Sarah Wells-Gaston reports …
Nineteen sections of eventing competition were hosted at the recent Homme House fixture, attracting around 500 horse and rider combinations.
Such was demand there were two qualification classes for the five-year-old championships. Section F was won by Mary King and Kings Tilly. The pair finished on the same score as second placed Selina Milnes and Cooley GHS but were given victory. Ben Way and Gun Law were the winners in Section G.
Alexander Whewall took a brace of wins on the first day of competition. He topped Novice Section C with Nitor – a first win at this level for the pair – and BE100 Section H with Meridianway Ramzes Boy – a second win in a row and number five so far this year.
Aimee Penny and PSH Mirror Image also won a second event in a row, topping Novice Section A. The 22-year-old is based at Power Sports Horses.
She told Eventing Worldwide; “It felt great to win with the mare as she had a heavy fall last season and it has taken her a while to get her confidence back but we seem to have got a strong partnership going and hopefully will go from strength to strength together. I don’t have a set plan for her yet as she is obviously still getting her confidence back so we take each run as it comes, but I guess ultimately going to Osberton to do the long format 2* is pencilled in.”
Also racking up another victory was Megan Elphick and Brynithon Silver Locket who topped BE90 Section J. Megan recently graduated from university and is currently enjoying a summer of eventing.
Megan told Eventing Worldwide: “This was only our second run after our fall at Badminton Grassroots so the pair of us are still trying to rebuild confidence. I must say I really didn’t expect to win as we had a disaster in the showjumping where Bear spooked at some tents around the arena and ended up having a stop. With the four faults and the time added we came out with 10 penalties which would normally knock you straight off the leaderboard. Low and behold though, she had scored an amazing dressage of 18 which meant she was still in the lead. A clear inside the time across country left us finishing on 28 and winning the section. Surprised was an understatement, I never in a million years thought I would be that person to win after having so many faults added. However, I’m secretly still a bit annoyed I didn’t finish on a sub 20 score. I’m now enjoying doing some dressage with her whilst I focus on getting my other horses out eventing.”
Two Regional Finals for the BE90 Championships were hosted at the event with Lucy Jowett and Lamboro Sparky topping Section N and Deborah Fisher and Woodline Lady topping Section O.
Lucy and Lamboro Sparky will be heading to the Grassroots Championship for the first time. For Deborah and Woodline Lady it was a third win of the season and provides them with their second visit to the championships having competed at Badminton in 2018.
Piggy French is in unstoppable form this season and her winning streak continued with victory in Open Novice Section D with First Lancer – their third win of the year.
Samantha Brown and Westwood Appeal have not been out of the top two in competition this season, and they won for the third time in a row when taking victory in BE100 Section P. The pair had the lowest winning score of the event; having score 18.5 in the dressage, they added just 0.8 time faults on the cross country to finish on 19.3. It gave them a winning margin of six penalties.
Having a consistent season were the winners of BE100 Open Under 18 Section S. Flora McFarlane and Squire Rebel topped the section for their third win of the year. The 17-year-old started riding Rebs a year ago when her mother gave her the opportunity to ride him. They are now in their second year of competing together and are aiming to step up to Novice by the end of the year.
Flora previously told Eventing Worldwide: “He has the best character and is literally my best friend. Taking the ride on him was the best decision I ever made. Ideally, by the end of the season I would love to step up to Novice and see where Rebel and I can go together. All in all I am feeling very lucky to have such an exciting future ahead of us. I would like to thank my parents who have supported me for the last few years, through the best and very worst of times, especially my mother who dedicates her whole life to making sure I make the most of these opportunities whilst I am lucky enough to have access to them.”
Other section results: Novice Section B Hayden Hanket, Fools in Love; BE100 Plus Section E Claire Deuten, Lord Flashheart; BE100 Section I Alexander Bragg, Hamilton; BE90 Section K Kathryn Harris, Watermill; BE90 Section L Alexandra Moore, Lulu Elle; BE90 Open Section M Stella Bunn, Renkum Capitano; BE100 Section Q Dominic Ruane, In Your Dreams III; BE100 Open Section R Rachel White, V Max.
Images courtesy of Sophie Robins