EVENT REPORTS – Stratford Hills

Bryony Skinner reports …

The weekend of 15-16th June saw sunny Suffolk host the Stratford Hills Horse Trials. Over 380 competitors attended the event and took part in classes ranging from BE80(T) to IN, including a NRF. Riders were full of praise for the going and the recent rainfall had created perfect ground conditions. Course builder David Carpenter declared that the ground at Stratford Hills was the best it had ever been and it was unusual for the event not to have to water.

The BE100 section A was won by Myles West who had a very successful weekend at the event, with 3 horses competing and getting placed. Myles’ 7 year old gelding Hatrick II led from the dressage with a good score of 27 and a double clear to win his section . Myles who is based on the Surrey/Sussex border and produces young horses commented on his win;

“Hatrick is a lovely horse to have on the yard, he is really easy which makes a nice change as I have lots of breakers and difficult ones! I have owned him since a 3yo. He came second at South of England last year and we are aiming to step up to novice this season. The course rode lovely… Ollie Martin (winner of section B) said time was tight so I kicked on and almost had time faults for going too fast! “

Myles has a string of show jumpers and eventers out competing with several qualified for nationals. He also rode Well Digger in the BE100 section B and produced a very good dressage test to score 20.3, one pole down in the showjumping put him in 4th place. Myles also came 7th in the BE80(T) section N on his own 15.1hh mare EFS a Little Contender, jumping double clear at only her second event.

Ollie Martin took the win in the BE100 Section B on his own 16hh gelding MIH Gladiator. Ollie said of the horse, “MIH Gladiator was imported from Ireland at the beginning of the year and being only 5 we have taken time to educate him at BE90. This was his first step up to 100 and he definitely proved he was ready producing an amazing 19.3 dressage to top the section, he went on to a super double clear not fazed by the step up.
The xc rode really well, having not been to Stratford Hills for a few years it was fantastic to be back! MIH Gladiator will continue at 100 now and we might try a 5yo class then he will be for sale at the end of the season, someone will be very lucky!”

Nat Dixon took 1st and 4th in the IN section F and was the only rider to jump double clear in the section, which she did on both horses. 11 year old gelding Curolea Mika completed on a very good dressage score of 28.4 to secure the win and 11 year old mare, Killags Clover Blade added some xc time penalties to her dressage score of 34.8 to come 4th.

A small NRF section of 8 combinations was dominated by Sussex based rider Francis Whittington who came 1st and 3rd. Francis took the win with 11 year old 16.1hh gelding, Brother Bertie, adding 4 sj penalties and 0.4 time penalties for being too fast xc to their dressage score of 25.2. 2nd placed Anna Cheney and the 7 year old gelding, Speaks Volumes, were the only combination to jump double clear in the section but were unable to beat Francis after his very good dressage score. Francis was third on the 7 year old gelding Monbeg Malvo, making it the fourth event in a row that this horse has completed in the top 4, including 4th in the CCI-S2* at Rockingham in May.

Felicity Collins was delighted to take the win in the Novice section G with Iede CVN, only the second run at this level for the horse. Felicity commented:

“Iede CVN is a 6yo my owner Caroline Crowther bought from Ben Hobday at Shadow sports horses last winter. It was only his 2nd novice and we call him Mr Perfect as he really is! I’m used to quite tricky horses and, despite his hate of water buckets being anywhere near him, he’s straightforward yet super talented so he’s a lovely horse to ride. I’d like to aim him, alongside my other 6yo ‘Nina VH’ (who was also sourced from Shadow sports horses & came 11th in the same novice section) for the 6YO championships at Osberton. The course was one of the most technical novice courses I’ve seen in a while, and combined with the hills it was a test for the younger horses such as mine. However it was fantastic education for them, and everything was built on good distances and fair lines. I was really impressed with the fence designs and of course the rain we’ve had made the ground perfect!”

The BE90 section J was won by Isabella Stagg and her own 11 year old mare, Quite a Compliment., completing on their dressage score of 25. This win was the third that the combination have had so far this season, also winning at Little Downham and Poplar Park. The combination also finished 13th after having only one showjump down at the Badminton Mitsubishi Motors Cup in May.

The BE90 section K was won by Joanne Watts and her successful Riding Club horse Darc Legend, who completed on a very impressive dressage score of 15.8 to win the section by a large margin of nearly 10 penalties. Joanne said, “Darc Legend known as Lewis, is homebred and 11 years old. He’s a really comfortable and polite ride, a real gentleman and a very careful jumper. He has successfully competed British Eventing, competed at the Mitsubishi motors cup 3 times and also accumulated points at British Showjumping and British Dressage. He is a regular member of the teams for Carleton Riding Club and recently qualified for the nationals at Lincoln later this summer in the open dressage team. I would love for him to qualify for the show jumping and horse trials champs too for the riding club. 
The course rode really nicely Sunday, and the ground was perfect! Stratford Hills is a very friendly event and hope to be back next year.”

BE90o section L winner , Mary Edmundson competed on 4 horses over the weekend and took 1st and 2nd in this hotly contested section where there were only 3.2 penalties between the top 6 placed combinations. Mary came 1st on the 16.3hh mare Carrickview Sunset completing on their dressage score of 25.8 and 2nd on 15.1hh Junction Princess. Mary commented:

“Carrickview Sunset is owned by Dominic Branch and is 5 years old. Stratford Hills was her first ever event so it was a pleasant surprise for it to be so successful. The course rode really nicely and is so educational for these young horses with the clever use of the hills. There were some elements that I thought my horse might find a bit spooky but I was really proud of her for going round like an old pro. Junction Princess is owned by Zita Foster and was also competing in her first event. She is only small but has a mighty jump and she thoroughly enjoyed whizzing round the xc. Hopefully they will both do one or two more 90s before stepping up to 100. The event at Stratford Hills is superb – they change and improve the course every year and the atmosphere is always fun and friendly. I look forward to coming back again for many years to come.”

Other winners:

BE100Open section C – Caroline Bridge, Eldyno: BE100Open U18 section D – Iona Sclater, Foxtown Cufflynx: BE100Open U18 section E – Susie Eddis, Cashelbay JJ: BEON section H – Kate Walls, Sir Perirose: BE90 section H1 – Ada Marson, Cynheidrefawr Dylan: BE90 section I – Katherine A Smith, Holme Park Kudos: BE90 section L1 – Maggie Tyrrell, Petlin Jessica: BE80(T) section M – Hannah Rix, Whisper: BE80(T) section N – Anita Lenton, My Gleneven: BE80(T) section O – Jenny James, Eastern Mayfly.

Images courtesy of Events in Focus

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