Millie Wain reports ….
It was fantastic to see over 450 horses run at Larkhill Horse Trials from 10th-11th April as eventing resumed following the ease of restrictions. There were classes ranging from BE90 to Novice, with courses being presented beautifully to give confidence to competitors, many of whom were having their first runs of the season.
Vicky Tuffs had a successful weekend at Larkhill, winning with both of her rides on impressive scores. In BE100 section B, Vicky was riding Kogola. The combination was one of six in the section to score a sub-30 dressage, but they led by over 6 marks with a score of 20.8 penalties. This gave them a significant lead which they held onto, adding just 0.4 time penalties on the cross country to secure the win. Vicky’s next win of the weekend came aboard Jasper in Novice section F. Again, the combination led the dressage and were the only ones to add nothing to their first phase score to take the win by nearly 8 penalties. Second place in section F went to Ellie Barnard riding Templar Esprit and in third place was Antoinette Mckeowen with Secret Affair.
The winner of BE90 section J1 was Kate Oppenheimer riding her own 10-year-old SOS Sealpoint. The pair added nothing to their dressage score of 25.3 penalties. Their win builds on a successful 2020 season where they picked up two wins. Eventing Worldwide spoke to Kate after her win with SOS Sealpoint:
“I was so pleased to take the win at the weekend. I wasn’t expecting to have such a good result after so long away from competing but Moosey (SOS Sealpoint) was such a pro. She was very excited before the dressage but she settled and tried hard. In the jumping phases she really took me round and was an absolute pleasure to ride.”
Kate bought Moosey in 2015 as a 4-year-old and since has produced the mare herself. The pair compete at both BD and BE. Kate told Eventing Worldwide how her aim has always been to go to the Badminton Grassroots Championships; they had qualified for the 2020 final which would have been their first time there but sadly, it wasn’t meant to be.
“She’s got the loveliest nature and really tries hard for me. I’m a small animal vet and Moosey is based at my mum’s yard Headmore Stud. My mum and sister are really supportive of Moosey and I and we wouldn’t be where we are without them. Our aim this year is to try and re-qualify for Badminton in the hope we can compete there in 2022”.
Alice James and Nagana Cool Calypso were the winners in BE100 section K, completing on a score of 23.8 penalties. This was their second run of the season, having competed at Tweseldown the week prior to Larkhill, and was their first win as a combination. In second place was Dickon Reader with Shannondale Varsity on 27.8 penalties and David Doel completed the top three riding Fernhill Trend Setter with a score of 30.3 penalties.
There was one BE100open section running at Larkhill and the winner was Amy Barlow with the 8-year-old Igel. Being a new combination for 2021, this was their second event together, having picked up a second place at Portman last week. They added nothing to their first phase score of 21.3 penalties, taking the win ahead of Georgie Spence and Johnnie Walker Van De Suydersee in second place on a score of 25 penalties. The BE100open section was competitive, with 27 of the 34 finishers going double clear. Eventing Worldwide spoke to Amy after her win:
“It was great to have a win and even more exciting because Igel is a new ride for me and only our second event together. He is owned by a lovely syndicate of owners called the Portman Ladies syndicate. He is such a sweet horse with hopefully a big future. Our aim is to get to a 2*s mid-season and hopefully 2* long all being well.”
The winner of BE90 section I was Maisie Randel riding the 14.2hh mare Portmead Ballerina. This will be their second season as a combination, and they certainly started how they mean to go on, posting a great dressage score of 23.5 penalties and two clear jumping rounds. The pair had no time to spare going out onto the cross-country course, but they jumped a good clear round to finish nearly 2 penalties ahead of second place, which went to Sarah Gairdner and PJ Piccolo Overwig with 23.8 penalties. Caroline Ellis finished third riding Merry Dancer on 25.8 penalties.
Maisie said: “It was amazing to win and a great way to start the season with Bracken (Portmead Ballerina). I started riding Bracken 18 months ago when her owners Kate Odey and Charlotte Chard (Portmead Ponies) asked me if I would like to take her eventing for them. We did some 90s last season and a couple of 100s at the end of the season. She is quite a feisty mare and loves the jumping but isn’t so keen on the dressage but we have worked hard over the winter with the flatwork so I was really happy with her test and 23.5 is the best we have ever scored. We will now go back up to 100 level and then aim to do some novice and PT’s in the second half of the season.”
Leah Hayden won BE90Ou18 with Ballygriffin Kiss The Girls. They were one of three combinations to score lower than 30 penalties in the dressage; they added nothing to their first phase score of 29.8 penalties to take the top spot ahead of Molly Rattue and Jones VDL in second place, who also added nothing to their dressage score.
Alicia Hawker had a busy weekend at Larkhill with 8 rides and picking up 4 top 10 placings, including a win in BE100 section M with Judy Raines’ 6-year-old Hazy Dream. The combination was in second place after the first phase behind Flora Harris riding Dysart Elite, but they added nothing to their dressage score of 26.8 in their first run of the season. Flora Harris lowered one pole in the show jumping after a 24.5 dressage, but a clear cross country round put them in second place. Third place went to Dickon Reader with Button Bay on a socre of 29 penalties.

Images courtesy of TB Photography 

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