Bryonny Skinner reports ….

A mere 7 weeks after Keysoe’s first event was abandoned due to rain, the second calendar fixture proved quite the opposite, taking place over a weekend of bright sunshine.  Over 490 competitors took part, praising the effort that organisers had put into the going on the cross-country course, design headed by, 4* international event rider, Angus Smales and built and prepared by Dominic Moore’s  Jump 1 team.  The fact that two of the phases take place on a surface at Keysoe is a huge draw for competitors at this time of year when ground conditions prove difficult for all.

The BE80(T) section O was won by Serena Allery on her own gelding, Pocket of Silver, finishing on their dressage score of 28.5.  Serena commented:

“Silver is an ISH and we’ve just started eventing this year. When I got him in June 2017 he’d never done any schooling in his life, so it has taken a lot of work to bring his dressage on. He’d been too much to handle for the two children who had owned him since he came over from Ireland, and he’s been quite a challenge as he’s very excitable. He had hunted in Ireland but the difficulty has been to train him to go alone XC. The XC course rode very nicely, with many questions that you would find at a BE90 scaled down to the lower height and made simpler with more strides in between. There were several points on the course where you could move on and take a jump in a forward canter, despite his lack of experience. The course was flowing, and with good hedges or string which helped him not to nap. This is only our second BE80, although we have done two unaffiliated ODE’s since Horseheath, where he was 24th. Our hope is to compete at more BE80’s this year, as well as competing for our Riding Club – Cambridge and District.”

Jess McLeod took the win in the BE90 section H, completing on a very good score of 

26.3.  Jess was riding her own 14.2hh gelding, Rhydant Duffy, a pony she has produced herself and competed at Badminton Grassroots earlier this year.  

Jess said “I’ve produced Rhydant Duffy myself and this is his 4th win this season! The courses rode amazingly, the team at Keysoe did a great job with the ground. My plans for the rest of the season is to go back up to 100s with him and try to qualify for the MMC at Badminton again.”

The BE90 section I was hotly contested with very good dressage scores.  Joe Benham came first completing on his dressage score of 22.5.  Joe commented:

“I have had Van Helsings Pride for 4 years, after buying him as a just backed 5 year old.  In June last year he picked up an injury that despite X rays scans and MRIs couldn’t be diagnosed. So he had a 6 month holiday out in the field and Keysoe was his first BE event since. To say I am over the moon and proud would be an understatement. I really enjoy competing at Keysoe, and this weekend was no exception. The show jumping was up to height and thought provoking. I feel the XC was great fun, and required lots of concentration and had tests of straightness throughout. I am planning to go to Eridge at the end of July, and Munstead in September. Unfortunately I haven’t got any plans as yet for August but I will find something! Like a lot of people I am aiming for Badminton grass roots.”

Cheryl Chamberlain and Salamanca won the BE90 section K after adding no faults to their dressage score of 31.5.  Cheryl travelled from the New Forest to compete at Keysoe and fortunately it paid off!  She commented: “We love Keysoe and treat it as a mini weekend break staying overnight as we are based in the New Forest. Salamanca (Leica stable name) is my Ginger dude and whilst I feel more to come in the dressage as she got a little tense she jumped her socks off for me. We like Keysoe as it seems a real jumping event with a great standard showjumping course on fabulous surface and lovely flowing cross-country on good ground with a number of questions. Very proud of my girl for pulling off a win and we’ll see if we can translate that into a Mitsubishi Motors Cup qualification for Badminton 2019 (fingers crossed) and plenty to work on. Leica herself is a joy to work with who tries her hardest for you all the time but is really more interested in dinner and like me puts weight on a little too easy so we have to manage both our diets. I should also say none of this would be possible without the support of my husband Neil, expert advice, warm up and support so appreciated.”

