EVENT REPORTS – Somerford Park

Bryony Skinner reports….

Competitors enjoy sunshine and the Royal Wedding at Somerford Park.

Over 450 competitors took part at Somerford Park Horse Trials in Cheshire across the weekend of 19-20th May; in classes ranging from BE80(T) to BE100Plus. The weather looked kindly on the event and competitors and spectators alike did not have to miss out on the Royal Wedding, which was shown on screens in the Sponsors marquee and the foodcourt.

The first of the BE80(T) sections (section A) was won by Chloe Allen who was competing TFS Coco in the mare’s first event and completed on their dressage score of 28.5.  Chloe also finished 5th in BE90Open section H, on Whiskey Lad, again completing on an impressive dressage score of 29.5. 

Emma Rarity and Royal Song took first place in the BE80(T) section B, adding just 0.4 time penalties x country to their dressage score of 28.  Emma commented: “Royal Song is 6yo chestnut mare. Her sire is Royal Dick. She’s homebred by her owner Jill Marsden and it was only her second ever event so it was a fantastic surprise that she won. She just took it all in her stride. The course rode lovely with fab galloping spots to let the horses get into a good rhythm. Great for young horses like Royal Song to learn and gain confidence from. Plans for Royal Song are now to aim for a few 90’s and maybe finish the season with a 100.”

The BE80(T) section D was won by Claire Highfield and Another Avoca, completing on their dressage score of 29.  Claire said, “Another Avoca (stable name Legs) is actually my mum’s horse, we only bought her in November 2017. Unfortunately, mum had to have an unplanned operation on her arm two weeks ago and so we decided I should ride Legs rather than withdraw! It was meant to be just a nice day out to get some miles on the clock as she was a bit fresh in the dressage phase last time out – we didn’t for a second think our score would be good enough to be competitive but she was really relaxed and rode a nice test. The course was lovely, and the fence at 9 (the log on the bank down to the skinny) was a really good question that rode well; although the whole thing went rather quickly. Once we had got it together over the first couple of fences x country and found our rhythm, Legs was really nice to ride and finished full of running. I have wanted to compete at Somerford ever since eyeing up the BE course when riding round the farm ride at pony club camp on a tiny pony, so it was a fantastic result for our first time there. I suppose my aim for the rest season is to try and steal her from my mum more often! I am taking her to Warwick in June and perhaps a step up to 90 in July if that trip goes well.”

Estelle Eccleston and Top Its Ambitious won the BE90 section E with a very impressive dressage score of 23.5 in a hotly contested section. Estelle commented: 

“I’ve had Amber for 9 years from a 5year old, she is a thoroughbred x warmblood. Sire “It’s the Business”. We competed at Badminton Grassroots in 2013 at BE90 and I would love the opportunity to go again. We compete mainly for pleasure. She is a pleasure to ride and always makes it into the placings in anything we do. She is truly one of those horses everyone dreams of. Somerford is always an event where we aim to compete every year; with high standards and good organisation. The course rode really well with up to height, interesting and testing fences and combinations.”

The BE90 section N was won by Rachael Lupton and I Blame Bertie, who finished on their dressage score of 27.8.  Rachael said, “The course was fab, such a nice event. The 90 was a lovely course but had it all in to be jumped. I Blame Bertie was such a lovely little horse to ride. I haven’t ever evented him before. My good friend Vicki Fahey owns him and normally rides him and has done a great job with him, winning lots on him. She is off riding, awaiting a back operation, so I have the ride on him for now. Hopefully Vicki’s daughter Niamh will be on him towards the back end of the season. I’m hoping to qualify him for the Yorkshire Championship. He has another run 90 then going 100.”

Lisa-Marie Lewis won the BE90Open section H on Corrib Blue Vinney, adding no penalties to their dressage score of 24.3.  Lisa-Marie commented: “Corrib Blue Vinney is 15 year old 16.2hh grey gelding by Dockleaf, who has evented up to novice level. I used to event a bit when I was younger, but came back to it last year after having children and had a fantastic season with Vinney, being placed many times at 90cm and 100cm. Vinney tries to please in all 3 phases he’s just an amazing horse. My plans this season are to do more 100s .The course rode really well and was inviting and the ground was good, I enjoy going to Somerford.”

Sam Ecroyd won the BE100 section K with the mare Lumina Cola on an impressive dressage score of 23, following their win at Kelsall Hill in April.  Sam also went on to place 9th in the BE90Open section H on Ilaney, this being the mare’s first event.

Somerford Park will be holding the International Horse Trials later in the season, with BE100, Novice, CIC*, CIC** and Intermediate classes and taking place from 17-19th August.

Other winners: BE80(T) section C – Stephen Wilkinson, My Mate Max; BE90 section F – Beatrice Hammond, Doe Bertie; BE90 section G – Danni Nicholson, Upsalls Georga; BE90 section O – Catherine Harston, Southgrange Dominator; BE100 section I – David Llewellyn, Wolke Midnight; BE100 section J – Catherine Taylor, Diesel IV; BE100Open section L – Samantha Rose, Amarulla III; BE100Plus section M – Richard Long, Capuchin Casanova.

Photogrpahs courtesy of Felicity White

For all photo enquiries please contact jess@eventingworldwide.com

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