Bryony Skinner reports..

Riders enjoy prize winning weekend at Horseheath

After a disappointingly wet start to the season, over 600 competitors were delighted to be taking part in the first of the season’s two Horse Trials to take place at Horseheath in Cambridgeshire.

Over the weekend of 21/22 April 2018, competitors took in BE80, 90 and 100 classes and as well as usual prizes, the event generously presented highest placed newcomers rosettes in all sections to people who were doing their first BE.

The course was designed by BE Course Designer Tina Ure, a British Eventing Accredited Coach and a member of the Eastern Regional U18 Coaching Team, who designed the course with “the focus being on building more fences, to allow there to be a significant number of new jumping questions.”  Spectators had a fantastic view across the course and riders praised the friendly and supportive atmosphere at the event.

The Saffrey Champness BE80 Section M was won by Robbie Bell, just 12 years old, with his pony Liscannor Prince, finishing on their dressage score of 34. This is his second win of the season securing Poplar Park BE80 also in his first ever season BE. Robbie’s best part of the day was “going clear cross country in the time”.

Another young competitor to win in the BE80 (T) class (Section O) was 12 year old Poppy Proietti, on her young pony Derroe Sprinter, 7 years old.  She had a 28.8 dressage and was so pleased to go round the show jumping clear. Poppy competed at BE level last year and had a stop nearly every time, and used the year to ‘character build’ together, but after having some fantastic training with Tina Ure, Sarah Gairdner and Michael Paveley, which was really helpful and highly recommended, they are looking forward to a great year, starting with a clear win at Horseheath.

Sara Horrell was the winner of the BE80 Section P, adding only 4 time penalties to a dressage score of 32 on her own Agahranny Drifter.  Sara commented: “Agahranny Drifter aka Seamus is a 7 year old dun Connemara and that was our first BE together (after just a couple XC trainings). I was initially riding him for a client but totally fell in love with him – and realised how talented he was so have been lucky enough to buy him. I look forward having some fun with his this season and will be taking him up to 90 next event and all being well later this season he should do 100s. He is a total dude! 

The course rode very well, I initially thought it would be slippy after the torrential down pour but we didn’t slip at all. It was an inviting course with a few questions, which was just perfect for Seamus’ first event. All the organisers and volunteers were so friendly and well organised. A really lovely event to go to!”

Wobbleberry Debbie Baird from Wokingham came 9th in the BE80 (T) Section P, on her horse, Gomez The Goblin, and as a result won a lesson with Andrew Hoy for being the highest placed Wobbleberry thanks to Eventful Life. Debbie’s best part of the day was, “going through the finishing flag cross country” and complimented the event, saying that it was “well organised.”

Harry Horton won the BE90 section G, completing on his 25.5 dressage score.  He commented on his facebook page: “Finally, after a very long wait due to weather related setbacks we started the event season this weekend at Horseheath Horse Trials. Helene Braeckman’s Alvescot Wannabe kicked her season off with a pleasing test and a good double clear to get going with! She was especially pleased to be back out somewhere with jumps! Then Gemma Evers’ Darc Silver kicked off his Eventing career with a WIN he led from start to finish adding nothing to his impressive dressage score of 25.5. Really excited to see what the rest of the season holds for these two!!”

Rosie Hull won BE90 section H on Master Comic (Dennis) coming inside the optimum time x country despite being stopped on course. She also came third on Auld Flame in section E.  Rosie commented: “I ride Master Comic (Dennis) for my godmother who bought him from Ireland as an unbroken hairy cob. He did his first ever event at Horseheath in August last year and he won that too! He is a horse that just keeps getting better, when he did his first 80 here last year I thought that was a big ask and then he won! He finished with a 90 last year and has just come out bouncing this season, being placed in his first 2 and now winning! He is a cob and it’s all about having fun so we’ll stick to 90’s for now but who knows what the future holds!  I bought 2 Irish horses from a dealer last year and one went lame so I took it back to the dealer to swap, Auld Flame wasn’t really what I was looking for but she was my only option so home she came and we haven’t looked back! She is a fantastic hunter and spent the winter doing plenty of hunting before starting her Eventing career this season, she is the easiest horse but talented with it. She will probably move up to 100 later in the season but we’re in no rush as she’s not even had her 5th birthday yet!

Horseheath is my most local event and I think it is really lovely, viewing is fab, the courses always ride nicely, everyone is super friendly and helpful and they work hard on the going. Thank you Horseheath.”

BE90 section F was won by Fern Wilson, riding Killea Colours. Fern added 4 SJ penalties to a fantastic dressage score of 24.5 and commented to Eventing Worldwide: “Killea Colours (Charlie to his friends) is a 15hh piebald 14year old. I’ve had him 6 and half years and produced him myself. He is a complete turbo cob and loves his job!! I’m off to the Mitsubishi Motors Cup grassroots at Badminton next week to do the 90 and very excited. It’s been tough getting him fit being a full time vet but think we are ready. The course rode lovely, I love how inviting it is but also bold and lots of questions. Horseheath is always a lovely event to attend – everyone is so welcoming and friendly.”

The NFU BE90Open – Section L was won by 14 year old Cecily Hopkins from Riseley, Bedfordshire, it was her first ever BE and she accidently entered herself into the open class. She went to Horseheath to have a new experience and with no expectations, just to enjoy herself. She surpassed her expectations with a dressage score of 24.  A double clear within the time meant she won the section on her 14’1hh pony, Landis Black Pepper, as well as winning Highest Placed Newcomer.  An excellent result to the pair who have done lots of Pony Club together. 

Corrine Roberts from Takely had a successful weekend, winning both the PwC BE100 Section A on Recession (dressage 25.3), and the PwC BE100 Section B on her homebred Fourstar Buck.  Corinne said “It was Buck’s first BE100 and riding him cross country was fantastic. To feel his confidence grow as he went round the course was very special!”   Corrine returned on Sunday and narrowly missed a hat trick to bag a 2nd on Four Star Struck, also a homebred 7 year old by Wish Upon a Star.

Other winners:

BE80(T) section N – Hannah Pearl, Alanis van der Sar; BE90 section I – Avril Verhagen, Silver Ridge; BE90 section J – Emily Leslie, Welton Spirit; BE90 section K – Victoria Linfield, Jokers Promise; BE100 section C – Mollie Harris, Bannview Black Bess; BE100 Open Section D – Phili Williams, Simply Tango; BE100 Open Section E – Ben Westgate, Call to Conquer

Photographs courtesy of Sue Westmoor

Should you have any queries regarding EWW images please email jess@eventingworldwide.com


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