on their dressage score of 25.3. Philippa then went on to win the 90open section with Dunloughan Whirlwind with 27.5 penalties, and came second with Toms Bruce with 28.5 penalties. All four of Philippa’s rides scored sub-30 marks in the dressage phase, and all finished within the top 10. On her Facebook page, Pip Nixon Eventing, she commended the work of the organisers of Frenchfield, as well as the support from her sponsors: “Great event with lovely XC courses as always! Thanks to all the organisers! So lucky to have a lovely bunch of horses this season who all look and feel great thanks to the support from my sponsors!!”

Nicola Wilson had four horses at Frenchfield and had a win, a second place and a sixth place. The win came in BE100 section H with the 7 year old Always Archie, who completed with a score of 25.3 penalties. Nicola has had 5 competitive runs with Always Archie, and has picked up three wins, a 4th and a 5th along the way. Second place in section H was Emma Hobday and Shadow Shannondale; the combination finished on their dressage score of 28.3 penalties. Third place went to Emily Galbraith riding Burnlea Viva La Vida, who had a dressage score of 27.8 and added four penalties to that in the show jumping phase.

There were only 1.5 penalties separating the top 4 placings in section L of the BE80(T). The section was won by Lynsey Taylor and Ocelot, who were one of two combinations to complete on their dressage score in section L. In second place was Chloe Nixon riding Anna II. They were in the lead after the first phase with a dressage score of 28.5 penalties, but added 8 show jumping penalties to that. Nevertheless, the combination posted a clear cross country round in a quick time of 4 minutes and 1 second to finish on a score of 36.5, just 0.2 penalties behind the winner.

The other BE80(T) section was won by Kate Risker and Ballyneety White Lightening. They were in 5th place after the dressage with a score of 32.5 penalties. However, the pair jumped a great double clear to take the win by 3.8 penalties. Ballyneety White Lightening is a 14.2hh gelding and this was his first BE event. In second place was Elicia Race riding Cho Cho Pio, completing on their dressage score of 36.5 penalties. All of the top 7 combinations in this section jumped double clears, but only 5 in the section came home within the optimum time of 4 minutes and 13 seconds. In fact, in the whole of the BE80(T) class, only 27.6% of riders achieved this; the cross country course was influential, but a fair test for its competitors.

Bella Innes Ker took the top spot in Novice section F with the 7 year old gelding Highway II. This was their second win in as many runs and the pair added just 0.4 cross country time penalties to their excellent dressage score of 19.0 penalties. On her Facebook page, Bella Innes Ker Eventing, she posted: “really excited to step him up to Intermediate at his next run. Let’s hope this brilliant start continues”. Second place in the section went to Ben Hobday riding Garcia II, an 8 year old mare, who finished on their dressage score of 20.3 penalties. Ben was riding 5 horses at Frenchfield, and picked up 4 top 10 placings along the way.

The winner of BE90 section P was Brooke Douglas riding her own Castle Ellis Sophie. This was their first win as a combination, having started doing BE last year and picking up some top 10 placings along the way. They completed with a dressage score of 28.3 and added nothing to that. Second place went to Sarah Hislop aboard Hitstar, who achieved the best dressage score in the section of 27.8 penalties, but added 1.2TF time penalties on the cross country course to finish 0.7 penalties off the leader. The show jumping proved to be particularly influential in this section, with just 1 rail separating 3rd-10th.

Rachael Lupton was another multiple rider at Frenchfield, with three horses in the Novice and one in the BE90. She had a good win in Novice section E with the 14.2hh gelding Newlands Sando Hit. They led from the start, being 2.8 penalties ahead of the rest of the section after the dressage phase with a score of 24.5 penalties. The combination followed this up with a double clear, and added 3.6 cross country time penalties to this to complete on 28.1 penalties. In second place was Nicola Wilson riding Levitate, who finished just 0.4 penalties behind the leader. Third place went to Wills Oakden and Macgregors Cooley, who were one of three combinations in the section to complete on their dressage score, which was 33 penalties. Rachael Lupton also came 4th with Shannondale Shagosha.

The final section of the weekend saw 18 combinations tackle the BE100 course. The win went to Kate Broatch riding the 7 year old gelding Trent Red Mexico, who is by Billy Mexico. They added nothing to their dressage score, which gave them their first win as a combination, and took their Foudation Points achieved as a combination up to 99. Douglas Crawford came second in section Q with Sahara Blue, and they were another pair who completed on their starting score; in fact, only 1st and 2nd place managed to do this (as well as a HC combination). Douglas Crawford had a successful time at Frenchfield, finishing on his dressage socre on all of his horses, bar one which he withdrew after the dressage phase. This resulted in him picking up 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th placings in the BE90 and BE100 sections. In section Q, Harriet Graham took third place with Ardagh Exceed. They were the only partnership in the section to achieve a sub-30 dressage score, but added 5.2 time penalties on the cross country to that to complete with a score of 34.7 penalties.

Frenchfield (2) will be taking place later this year in September; Cumbria Horse Trials also runs Warwick Hall, which runs on the 18th and 19th May.

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