Bryony Skinner reports …
Horseheath Horse Trials took place on a beautifully warm and sunny Easter weekend, running classes ranging from BE80(T) to BE100 and attracting over 500 competitors to the Horseheath racecourse; part of the Thurlow Estate near Cambridge.
Competitors were full of praise for the course designed by Tina Ure and built by David Carpenter. There was a good focus on natural fences using wood sourced from the Thurlow estate and the perfect going was evidence of the hard work put in by the organisers who had been irrigating and aerovating the course after the unseasonably warm weather. The event also has an ideal vantage point from which spectators could see the entire cross country course whilst enjoying the sunshine.
The BE100 section A was won by Claire Dodson, with her jointly owned gelding Second Vision. The pair completed on their dressage score of 26 and a delighted Claire commented:
“We had a wonderful day at Horseheath. It is, along with Little Downham our local event and we love going there as it is such a friendly event and so brilliantly run. Second Vision is jointly owned by myself and Linda Tallett, he is 11yrs old now and 16.1hh. We have owned Dan since 2017 but have had some real up’s and down’s with horse and rider injuries so we were keeping everything crossed for the 2019 season, which has got off to a fantastic start! Our next event is Aston Le Walls and then hopefully Little Downham. We would love to try and qualify at a Regional Final for the Grassroots Competition at Badminton next year. If we don’t manage to achieve this then we will move up to Novice later in the season. I had a fabulous ride at Horseheath and Dan was just lovely, he is bold and loves his XC. The going, thanks to the amazing team at Horseheath was perfect and the course was educational and flowed so well. We had the best time out there and I’m still smiling!“
The BE100 Section C was won by New Zealand rider Caroline Powell with the 6 year old mare Greenacres Special Cavalier, bought in Ireland as a 4 year old. Caroline also came 4th in the BE100 section B and commented on her facebook page:
“Great morning at Horseheath Horse Trials who have provided some AMAZING ground. The hard work that has gone in here is really paying off and I don’t think we’d have found better ground anywhere else in the country!!
Chris Mann’s Greenacres Special Cavalier & Rock Midnight both jumping two double clears to finish 1st & 4th!!”
The BE80 Saffrey Champness Section P winner was Franki Jarvis who was also celebrating her birthday. Finishing on a score of 22.8 with Obi Dazzled.
Franki commented: “Obi belongs to Lisa Rogers and I am very lucky to have the ride! We are aiming to qualify for the BE80 champs if we are fortunate enough! Obi is a really lovely horse, laid back and always tries his hardest! The course was lovely, they had gone to a lot of effort to make the ground good for this extreme weather we are having! And it showed; it was great to ride on. The course was inviting and perfect for the level, although had enough questions to keep it interesting and any problems were spread around the course. Not to mention it was my birthday! And I couldn’t ask for a better birthday present, so I am thrilled and very grateful to my team and lovely owners!”
Australian rider Julia Kershaw won the BE80 Section O with Aubane Sheila, adding just 0.4 x country time penalties to their dressage score of 26. Julia also won best Newcomer as t his was her first UK event.
Julia commented: “Aubane Sheila, otherwise known as Gert and owned by Kay Burtenshaw, is a 9yo Irish sport horse. This was her first ever eventing competition, and I was thrilled with how she handled it all! I am from Western Australia and have come over here to experience the British eventing scene, so it was my first BE event too. The course was absolutely beautiful and dressed to perfection! The ground was lovely, and the jumps were safe and inviting while still posing a few questions, which was perfect for a green horse. Gert shows a lot of potential as an eventer, so we will play everything by ear but all going well we hope to get to BE100 later in the season!”
Jasmine Wilks took the win in the BE100 section E on her own gelding Harestone, in their last run before heading to the Mitsubishi Motors Cup at Badminton. The combination finished 3rd in the Novice at South of England prior to Horseheath and won this section by completing on their dressage score of 23.3. Results which put them in good stead to head to Badminton.
Another combination preparing for the MM Cup at Badminton were the winners of the BE90 section H, Corinne Roberts and her own gelding Fourstar Struck. Corinne said of the horse “He is by Wish upon A Star out of my TB Mare, I bred and backed him. I didn’t have a very good XC run at Isleham and I was very keen for him to have a confident round at Horseheath prior to the Mitsubishi Cup next week. Tina Ure’s XC course was fabulous; it was technical yet inviting. A big thank you to the team at Horseheath for making the day so enjoyable and for the hard work making the ground as good as possible which is always so much appreciated!”
Lisa Maynard competed on her dressage score of 25.8 to take the win in the BE90 section F, riding Cassino Valeroyale. Lisa has recently started riding this mare, to help produce for Kitty Marlow who is 13 years old and currently competing at BE100.
Lisa commented, “ I’m planning on running the mare at Aston 100 and a few more to continue to educate her. The course rode beautifully and was well presented as always with great ground.”
Horseheath will be running their second event of the season in August which will undoubtedly be popular judging by the reactions of the riders who enjoyed competing at the April event. There has also been a request to British Eventing from the organisers to run a Novice class at the April 2020 event which garnered much support from riders who were keen to bring as many horses as possible to the event.
Images courtesy of Eventing Focus