Diana Gilbertson reports …
There was a tinge of sadness in the air at this year’s Hendersyde Park Horse Trials (4th-5th August), as this is the popular Scottish fixture’s last year as an affiliated event. A fitting tribute to the hardworking team at the event was paid on their official Facebook page, thanking both ‘volunteers and competitors for their huge enthusiasm for Hendersyde over the past fifteen years.’ Unaffiliated competitions will still run at this fantastic venue, so all is not lost, but local riders are still concerned about the increasing number of Northern fixtures that have been lost in the recent years. Wills Oakden stressed the need for these competitions to be replaced, pointing out that the loss of Hendersyde added to the ever-growing tally of Novice events to be abandoned on the Northern circuit this year and last.
Nevertheless, a bumper weekend of competition saw the event go out in style, with local riders taking home the spoils across a wide range of classes. Henny Cooper topped BE90 Section B on Louisa Wilson’s Miss Lucky Cavalier, finishing on her dressage score of 27.8, a comfortable 4.2 penalties above second placed Madeleine Bower on Nobleeton, who also finished on her dressage score of 32.0. Henny said of the 9 year old mare, whom she has only been riding for a few months; ‘I think a lot of her and having been well placed in her last three runs, she really deserved this win.’ The horse will now be stepped to BE100. Henny also took home third prize in BE100 Section E, on Hanleen Didjeridoo, a 6 year old gelding that she cites as ‘very talented,’ and who will be aimed at the 6 year old class at Osberton towards the end of the season. Lying second after dressage, an unfortunate pole in the show jumping dropped the combination down to third, behind Ben Hobday – who finished on his dressage score of 27.8 to take home the top prize – and Joshua Wareing, who also added nothing to his 32.3 dressage score.
Julie Lawson came home victorious in Novice Section I, adding just one pole to her dressage score of 22.0, on her own Primitive Faerie mare, Faerlie Flashy. This is an impressive result, given that this horse only stepped up to Novice this year. Second place in this section went to Perth based Wills Oakden, on Greystone Rising Star. Wills was full of praise for David Kenwright’s mare, especially since this was the horse’s first run back following a suspected bruised foot after Burgie in June. The horse will now be aimed at the 1* competition at Blair later this month. Wills also took home 4th and 5th prize in this section; Laura Ritchie-Bland in third on her own Lord Aster prevented him from taking a clean sweep of the prizes.
A relatively small Open Novice Section was won by Louisa Milne Home, on board a horse bought from Vere Phillips last year, by two of Louisa’s most long-standing owners, Valerie Gilmour and Marianne Harper Gow. Louisa remarked that the gelding has been a bit of ‘a work in progress,’ in terms of flat work and show jumping, but praised the horse’s natural ability across country. The 8 year old is now aimed at Blair 1*, and then will move up to Intermediate either this year or next, having jumped himself out of Novice points at Hendersyde. Louisa is optimistic for the horse’s future: ‘He is definitely one that I hope will go on up the graded and will keep improving, which is exciting, as a lot more to come the stronger and older he gets.’
Another horse for whom the future looks very bright is the Intermediate Novice section K winner, Fernhill Inspector, ridden by Wills Oakden. Again, finishing on his dressage score, Wills was thrilled with the 7 year old gelding’s performance ‘She gave me a fantastic ride across country, following a very good clear in the show jumping.’ The horse only recently came to Wills’ yard, having previously ben ridden and produced to this level by Lucy Harley. Work commitments have led to her passing the ride to Will for now, although he was full of praise for the ‘tremendous job’ that she has done on the horse up until this point. Second place in this section went to David Gatherer, riding his own and Sheena Walsh’s Fugley III, adding yet another top ten finish to this mare’s already impressive record, following on from Novice wins at both Forgandenny and Kirriemuir in July, as well as 2nd and 7th at Eglington and Belsay in June. The horse will now contest the Open Intermediate at Dalkeith later this month.
Praise for the strong but well-built cross-country course was universal amongst the riders, as was praise for the friendly and helpful team of organisers and volunteers across the weekend. This wonderful event may now be gone from the British Eventing calendar, but it will certainly never be forgotten.
Other winners: BE 90 Section A: Sean Henderson, Mission Accomplished 2 (26.8), BE90 Section C: Persia Bhatia, Aughnacliffe Gem (30.2), BE80(T) Section D: Jenny Christie, Roxy VIII (37.6), BE100 Section F: Wills Oakden, Furisto Cavalier (31.8), Open U18 Section G: Flora Gaitskell, Equador VI (30.0), BE100 Open Section H: Laura Runciman, Soviet Star (21.5).
Images courtesy of Anne’s Snaps
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