Bryony Skinner reports ….
As the heatwave continued during the weekend of 30th June -1st July; over 380 competitors attended Offchurch Bury, with classes ranging from BE80(T) to the relatively new BE105. Despite the challenging conditions, riders praised Lloyd Hunt of Lands Eventing for the hard work that had gone into watering and aerovating the ground as well as the provision of extra water for horses at the end of the cross country courses.
The BE80(T) section M was won by Joanne Monkman on her own mare, G Damascus; at their first BE event. The combination added 1.6 cross country time penalties to their dressage score of 25.5. Joanne commented: “I brought G Damascus (DeeDee), 2 years ago as 4 year old she’s a KWPN, we’ve taken it slowly and have participated in a bit of everything. The event at Offchurch was our first BE80 and we had a great time. The XC rode brilliantly, the ground was perfect thanks to Lloyd’s hard work. I was expecting her to be a little spooky but DeeDee flew round and took it all in her stride. The plan for the rest of the season is to try a couple of BE90s as my overall goal is to qualify for the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championships.”
The BE90 Section H was won by Carlie Lewis and her own Rollestone Checkmate, who rolled one pole in the SJ adding 4 faults to their very good dressage score of 23. Carlie said, “We didn’t have a great season last year due to hidden pain with Rio and caused some confidence issues so the win is even more special to us as 9 months ago we weren’t sure if he would continue to event. So after some work with the vets we have worked with the amazing trainer Andrew James to fix our jumping and Di Barret to perfect our flatwork. Rio is one in a million with a awesome personality who is now back happy to be out and I feel very lucky to have him. The team and course at Offchurch deserves all the praise for amazing ground prep and well organised with a good course that rode amazingly. We aim to move back up to 100 after I return from holiday and work to achieve the ultimate dream of a Badminton Grassroots qualification.”
Lucy Goodey and her mare Lady Guinevere Elm took first place in the BE90 section I, finishing on their dressage score of 26.5. It was a busy and successful weekend for Lucy, who had three rides in the BE90 sections and subsequently three top ten placings. She commented: “Lady Guinevere Elm or Lotty as she is known at home is an 8 year old Irish sport horse who I have owned since she was 4. She has been challenging to produce but is now beginning to show her potential. Lotty is a huge character at home making everyone laugh. The course rode really well and the ground was brilliant, I thought Lloyd and the team did an excellent job. I aim to step Lotty up to 100s shortly and aim to qualify her for grassroots champs. I couldn’t do any of this without my superb support team.”
The BE90 section J was won by Heidi Coy and the 16hh mare Indiana Du Vlist. The combination finished on their dressage score of 25.8 at the mare’s first event, which put them in joint first position with Heidi Ford and Squire of Cranstown. Heidi Coy however competed the cross country in exactly the optimum time, with Heidi Ford coming in 6 seconds faster and thus taking the runner up position.
Ed Eltham held a commanding lead from the dressage in the BE100 section A, winning by over 12 points with the 16hh gelding, Howlett. Ed commented on his facebook page:
“Great morning at Offchurch Bury with Howlett owned by Derek Franklin and David Trott. Lovely dressage test and a pb score for me of 15.3!!! Followed by a great double clear in the time. WINNING his section by quite a few marks!”
The BE100 section C was won by Rebecca Jessett and her own Percivals Rebel who added no penalties to their dressage score of 29.3. Rebecca commented:
“Percy’s my horse of a lifetime, I’ve owned him for almost 4 years and we’ve been to Badminton grassroots in the BE90 twice so far. Xc is his forte, he is brave and loves to gallop! We parted company 4 weeks ago during the SJ at Ascott under Wychwood; and I dislocated my shoulder, so I’m even more elated for a win this quickly after injury! So much work had gone into the ground at Offchurch, the warm up arenas, xc and sj tracks were all superb! We couldn’t have wished for better conditions considering the weather we’ve had. The xc terrain here certainly tests the horses, but it’s a great venue and really sorts everyone out! Aims for the rest of the year are to qualify for Badminton Grassroots BE100 next Spring!”
The first of the two BE105 sections, section E, was won by Kerry Emms and Spiders Secret Weapon, completing on a score of 33.6. Full of praise for her horse, Kerry said, “Spiders Secret Weapon is my horse of a lifetime she has already qualified for Grassroots Championships at Badminton twice finishing 10th in 2016 in the 90 and 7th in 2017 in the 100. Secret has only run three times this season and her win last weekend at Offchurch was added to her win in May at Pontispool and a 3rd at Nunney a couple of weeks ago. Offchurch Bury was a fantastic event the ground had been beautifully prepared and Secret flew round the 105 track and gave me a great ride. I am hoping to make the move up to Novice later this season after the regionals in the Autumn.”
Ruth Whitmore and her own gelding, Ideal Illusion won the BE105 section F after adding only 0.4 cross country time penalties to their dressage score of 23.8. Ruth commented: “Louis is my hombred gelding, I own his dam and his 2yr old half brother. I have broken and produced him myself. This weekend’s event was the best he’s ever felt, he’s a big horse (17.1hh) and has taken a lot of time to build confidence in his own abilities, although he has always been obedient and consistent. He’s starting to feel really strong and confident now so I’m excited for our future. I hope to move him up to Novice either at the end of this season or beginning on next. He is ultimately my pet and I’ll never part with him so he has all the time he needs to move up the levels.
The course rode really well, lots of questions, a good set up ready for novice. Lloyd and his team had worked incredibly hard to make the ground as good as it could be considering the current climate.”