Sarah Wells-Gaston reports….

Portman’s spring mid-week fixture once again proved popular with eventers in the south west boasting more than 550 entries. Henrietta Ewell stole the show taking the top two placings in the Open Novice Under 18 (Section E). She won on board Cool Fantasy and with Connaught Diamond taking second. 

Henri told Eventing Worldwide:

“I was delighted to have a one, two in the Novice Under 18. Cool Fantasy is an ex-racehorse who we bought straight off the tracks. My sister had him for two seasons and produced him up to novice and then I took the ride over. This is my third season on him and we have been to Frickley 1* twice, went to Milstreet and I was second in my first intermediate at Pontispool. I took the ride over on Connaught Diamond at the beginning of last season as he came on loan to us for mum to hunt from one of mum’s friends. We started out at BE100 and then we bought him before I moved up to novice. This season I would like to build confidence at intermediate on both horses.  I have also started BE on my five-year-old that I am producing after doing a few unaffiliated last year. He started with a win at Moreton BE90 and stepped up to 100 at Portman 100 Under 18 showing great promise.” 

Hannah Smith and Fivale Blank Canvas were the victors in BE90 Section N finishing on their dressage score of 25.3. With her parents and husband, Hannah runs Mendip Plains Equestrian Centre. 

She told Eventing Worldwide:

“I was so pleased to be back out Eventing again. Portman is just such a lovely event to go to and luckily for us a perfect start to the season. We opened Mendip Plains Equestrian Centrenearly five years ago and after nearly two years in with no horse that was fit or sound enough to use the facilities for myself, we decided to look for something suitable. A long came Chatty and he’s been great to get me back in to the sport. However, it hasn’t been a smooth run. I have lost a lot of confidence since pony club days so we have stepped back down to BE90 for a few runs. But I hope to be back up to BE100 very soon. Our ultimate aim is to get to Badminton Grass Roots at some point.” 

Steve Heal came away from the event with two wins, both in BE90 sections. He headed Section O with Jauranessa and Section P with Quidam De Lux. Both horses are owned by CG Eventing. 

Steve told Eventing Worldwide:

“They both did a bit in the autumn and then had a break in December. I’ve worked really hard with both of them this year as they were quite spooky with jumping and cross country. I think a lot of the horses; they move beautifully, have a lot of jump and have taken taken so well to cross country now. It was very rewarding for them both to go so well at their first ever event and I felt like everything had just clicked. I’m very pleased for the owner Zoe Day and I hope that they will continue to progress throughout the season. It meant a lot to me to have such a successful event as it really showed all the hard work paying off and gave us a glimpse of how talented the horses are and will be.” 

Holly Wright made her start to her eventing season a winning one with victory in Open Novice Section D with Minacks Maid. Kitty King scored the lowest winning mark with Monbeg Hendricks – they topped BE100 Section K with a score of 19.3, giving them a five-penalty winning margin.
For many, with the new Eventing season comes the decision to move up a level, and one rider doing so was 17-year-old A-Level student Megan Breslin. Riding seven-year-old Moorlough Billy, she competed in Novice Section C. 

She told Eventing Worldwide;

“I have always had a passion for riding, but particularly for eventing. Bubb is a seven-year-old Appaloosa that we were given with the intention to hunt and sell as he wasn’t at all suited to an eventing lifestyle However he has a very pocket rocket attitude to jumping, nothing is too big or wide. It was rather nerve-racking stepping up to novice. However I felt we were both as ready as we could be after completing the Beaufort intermediate team chase and Tweseldown BE100 U18. 

“I felt the event went as well as I could have dreamed! The show jumping was blissfully presented and rode well despite the slippy conditions, but Bubb pulled it out the bag and gave me a lovely round! The cross country was so lovely with a few technical combinations but it gave me a confident round that resulted in a Cheshire Cat grin on my face. Along with the amazing stewards that were so supportive in all three phases through out the day, Portman horse trials will remain in my memories for years to come as I completed my first novice run with my best friend. We are aiming to run at Port Eliot horse trials before hopefully gaining the runs we need to allow us to compete at Millstreet later on this year. I never thought when I was first given Bubb that I would compete in an unaffiliated 80cm ODE, let alone compete him in a BE Novice. It really does show a horse with a big heart and genuine intentions can really take you anywhere.” 

Other section results:Novice Section A Christopher Burton, Jefferson 18; Novice Section B Ludwig Svennerstal, Magnolia II; Novice Section C Louisa Lockwood, Lady Vi Du Ri Dasse; Intermediate Novice Section F Holly Woodhead, Future; BE100 Open Under 18 Section G Isla Read, Rinneen Silver Rocket; BE100 Section H Oliver Townend, Cooley Rosalent; BE100 Section I Alexander Bragg, Kilcannon Dude; BE100 Section J Daisy Berkeley, Diese Du Figuier; BE10 Open Section L Line Andresen, Jager Bomb; BE100 Plus Section L Sara Squires, Denali; BE90 Open Section Q David Doel, Rock On Ruby. 

Images Curtesy of Tanzy Lee

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