Event reports sponsored by Elite Horse Owners
Rika Nile reports…
YMCA Mendip were this year’s title sponsors for Nunney International Horse Trials, which ran over the hottest weekend of the year so far. The event, which is held at Southfeild House by kind permission of Mrs Angela Yeoman, received huge entries leading it to waitlist for the first time within its six years of running.
The event’s highlight was the CIC2*, which was generously sponsored by Tarmac with a £1200 prize fund to the winner, saw a field of 75 starters including some of the country’s best. One rider however, left the field behind leading the class from start to finish. 19-year-old Mollie Summerland and Charly van Ter Heiden stormed into the lead after posting a 40.9 dressage, 3.3 marks ahead of her closest contenders, Roo Fox (Eldorado van de Otterdijk) and Jo Rimmer (Diamond Bobby), who both had a dressage of 44.2.
Even with a few marks in hand the pressure was on Mollie, who is based at The Billy Stud with Pippa and William Funnell, to keep a clean sheet across the jumping phases. The pressure proved no problem as a double clear was on the cards for Mollie and the 8-year-old gelding, adding just 1.6 time to finish on 42.5.
“This is my first international win so it felt very special, and to share it with my family and friends was amazing.” Mollie said.
“The course had quite a few tough lines and really tested the straightness of the horses at times, but I enjoyed riding around the track, it rode well.”
Starting riding at the age of seven, and getting her first pony at ten, Mollie credited her primary school friends for getting her into riding. Moving to The Billy Stud was the making of the teenager, and she was quick to thank The Funnell’s for the opportunities she has been given.
“Pippa and William allowing me to their yard has been life changing, and every day I cannot help but think how lucky I am. I’d like to thank them, and also my sponsors Estribos and The Orthotic Works, as well as the event organisers,
“The team at Nunney were amazing, and so friendly and hardworking, especially those helping to wash the horses off after the cross country. It’s a great event and one I will definitely return to again.” Mollie added.
Blandford Forum based Jo Rimmer stayed in the runner up spot throughout the competition riding the grey gelding Diamond Bobby. Owned by herself and John Sunnucks, Jo piloted the 11-year-old, who has also been campaigned by John’s 18-year-old daughter Kitty, to his best international finish to date.
Adding just 2.0 time penalties over the newly designed Helen West track, Jo finished on a final mark of 46.2, to sit behind Mollie on the leader board.
As well as concentrating on Bobby and three other rides, Jo also had the extra task of keeping a close eye on 15-year-old daughter Jessica and her pony Irish After Shock at the event, who eventually placed 6th in Novice section I.
Third place in the Tarmac sponsored CIC2* went to Alex Whewall and his mum Lianne’s Edyvanta. The 8-year-old mare has been with Alex since a five-year-old after Alex’s father John purchased her as a birthday present for Lianne.
“She jumped an amazing double clear and made it feel very easy,” Alex said of the Eldorado Van De Zeshoek sired mare.
“She’s now aiming for the CIC3* 8/9YO class at Blenheim in September,” Alex added.
The top three placing in the CIC2* was not 29-year-old Alex’s only success of the weekend, as he also claimed 5YO section D with one of the best dressage marks of the event, riding Wisbeach Cevin’z Pride to a win on their dressage of 18.5.
“I bought him as an unbroken 3-year-old, and have backed and produced him myself. He is owned by myself, Lynne Potter and Fleur James, and we’re all really excited now for Osberton in October,” said the current British Intermediate Champion, and Bridging The Gap scholarship holder.
The other 5YO section (section C2) winner was MHS Fernhill Finale ridden by Olympian Kitty King. Kitty finished behind Alex with her other 5YO ride Cristal Fontaine in section D, and also claimed BE100 section A with The Last Euro.
Kirsty Johnston picked up an array of prizes over the weekend including a win in Intermediate Novice section T on Francesca Fitzherbert’s Conguistador II. The smart bay gelding posted an 26.4 dressage in his first event back with Kirsty since 2015.
“He’s a horse I used to ride who I’ve got back for a bit whilst Francesca concentrates on her other rides. It was great to be back on him and continue the form we had previously,” said Kirsty, who is based at Landford Common Stud, the home of the Opposition dynasty.
As well as her win, Kirsty collected had 2nd and 3rd on home bred and produced horses Opposition Hemera and Opposition Loire in Novice sections I and J respectively. She also placed 5th in the Novice Regional Final with Classic VI, giving her a second ride at Gatcombe in August.
“I’ve got a really exciting end to the season with both my up and coming and more established rides, including the ones who ran this weekend.
“I’ve got to credit the team at Nunney for their efforts, and also Helen West on her newly designed course, it flowed really well. I’d also like to thank my owners and sponsors, WTTL, Excel Supplements, Devoucoux and Equiclass,” Kirsty added.
Helen Witchell and Miss Be Cool headed one of two Intermediate sections on the Sunday, picking up their second Intermediate win of the season. They headed section R, after adding just 0.8 time to their 29.8 dressage.
The Billy Be Cool sired mare’s win made a good day even better, as it was her part owner and breeder Claire Heath, and Helen’s birthdays.
“I’m delighted with the win, and it being both mine and Claire’s birthdays made it even more special! We’re aiming for Barbury CIC2* next, and then hopefully Hartpury in August,” Helen said.
Jane Rogers and Corrieview Merlin Magic had their third win of the season, after returning to Southfield House for the first time in 29 years. The experienced horsewoman, who has previously groomed for Clarissa Bleekman at World and European championships, won BE100 section M on her homebred 10-year-old.
“I last competed at Nunney when it was called Frome Horse Trails 29 years ago. I was delighted with my win and very pleased with my clear show jumping,” Jane said.
Jane, who’s eldest son Tim Rogers has been through the youth teams and is now a work rider for Harry Meade, finished on 29.6, after adding just 0.8 time penalties to her dressage.
18-year-old Morgan Wyatt joined Jane in the BE100 prize givings on the Saturday, collecting another win with his 13-year-old Lockstock Huntsman sired mare, Baylew Enigma. Finishing on their 27.3 dressage was enough to give the combination their second consecutive win.
“She thoroughly deserved the win at Nunney, and also the win three weeks ago at Pontispool, as whilst she lacks scope, she is extremely brave with a great heart,” Morgan said of Baylew Enigma, who will be handed to Morgan’s younger brother at the end of the season to teach him the ropes of eventing.
“I would love to thank the team behind Nunney for a great weekend, and especially the veterinary team at the finish line of the cross country for all their help throughout the day,” Morgan added.
Other section winners:
BE100 section B – David Doel and Royal Conquest
BE100 section C1 – Neil Spratt and Gaillard Lancer
BE100open section O – Holly Woodhead and Global H
BE100plus section E – Jess Hooley and Irish Synergy Hero
Novice section F – Pierre Alsina and Dicento
Novice section G – Paul Tapner and Bob Chaplin
Novice section H – Althea Bleekman and Rival de Villegardin
Novice section I – Katie Thrower and Cavello Pip
Novice section J – Louise Harwood and Wishing Time
Open Novice section K – Jo Clarke and Frankly
Open Novice section L – Hope Pleydell-Bouverie and Mullaghmeen
NRF section W – William Fox-Pitt and Shannondale Percy
Intermediate section Q – David Doel and Dunges Don Perignon
Open Intermediate section S – Padraig McCarthy and Fiveberry
Photographs courtesy of Tanzy Lee