Sarah Wells-Gaston reports ..

Eight sections of grassroots competition was held at Munstead for its first event of 2021 on the opening weekend of the delayed eventing season.

Lizzie Forbes had a successful weekend winning BE100 Section F with Rosie XIII and placing fourth in BE80(T) Section H with Lucy Bay. Lizzie teaches and runs a livery yard in West Wittering. Rosie, known as Roo at home is Lizzie’s main eventing mare who she has owned for nearly six years.

Lizzie comments: “I originally bought her as a project to produce and sell on. However she didn’t end up going anywhere. Despite being a Trotter x Cob and only 14.1hh she’s got the heart of a lion and really knows her job. We haven’t managed many runs in the 2019 and 2020 season due to a minor injury and the wet weather in 2019 and COVID in 2020. It’s been frustrating to not be able to get out as she feels on top of her game. In her last seven runs, she has won four and been in the top three in five of them. With that form, I’m super excited to get cracking with the 2021 season and so thrilled with how we started it. We spent a long time trying to qualify for the Badminton grassroots championships at 90cm and finally achieved that goal last year. So with the cancellation of Badminton and BE wiping the slate clean qualification wise it was a big blow! So to kick the season of with a win was definitely a big pick me up. We’ve also decided to move up and try to qualify for the BE100 Badminton grassroots championships.”

Nathalie George was another rider to take a win and a fourth place, winning BE80(T) Section H with Rebel RI and taking fourth with in BE90 Section C with A Little Unbelievable. Rebel only started his eventing career last summer after joining the family as a hunter Nathalie’s dad.

She said: “It was a great start to the season – I was not expecting to win that’s for sure. I have been helping school him up a bit and he was going so well we thought we would get him out to a few events and he has done so well. We have been working hard over the lock down period so it was really nice that it paid off for the first event back and he felt really confident which was great. He’s now entered for the 90 at Chilham and the plan is to have a go at the BE80 qualifier at Firle in May and see how we get on. We are then aiming for the BE90 three-day at Bicton at the end of October as we have heard it is really good fun.”

It was a first time win for Jennifer Jaques and Lordships Revalation as they topped BE90 Section A with the pair finishing on their dressage score of 27.8.

Jennifer said: “Munstead was our first event together as a combination so I was delighted with the result! I bought him in October and adored him as soon as I sat on him. He’s only 15.2hh but he has a real turbo button as is so much fun to ride. He’s a quirky and cheeky character at home and definitely isn’t for the faint hearted, but I love him and can’t wait for what’s to come. We are planning to do a few more 90s before possibly stepping up to BE100 in the summer. Our long-term aim for this year is Bicton 90 3DE.”

Munstead is a happy hunting ground for Abi Scott and Camarnaint Rambler, who topped BE90 Section B with a score of 23.8. Their win here was a repeat of their victory here in September. The lowest winning score of the weekend went to Jessica Cross in BE90 Section C, who topped the leaderboard with a score of 22.3 with Sable. The pairing added two-time faults to their dressage score of 20.3 to take the win. Overall, 75% of the winners finished on their dressage score.

Other section results: BE90 Open Section D Jessica McCaldin, Cheeky Casper; BE100 Open Section E Sacha Hourigan, Double Act IV: BE80(T) Section G Caroline Exley, Copperfield Iris.

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