Rika Nile reports…

Larkhill remained the only British Eventing fixture running over the weekend of 7th-8th and welcomed combinations to tackle BE90, BE100 and Novice courses.

The event organisers put in an exceptional effort to keep to event running over the two days, which didn’t go unnoticed with social media being full of praise for Holly Farr and her team after the event.

With so many events being cancelled Grassroots riders heading to Badminton for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup were in need of a run, meaning several were seen at the event. This was the case for Badminton

07. April. 2018. Larkhill Horse Trials, Larkhill .

bound Michelle Northmore, whose last minute entry and three hour journey paid off after winning BE90 section I with Fairways Lord Of The Ring. Michelle and her homebred gelding qualified for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup at Dauntsey Park last September, however after five abandoned events, getting a run in beforehand was dubious. “I was a bit worried that me might not get in a run before Badminton but luckily we have, and will hopefully Moreton and Bicton which is my local event”, commented Michelle, who owns a jewellers shop to pay for the running if the horses and is helped out by her parents on the yard. “We live near Newton Ferrers in Devon, so it was over a three hour drive to get to Larkhill, but the event was so well organised and the going was perfect. Holly and her team deserve a huge pat on the back. “I can’t wait for Badminton, and I want to enjoy the experience. They have released the course photos and it looks amazing with lots of questions,” added Michelle, who hopes to qualify again next year.

Another section winner who is also heading for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup, is Lauren Collard, who took BE90 section J with Orions Brite Spark. Lauren and the 18-year-old gelding, known as Ryan at home, are no strangers to competing at Badminton as they make it their fifth time this year, after qualifying at Pontispool. Lauren said: “Our preparation hasn’t been great due to the weather, my first two events were cancelled which meant Larkhill was our first event of the year. “Ryan was a bit on his toes when I got on for dressage, but he settled down and pulled out a really nice test in a high marking section, and we managed a confident clear round in the show jumping,” which Lauren put down to a winter of competing in British Showjumping. “He hasn’t really seen any cross country yet this year, other than in an arena, so he was quite excited warming up, but luckily settled down as we went out of the start box and ate up the cross country, loving every minute of it,” Lauren finished. 14-year-old Emma Jowett continued to strengthen her partnership with the grey gelding Strike A Pose, who she started riding in November last year, with a win in BE100open section G. The Wilton Pony Club member commented: “I’m very excited to win as I haven’t had him for very long and this is only my second event on him. I’m very grateful to have the ride from his owner Holly Needham, and my aim for this season with him is to do a 1* at the end of the year. “Through the winter I’ve had training with Anne Keen for dressage, and with Emily Lee for showjumping and cross country. We were really lucky to be able to go cross country schooling on grass before the rain at Tweseldown in preparation, and we also ran in the 100U18 at Aldon in pouring snow. It was our first event of the season so he was rather lively before the dressage! But we did a double clear and came fifth,” Emma added, also thanking the regional U18 scheme who have provided lots of useful training for the combination.

Christina Wiederkehr had a surprise win in Novice section B with Natascha Ryder’s quirky gelding, DG Canta, after adding only 0.4 time penalties to their 28 dressage. “We have worked a lot on his rideability in the show jumping ring and we came here to see how he would go, with no expectations. I went cross country without knowing my dressage score and let him go at the pace I felt he was comfortable and safe at, which happened to be pretty much the right timing, so finding ourselves on the top of the leader board was almost a surprise,” Christina said. “I’m most thrilled for his owner, Natascha, who lives just up the road from me and keeps DG at home. She spends a lot of time driving DG to mine for schooling and training, and plays a crucial part in looking after him. She puts a huge amount of time and energy in to help our partnership to develop. “For me, this win is a real encouragement. I had not intended to get back to eventing after I suffered a pretty serious fall in 2014 after a short stint at riding at 3*/Advanced,” Christina mentioned, adding that she took part in affiliated dressage in the interim, but is now looking to build up a string of event horses to work back up the grades with.“It was great to get a run at Larkhill. The going was incredible considering the weather we have had. The course is very flowing with enough questions, being very inviting at BE100. I only got a big E with my second horse as I accidentally jumped a couple of Novice fences – I was obviously inspired from my round with DG in the morning!” Christina finished.

Other section winners: Novice section A: Tim Cheffings – Finesse Aspida RS Novice section C: Kitty King – Cristal Fontaine Novice section D: Charlotte Faulkner – San Romano BE100 section E: William Fox-Pitt – Grafennacht BE100 section F: Holly Woodhead – Emotion II BE90 section H: Nathalie George – A Little Unbelievable BE90 section K: Jill Holt – Silk Suds BE90open section L: Tiana Coudray – Hanna BE100 section M: Antoinette McKeowen – Good Day Du Vlist BE100 section N: Georgie Spence – Diamond Bounce BE100 section O: Dan Jocelyn – Florencina R

Photographs courtesy of Phil J Photos

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