EVENT REPORTS – Great Witchingham International (2)

Event reports sponsored by Elite Horse Owners 

Sarah Carless reports ..

The second of Great Witchingham’s fixtures once again proved popular as more than 400 riders were attracted to the Norfolk event. 

An in-form Piggy French claimed another international victory in the CIC* taking the win with Cooley Monsoon. It was a second international win for the pairing this year, having one the CIC* at Houghton International Horse Trials on their previous outing, taking their winning tally to four in 2017. 

Pippa Dixon, who also took victory in BE100 Open Section I with Barndarrig Boy, claimed the CIC* runner up spot with Eto O with Gemma Wellings rounding off the top three with Drumaclan Diamond D. 

Aside from the international competition, the weekend had a full list of domestic action with BE classes ranging from BE80(T) up to Advanced Intermediate. 

Great Witchingham also played host to a pilot BE100 Two Day Event for the first time in the British Eventing Calendar. The brain child of the Sayer family, Organisers of Great Witchingham, the competition provided the top 10% of eligible riders with direct qualification to the 2018 Mitsubishi Motors Cup. Whilst there were no Roads and Tracks and Steeplechase phases, the class had an extended cross-country course. The two-day class (Section J) was won by Jasmine Raven and Knockanroe Spirit who finished on their dressage score of 28.6. The pair travelled from Wiltshire for the chance to get their qualification for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup. 

Jasmine told Eventing Worldwide that this is her third season with Ruby and that it finally felt like it was coming together. She commented: “I have been trying to qualify for around five years, and came so close last year. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much luck. This season Ruby has been on top form. We managed to gain a regional qualification early this season, but then had a couple of runs where we had some unfortunate mistakes.  My Mum saw this two-day event and mentioned it to me; I thought it would be a great idea and fun weekend away. We were riding to win and that’s what we did. It was such a friendly and enjoyable event I would do it again. Winning an event is a dream I have always had, but winning an event that qualifies me to Grassroots is a totally different dream altogether. When I finished the cross country I was on tender hooks for about 30 seconds, before they announced I was clear and in the time and we had won the class. Tears of joy were shed as myself, Ruby, Mum, Dad and fiancé Craig have worked so hard for this. I cannot wait to gallop out in front of the Badminton house!

After a second and third in their previous two events, Carrie Eve and Ferdy III made it to the top spot at Great Witchingham, winning BE90 Section N. This is their first season of British Eventing and on this occasion they won on their dressage score of 27.0. Carrie, a teaching assistant, bought Ron six months ago. 

She told Eventing Worldwide: “He was bought as a showjumper but definitely changed to eventing now. He’s had three runs this season and it’s his first season of eventing and has had a second, third and first so he’s definitely proved to be a bit of a star. He’s now having a little break then going to come back at 100 in a couple of months and do some 90 regional finals and hopefully qualify for Badminton. Winning was amazing yesterday, it was my first BE win and it was so nice to know that all the hard work pays off.”

Tom Jackson enjoyed a successful weekend with two wins to his name. One victory came in BE90 Section L2 Open with Patch Ali whilst the second came in the KBIS sponsored Five-Year-Old qualifier with Grafennacht. 

Alex Postolowsky was another rider who came away with two wins, both in Novice classes. In Novice Section B she claimed victory with Cooley By Name, and this was followed with the win in Novice Section C WITH Freya V. 

The Advanced Intermediate (Section G) was dominated by riders longlisted to represent Great Britain at the FEI Young Rider European Championships later this month, in what acted as a final trial prior to selection. The win went to Alex Kennedy and Lissangle Cavaletto B with Sam Ecroyd and Tullaher Sunrise in second and RSH Contend Or in third. These three riders were then announced as members of the Great British team for the Young Rider championships. 

Other section results: Open Novice Section D Lauren Shannon, Glenneagle; Intermediate Section E Willa Newston, Moonlight Dance S; Open Intermediate Section F Andrew James, Lady Donnerhall; BE100 Section  H Caroline Bridge, Eldyno; BE100 PC Section L Alice McLeod Scott, Mo Cuiske; BE90 PC Section L1 Sophie Byford, Handsome; BE100 Plus Section M Ben Westgate, Call To Conquer; BE90 Section O Victoria Bax, Icy Mission; BE80(T) Section P Anita Lenton, My Gleneven. 

Photographs courtesy of Sue Westmoor

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