Ruth Orrell Stokes reports..
Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International Horse Trials is situated in the beautiful grounds of Houghton Hall Norfolk. It was a great success for both spectators, competitors and over 700 horses that competed at the event. Houghton Hall, built in the 1720’s remains one of England’s finest Palladian houses, which Muskateer Events is fortunate to use as a venue each year for this superb event. This year saw the event run its 11th year of International competitions after receiving International status in 2007. Houghton Horse Trials was leg three of the Tri Star Eventing Grand Slam. The Grand Slam offers a prize fund of £50,000 to any rider who can win three of the four CIC3* events. The events are Burnham Market, Belton International, Houghton International and Burnham International Horse Trials. Leg 1 at Burnham was abandoned due to heavy rain and Jonty Evens took the win at Belton International in leg 2. Jonty did not complete in the CICO*** at Houghton, which meant the winning rider of the class had the opportunity to compete for the Grand Slam.
The German team won the Nations Cup competing in the only British leg of the series at Houghton International. The five nations that competed for the title were Britain, Ireland, Germany, United States, New Zealand and Sweden. The win makes it a fourth consecutive win for the German team in the Nations cup at Houghton. The next leg of the series is at Strzegom (POL) on 24-26 June 2018. The German team consisted of Peter Thomsen, Josephine Schnauffer, Josefa Sommer and Bettina Hoy.
Laura Collett and Mr Bass took the number one spot in the CICO***. The combination finished on their dressage score of 26.32 not picking up any time penalties in the XC. Mr Bass is a 10 year old gelding, co-owned by Laura Collet, Nick How and Keith Scott. Laura and Mr Bass have now competed in three CIC *** competitions this season (Belton, Chatsworth and Houghton) being in the top ten for each. She had another two rides in the CICO***, Dacapo coming 6th completing on 30.9 adding two penalties from the XC and Billy Bounce finishing on his dressage score of 31.4 for 7th. Laura said she was a ‘little bit lost for words … feeling like one very lucky girl. Mr Bass was foot perfect to WIN the CICO***’. Laura is aiming to compete Mr Bass at Luhmuhlen, one of the six four star events in the world on the 14th June 2018.
The winner of the CCI** was Thomas Carlile riding Upsilon, representing France. Prior to Houghton International Upsilons’ last recorded British competition was Barbury International where he won the CIC *** Event Riders Masters. Upsilons’ break in eventing was due to sustaining an injury last year at the European Championship in Strzegom. Alongside Thomas, the British riders dominated the leader board achieving eight of the top ten placings. Piggy French and Graf Cavalier came 2nd on their dressage score of 29.4, 0.2 penalties behind the winner Thomas. Piggy said ‘Both horses are inexperienced at the level so I’m delighted with how they’ve stepped up to be so competitive this week. Lots to look forward to for the rest of the season with both of them – hopefully no Upsilon next time!’
And in third place we saw Gemma Tattersall riding Chilli Knight an 8 year gelding by William Fox-Pitts’ Rio Olympic horse, Chilli Morning.
Despite Bubby Upton holding the top placing on the NAF CCIYR** score board after the dressage and XC, she unfortunately lost the place after 4 faults in the show jumping on Cola III. The win went Yasmin Ingham on Rehy DJ to complete on their dressage score of 32.8. Rehy DJ is competing in his second season with Yasmin. Last year being placed 5th in the CIC Young Horse ** at Osberston International & Young Horse Championships. Yasmin posted on Facebook after the win ‘I did NOT think I would be writing this… but PIGLET AND I ARE U21 BRITISH CHAMPIONS, I honestly couldn’t wish for a better horse to be sat on, winning his first CCI2* at 8 years old and maintaining his 100% clear show jumping record today. I could not be prouder of this incredible horse’.
Dark Schrade riding Dajara 4 for Germany won the CCI*. The combination completed a lovely dressage test to achieve 24.6. They did not pick up any further penalties in the XC or show jumping to finish 3.5 points in the lead. A new mare for Dark this season is on a consistent run. Rolling a pole at each event she came 3rd with 31.7 at Sopot and 7th with 33.1 Marbach. Houghton was her first double clear to complete on her sub 30 dressage score. Dajora 4, a 7 year old bay Holsteiner owned by Jeanette Von Schiller, shows lots of potential for the future. Jesse Campbell from New Zealand with Diachello II retained 2nd after the XC with a score of 28.1 adding just 1 penalty from the show jumping. Jesse posted ‘So incredibly proud of my beautiful horses this weekend at Houghton, they tried so hard for me. Amsterdam was brilliant in the CIC*** to finish 2nd and Diachello was 2nd in the CCI*, in his first big party.’
The event did not fail to meet the expectation of competitors and spectators. Musketeer events directed by Alec Lochore maintained the high standards from previous years. Their next event will be Cholmondeley Castle Horse Trials on the 28-29 July 2018. Levels starting at BE90 to Intermiediate including a U21 and open sections.
Photographs courtesy of Sue Westmoor
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