Abigail Unwin reports ..
Fifteen sections, from 80 Training to BE100plus ran over the two days at the Baileys Horse Feeds Somerford Park. With its large Andrews Bowen surfaced SJ arena, and Cross Country courses designed to educate and encourage horse and rider, Somerford is a firm favourite amongst riders.
Course Designer Andrew Heffernan caught up with Eventing Worldwide ‘
’I wanted to give the course a new feel in 2019, taking riders on a different route to previous years. Using the natural aspects and undulations at the farm, I wanted to build a course that made the riders have to think accordingly to the different challenges they faced across the country, rhythm and balance being key. There is a big gap in Eventing from 90 to 100 and 100 to Novice. I wanted to try and bridge this gap, by designing fences in a smaller format, that you may see when moving up the levels; the BE100 roll top into the water being the ideal challenge, for those looking to educate their horses when jumping into water.’’
Many riders commented on how lovely the course rode, Jack Leese riding Edmondstown Independent, who finished on their very impressive Dressage score of 20.8, to win BE100 section K caught up with us ‘’It’s a fantastic event, both the SJ and XC were up to height for the level, which is why we ran James (Edmondstown Independent). Somerford is always a good indication that they are ready for the next level, which will be our plan in the very near future. James is an inexperienced horse, but is bold and honest. He is syndicate owned by 5 lovely local people, so it was amazing for him to bag this win, at our local event.’’
Emma Silman took the runner up spot riding Bolacreen Lad, their second top ten placing of the season. With Oliver Townend and Master Class Ramiro third.
Georgie Rockingham piloted September Song to top spot in the BE100 Open, finishing 0.1 ahead of Alison Unwin and Rongai; who were thankful to complete the Cross Country after some slight navigational issues at Llanymynech the week before, Eventing Worldwide caught up with Alison. ‘’After my slight disaster at Llanymynech, I walked the course about three times to make sure I knew exactly where I was going! I even took a video of each fence and its surroundings, to make sure it sunk in. Somerford is one of my favourites, and Rongai nicknamed ‘Killer’ loves it here, especially the SJ arena. He is owned by Ruth Watson, who has let me ride him for many years now, we are a pair of old greys together, Rongai that is; not Ruth! Our aim this year is to event as much as we can, enjoy it and fingers crossed we can get a win soon, haha’’.
Becky Hartley, riding Ballylaffin Juno topped Section I finishing on 26.80, we caught up with Becky. ‘’It’s only my third event with Ronnie, so to win was such a nice surprise! We have just started to get to know one another well now. I’ve been doing some riding for Andy Heffernan since the start of the year, and I’m really enjoying it’’.
Hot on her heels was Robyn Gray and the gelding Harthill Bahri who finished on 27.70, Robyn also took top spot in the BE90 Section F riding Date Night! They finished on an impressive score of 24.30. We caught up with Robyn after her win ‘’I’m riding Pixie (Date Night) on behalf of Anna Thornton. Anna has done a wonderful job producing her, under the watchful eye of Andrew Heffernan at Somerford. It was only the horses second run, and she seemed to love it and find it easy at this level. We will be thinking of moving her up to 100 after Brand Hall’’
Emma Rarity and the 15 year old Dutch Warmblood Zummertimes, took their second win of the season in the BE100plus, finishing on their Dressage score of 31.30. Emma commented ‘’He was foot perfect at the weekend. Sometimes he can over jump XC, but he gave me a great ride. I’m aiming to step up now, all being well he will move up to Novice. Hopefully a CCI-S2* towards the end of the year aswell’’.
Other section results; BE100 Section J Sarah Warner, Zarento VDL; BE80T Section A Anna Wills, Aiolos Reuben; BE80T Section B Karen Donaghue, Noorje Roos Vanbeek; BE80T Section C Grace Barr, Balnashallog Maestro; BE80T RF Amelia Maycock, Carnsdale Ghostbuster; BE90 Section E Georgia Cathcart, Arleys Toyboy; BE90 Section G Ally Cope, Bond Girl; BE90 Section N Linda De Matteo, Beant Lan; BE90 Section O Sarah Nicholls, CSH SIOUX; BE90 Open Lisa-Marie Lewis, Corrib Blue Vinney.
Images courtesy of FRW Photography