Rika Nile reports …
South-West eventers headed to the Cornish border for Launceston Horse Trials on 22nd July. In its sixth year of running, organiser Andy Reeve continues to take the event from strength to strength with the help of his team and Cross Country course designer Lucy McCarthy.
The event attracted both professionals and amateurs alike, with some of the regions most prolific names coming forward to tackle BE80(T), BE90 and BE100 courses, including BE100open section G winner Padraig McCarthy.
The Bleekman sisters had a successful weekend, with Janou taking the top honours in BE90open section C with new ride and BE first-timer Jannimesa Jewel. The combination finished on 33.3, after adding time to their 28.5 dressage, which was still good enough to hold off competition from Bex Vinton (Cassis) and Sarah Byrne (Russett Gold II) who took 2nd and 3rd respectively.
“She is owned by Gillian Gorvel who lives in Guernsey as did Jewel. Our Mum Clissy does some teaching in Jersey, and Gillian got in touch through a mutual friend as she wanted Jewel to compete and event,” Janou said.
“She’s a lovely mare and has done quite a lot of showjumping. She was very good at Launceston and tried really hard in the dressage, and jumped a lovely clear showjumping. I wasn’t sure what she’d be like cross country because I only rode her over our XC fences at home. But she popped out of the start box like she was a seasoned pro and was fantastic everywhere. I was really pleased with her for a BE debut as was Gillian, for her to then win the section was fantastic!” Janou finished.
Not to be outdone by her younger sister, Althea Bleekman also came away from the event with a top placing, after claiming 2nd BE100open section G riding Granncord. Althea and the homebred son of Grannex remained on their 28.5 dressage to finish behind Padraig McCarthy and Ajax H Z.
BE90 section A was won by Michelle Northmore and Fairways Lord Of The Rings, who firmly built on their successful from earlier in the season. Last time Eventing Worldwide spoke to Michelle, the combination were in preparation for the BE90 Mitsubishi Motors Cup Championships, in which they secured 19th place out of 120 competitors.
“Badminton was a great experience, the organisers treated us like 4* eventers. The first day was hot sunshine but unfortunately my test was on the second day, after torrential rain and being one of last ones to run we did it in a bog of an arena, but that’s eventing for you!
“In the showjumping there was more mud, and a pole due to the fact he was looking at all the crowds! But he ate up the XC track and loves mud so it was perfect him, in fact we qualified at Dauntsey in similar conditions. He was faultless and came in under the time with plenty of run left in him. The 4 faults cost him 6th place but 19th was amazing with a beautiful rosette and prize money. I had two wishes, one to complete the event and one to come in the top 50 and we achieved both,” Michelle explained.
“Launceston was the icing on the cake in preparation of our Pontispool regional final, to have the best dressage of the day and a good win. The organisers did a really great job of watering the course and it was a friendly, well run event. It is also our most local one, not so much traveling but still a 5am start!” Michelle added.
Sue Proudfoot and her own Drayford Charisma collected their first BE win together after posting an impressive 23.8 dressage mark on their first attempt at a BE event. Finishing in the top spot in BE90 section C, Sue commented:
“I am thrilled with this win at our first BE event, and that my sensitive talented horse Drayford Charisma has the recognition she deserves. This win was a complete surprise to us as we only entered this BE competition on a day ticket last minute as we were unable to compete at the same venue in an unaffiliated riding club competition in August due to work commitments.
“I was watching the results coming in on real time on a big screen in the marquee, so although we narrowly led on our dressage score of 23.8 and were put into first place with a double clear, we dropped down to second place while xc times were checked, after which we were put back into first. It was a real roller coaster of emotions waiting for confirmed results and just shows how close and exciting BE eventing is!”
Sarah Davey and Well Deserved were another combination to collect a first BE win. They topped the BE100 section F leaderboard after finishing on their 27 dressage.
Jasmine Bigg and Galando picked up their third consecutive win of the season in BE80(T) section E, after recently collecting 1st place at both Treborough and Pontispool.
Jasmine has juggled Eventing this season with being a Mum, and running a Breaking and Schooling yard with her partner, and their groom Sammi in Winkleigh, Devon.
“It’s rare we have horses stay past basic competition level. We have managed to retain Galando for myself to enjoy this season and get me back into eventing after 3 years out having 2 children.
“The win has showed me that he is a horse of a lifetime, due to having the children I have become a bit of a nervous wreck and struggled to get myself out eventing but he has managed do give me the confidence to do it,” Jasmine explained.
“I struggle for time to go out and school or compete with the young children and a yard of young horses, so to go out and win is beyond something that I had hoped for this season.
“It may only be BE80(T) level, but for me after having the children, I am still so happy in myself and can’t thank the horse enough for being so forgiving of me. I think I need to step up a level now if I can fight my XC demons, and would love to be getting in the top 10 in BE90 by the end of the season and my ultimate aim is to qualify for the BE90 Mitsubishi Motors Cup championship,” Jasmine finished.
Lizzie Luxton collected a win at the event for the third year running, this time with Willy Wonker II in BE80(T) section D. The combination just added a mere 0.4 penalties to their dressage of 29.5 to take the win over Jenny Lo-vel (Holywell Cavaliers Pride) who finished on 32.9.
Images courtesy of Tanzy Lee