Sarah Carless reports..

Horseheath proves winning venue for Pratt and Wright

This year was the second year Horseheath Horse Trials has been included in the British Eventing calendar. With classes ranging from BE80(T) to BE100 Open, the event attracted more than 500 entries. 22ndApr 17 252resize

James Pratt was a winner at the inaugural Horseheath event in 2016. He repeated that feat this time around, winning BE100 Section A with Churchside Reflection – their final run before they contest the Mitsubishi Motors Cup BE100 Championship next week. They will surely be a combination to watch as they have won three of their four competitions this year. On this occasion, they scored 17.3 in the dressage adding just four penalties for a pole down in the show jumping to finish on 21.3. 

Another repeat winning combination at the event was Martin Wright and Kondennetty Clover, who were the winners in BE90 Section G finishing on their dressage score of 23.0. 

Martin told Eventing Worldwide: “We very much like Horseheath as it appears so does this horse who won the 80 here last August. “Lexi” was bought unseen from an internet advert by my wife Janine four years ago. She is 3/4 ID by Captain Clover and both ultra-careful and extremely spooky. We hope to upgrade to BE100 later this year with the target of Aldon three day but the prospect of a return to Horseheath to attempt a treble rather appeals.” 

Another rider heading to the Mitsubishi Motors Cup winning at Horseheath was Corrine Roberts riding Recession. The pair, who will compete in the BE90 Championship, were winners in BE100 Section B. They led from start to finish, despite a pole down in the show jumping, finishing on a score of 27.8. She commented: “The ground conditions were excellent. The cross country was great fun and rode beautifully.” 

Caroline Smith made it three wins from three this season in taking victory in BE90 Section C with Fenomeen L, adding to their previous wins at Great Witchingham and Poplar Park in BE80(T) classes. 

Ashley Harrison and Aughris Rock were the winning combination in BE80(T) Section L, and is participating in the Wobbleberry Challenge in memory of Hannah Francis. Ashley has owned seven-year-old Rocky for six months. The pair finished on a score of 30.9 – the same score as the second placed rider but won by virtue of being closer to the optimum time on the cross country. 

Ashley told Eventing Worldwide: “Rocky was my trainer’s daughter’s horse and had done a season of BE90 before I got him. I took up jumping when he arrived! I hadn’t jumped since I was in my early 20s as I lost my nerve when pregnant with my first child. Now I’m 50 this year, five kids later and doing BE for the first time in my life. It’s mind blowing, and not just that, actually winning an event is incredible. I signed up to the Wobbleberry Challenge and have raised over £1,000 and now completed my challenge to do a BE80 by the end of this season. I’m not going to stop there though. I intend to carry on and have another two 80s entered. I would love to progress to 90 and give the Badminton Grassroots champs a shot. Rocky will certainly give it a go, he is the most generous horse with the heart of a lion and absolutely loves the job.” 

BE80 Section N winner Andrea Jansen and Carrick Warcraft returned to competitive action at Horseheath for the first time since a fall last summer, which resulted in Andrea taking four months off riding due to a fractured sacrum. Andrea bought Benji as a just-backed four year in December 2015 from his breeder in Ireland. They competed in three events last year before the accident which ruled Andrea out until Christmas. 

She told Eventing Worldwide: “Horseheath was our first event following my accident. To come away with a win is a big confidence boost. My plan is to do another couple of 80s and then move on to 90s for the rest of the season. As for any amateur rider, qualifying for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup would be absolutely amazing, but the standard is so high nowadays that it is very difficult to achieve. I am just delighted to be back in the saddle and out eventing after my injury and will enjoy what I do without too much pressure.” 

Anna Taylor and Irish Encounter have been in fantastic form this season. With two top ten places from two events already this season – ninth at Oasby and second at Norton Disney – they took the win in BE90 Section J. Anna has owned Dolly for two years and she is based with Andrew James. 

Anna told Eventing Worldwide: “Riding during the week is difficult, as I work full time in London, but we are Svery lucky she is a pleasure to do anything with and always gives you her all. She’s known on the yard as ‘perfect Dolly’. Horseheath was our third event together, having had a second at Norton Disney two weeks ago. With Andrew’s help we hope the move up to BE 100 this summer. Since I was small I have always done showing, so it’s fun doing something different.”

Competing in her first affiliated competition was Joanna Grist, and she came away with victory in BE80(T) section M with Kilcatten Bob. 

She commented: “It was the first ever event for both myself and Bob so I’m really pleased with him. It was a fantastic day with lots of support available both with the cross country and show jump course walks but still nerve wracking. I would love to compete at Horseheath again but when I am brave enough I would like to aim for the BE90. Everyone was very helpful.”

On behalf of the family, Tim Vestey commented: “We were delighted to be able to continue and develop our affiliation with British Eventing and, with the help from Tina, David and our sponsorship partners, build a spectacular brand new course for 2017. The feedback from the equestrian community has been overwhelming and we look forward to the August.”

Other section results: BE100 Section C Tamsyn Iveson, Enniscrone Morgan Gold; BE100 Open Jo Chipperfield, Hyde Park III; BE90 Section F Ellie Hayden, Flight Of The Bumblebee II; BE90 Section H Sarah Turner, Carsontown Watercolour; BE90 Section I Rachel Underhill, Zumaya; BE90 Open Section K Lisa Howlett, Knave of Golden Hearts. 

Photographs courtesy of Sally Wright 

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