Ruth Gregory reports ..
Skipton celebrated its 30th anniversary in style with the sun shining over the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. The joint organisers of Robin Bower, Timothy Bennett and Sarah Nield, are well known for always pulling out the stops in putting on great horse trials, one many consider as the ‘friendliest’ in the country.
So, it’s no surprise that the event welcomed mass entries of Yorkshire locals, as well as those who travelled from further afield. The cross-country course ran across Funkirk and Heskaker Farmland and was proven to be the usual inviting, but still challenging track expected. In the BE100 and Novice sections not many riders managed the optimum time, as well as riders being caught out at the 16AB combination. In particular fences 4 and 5 in the Novice section sorted out the field with accurate, attacking riding needed. Overall, it was another classic Skipton cross country course that jumped well with great ground conditions.
The commentary team had a wonderful weekend, as young rider and budding commentator Louie Atkinson tells eventing worldwide on his different view from the saddle to the commentary box.
“Skipton takes advantage of the naturally undulating ground, as a commentator I have prime view of the course, with the event attracting some of the finest event riders on the circuit! The course this year proved difficult for some combinations, but the majority flew around, giving me the opportunity to both entertain and educate spectators.
Having competed at Skipton last season, I know how challenging some of the elements of the course can be; however, the event provides an inviting variety of fences for all levels resulting in a super day of competition!”
Here are the results.
Amiee Penny meant business picking up a hattrick of victories. She won the ON Section G with the gelding PSH Mirage, jumping double clear and only adding a handful of time penalties to finish on 27.9.
She also piloted PSH Charisma to top spot in the Novice Section F. It was a superb Novice debut for the mare, who was a new ride to Amiee this season, the win follows on from their consistent top 10 placings at BE100 already this year.
Amiee’s final win was in the BE100Open section D with PSH Mirror Image. Their performance is definitely one they’ll be hoping to repeat as they added nothing to their excellent dressage mark of 18.0.
Another rider clocking up multiple wins was Katie Stephens-grandy. It was a dream result for Katie who sustained an accident in February 2018 that left her with 29 breaks in her leg and ankle. But with the help of trainer Chris McGrann, and the team at Jackberry House, Malton, she’s bounced back, “it’s been a long recovery but I’m getting there. Skipton was the first event I’d tried riding three and I think it went okay. The team at Skipton work so hard to cater for all, the cross-country track was fabulous and really made you think yet ride positively and forward. A huge thank you to you all!”
She won the BE90 Section H with Mr Music, jumping double clear to finish on their dressage mark of 23.0. “Mr Music is a homebred, so it means a lot to win, he is a horse you really have to treat sensitively yet he’s very bold and opinionated! I have to get into his mind.
He’d qualified for Badminton Grassroots 2018, but we didn’t get to go as I missed the whole season, so I’m looking forward to come back for Skipton (2) in August for the regional final!”
Her second win was were the Marley family’s Rathbrennan Buachail, in the BE90 section J, finishing on their dressage of 28.3. The gelding isn’t Katie’s usually mount though, “the Marley family base their ponies with me part time to ease the pressures of school for the girls and I coach them. Storm is Tilly’s pony and she had a school trip abroad, so they asked me to run him. He was a superstar.
Katie rounded off the weekend with also a second place in the BE80(T) section N with Rathcline Kestrel.
“Timothy is my golden dun baby Connemara, beautifully started by Kate Rath Doyle in Ireland. I have huge hopes for him but at the moment we are trying to lay the foundations for the future.”
Just pipping Katie to take the win in section N were Kacey Finch and Molychullen Turbo. The pairing jumped another perfect double clear to cement back to back wins, following on from their top placing at Warwick Hall a few weeks before.
BE100 Section A; Pietro De Marchi, Legal Graffiti; BE100 Section B; Erica Hockney, Eddy Splash; BE100 Section C; Alex Postolowsky, Iden Van De Roseweide; BE80(T) Section L; Lucy Robinson, Portland Street; BE80(T) Section M; Lucy Thompson, Woodstock Friday Man; BE90 Section I; Gabriela Baxter, Billy Castillo; BE90 Section K; Bradley Allsopp, Ferodo; N Section E; Sophie Wilson, Carden Cloudy Bay;
Images courtesy of RJC Photography