Finishing just 0.2 faults ahead of the second place combination, Alyson Parker took first place in the BE90 section L on her 23 year old gelding Moloko.  Alyson said: “Mo is a fabulous Irish horse, he was my son’s PC horse. He’s been to Badminton Grassroots twice with me and says he doesn’t want to retire! Keysoe was fantastic as usual with two phases on a surface and well prepared XC course I had no qualms about running my old boy round in spite of the drought! I was delighted to win and amazingly we have three RF qualifications!! We all love Mo.”

Claire Al-redha came second to Alyson in the BE90 section L on Crofts Hill Serene and also took first place in the BE100 section F, on her own Legrande; adding only 0.4 time penalties to her dressage score of 27.8.  Claire commented: 

“I have owned Legrande since he was 8 months old. He was bought from Germany and came over as a yearling. Legrande has competed successfully in dressage up to Advanced, showjumped up to 1.40m and started his eventing career last season. He is now 15 years old and my plan is to get him round a few 1* this season. He has all the talent and heart in the world and has really taken to the change of career very well. One of his homebred son’s (Lynaire 24 carat) was also competing on the Saturday at Keysoe in the BE90 and finished 7th in only his 2nd ever event so father and son had a good day out!  The xc course road very nicely as far as I’m concerned, the ground conditions where managed very well with all the dry hot weather. There were a few good questions along the course then some nice open spaces to breath, so for young and inexperienced horses I found it smooth and inviting. I had 6 out of 6 xc clears so must have done something right!”

The Novice section A was won by Ben Way, riding Hullabaloo I and completing on a score of 28.3 after adding 0.8 x-country time faults to their dressage score. Ben had a busy weekend at the event along with his wife Sarah who both had rides in Friday’s Burghley Young Event Horse Qualifiers, along with Ben’s four horses competing in Saturday’s Novice and BE100 classes.  Ben commented: “It was a really good, well presented and flowing course, there could have maybe done with an alternative here or there but it rode well.  It was a great run for Hullabaloo to pick up the win in the Novice”.

The Novice section C was won Noah Brook and So Chic Des Costieres, a horse relatively new to eventing, completing on their dressage score of 28.5.  Noah commented:

“I own him with David and Katie Carr, he previously did dressage as a youngster. His owner at the time asked me to start jumping him to spice up his life and he took to it like a duck to water.  We did a couple of events last year, and we bought him at the end of the season. His Greenness show jumping showed in the ring to start but over the winter he’s really come into his own. He has endless amounts of talent and such a cheeky chap personality! He hugely reminds me of a horse I took to Le Lion world champs back in 2015.
The course rode lovely, a few low trees kept us on our toes but Chicco locks on and takes everything in his stride. Bold and a few questions but overall it was a good confidence giver for Chicco! The team at Keysoe had worked very hard to keep the ground decent so the going was ok.
Hopefully Chicco will carry on up the levels, we will stay at novice for him to gain experience and confidence and we aim to compete in a 1* and an intermediate before the end of the year. We are really excited about him going forward. He’s mega”

The ON section D was won by Lucy Bullas and the 17hh gelding, Master Jack III, a horse she has produced from a 5 year old. Lucy said: “Master jack III has evented upto advanced, however now he is out of intermediate points he just isn’t competitive as he’s not the fastest and we have never made intermediate time! So that along with having developed uveitis in his left eye and being 17 now lead me to make the decision to stick to ON and IN classes as of last year. Having never had a win above 100 level he won a good proportion of his events last year. He definitely hasn’t been straight forward and wouldn’t be most people’s choice of ride but I wouldn’t change him for the world he has a heart of gold and just wants to please you. He just seems to be getting better with age. Keysoe had done an excellent job with the ground considering the lack of rain we have had and the course rode really well despite causing some problems. My plan for the rest of the season is to just stick to ON and IN he will most likely head to Buckminster next and then Frickley.”

The next three day fixture will take place at Keysoe on 24th – 26th August with Devoucoux as new title sponsor.  This fixture will also play host to the final round of the Devoucoux BE80 Eastern Region League.

Images courtesy of Stacey Smalley

For all image enquiries please contact jess@eventingworldwide.com

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