Sarah Wells-Gaston reports ..
Twenty-Eight sections were contested at Tweseldown’s first British Eventing fixture of 2019, with more than 900 combinations competing over the four days of the popular event.
Action got underway with some of the top names in the sport competing. Pippa Funnell got her 2019 campaign off to a winning start in Advanced Intermediate Section D with Billy Walk On topping the standings. Pippa also came away from the event with placings on Majas Hope (Open Intermediate Section E, 3rd) and Billy Wonder (Novice Section K, 2nd).
Laura Collett also got her season off to a winning one. The Horse Trials Support Group (HTSG) scholar won Open Intermediate Section G with Dacapo but also picked up two further top placings – second with Hakuna Matata (Open Novice Section I) and fourth with Sir Papillon (Open Intermediate Section F).
Izzy Taylor has had a great start to the new season, picking up a win with Artful Trinity in Open Intermediate Section E. The pair had already been seventh in an Open Intermediate at Isleham. By the end of the second week of British Eventing competition, Taylor already has four victories to her name.
Last year’s British Eventing Foundation Points League leading rider Melissa Joannides scored two victories. In Open Novice Section J she won with Patch Ali and in BE100 Section B she won with Ashford Cleeve Little Man.
Katy Lawrence was another double winner picking up wins in BE100 Section A with six-year-old Whitemoors First Flight and following it up in BE90 Section Z2 with Merlin Mix. The full-time mum of two helps manager her mother’s livery yard.
Katy told Eventing Worldwide: “We purchased Whitemoors First Flight last year in May from Emily Jarrat who produced him brilliantly with her husband. We started eventing and gently moved from 80 up to 100 with a win and some good placing along the way. I was really nervous coming out where we left off last year, as I have had a really quiet winter. I tried to give him a long holiday and time to mature but he kept jumping out the field. I have worked really hard at home all winter on the basics and was so thrilled to come home with a win. Merlin Mix is owned by a good friend of ours Vanessa Wilson. Major is kept with us – Vanessa would like to be riding him herself but sadly has a serious shoulder injury as is awaiting surgery so I am very fortunate and honoured to have the reins for the moment and will help her on her come back when the time comes. But for Major to win was just the icing on the cake of a fantastic weekend. I have a new supporter Collier Commercials, and as it was the first time I had worn my new colours – I felt a bit of pressure to make sure they were lucky but the lovely Chris Kirby settled me in the start box as always.
I’m a bit worried now that the season can only really go one way but I will do my best and hopefully they will both continue their great start.”
Cheryl Chamberlain and Salamanca topped BE90 Section Z1. Leica as she is known at home is a 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse who Cheryl has owned for nine years. Based in the new Forest Cheryl is a full time Account Manager for a Belgium bakery company but has her horses based at home which allows her to fit in riding around her work.
Cheryl told Eventing Worldwide: “Leica is a total dude and tries so hard. I am lucky to have the support of some great trainers particularly Angie Russell who has been working with us on our dressage which led to Leica’s score of 22.3% at Tweseldown – very much a personal best. To say I am proud and chuffed is an absolute understatement. She was then brilliant in the jumping phases and doesn’t mind ploughing through the mud, she galloped through the water which meant I couldn’t really see the next fence but good job she was on it. Most of all it is a hobby and we love being out eventing but I do want to be competitive so to come out and take a win at our second event of the year is a huge reward. Particularly getting a regional final qualification as our aim for the year is to try and qualify for Badminton 2020. Our next event is Larkhill so we will try and kick on and enjoy the rest of the season. It’s great to have her competitive and this fit at this stage, and I could not do any of this without the support of my husband Neil.”
Angela Sumner and Free As Air II were winners in BE90 Section Y. Angela has owned Franky, who was foaled in 2005 since he was a three-year-old.
Angela commented: “Franky was so good at Twesledown with the high winds he completely kept his cool and was a complete angel all throughout the day. I’m so happy we came first. Frankie can be a bit wussy in general about life and I actually fell off him a couple of days before my event as he decided to do a dirty stop at a small tire fence that he had jumped loads of times before. We are aiming to do the Grassroots at Badminton and have a few events planned at BE100 over the next few weeks.”
Lauren Collard and Orions Brite Spark are heading to the Mitsubishi Motors Cup in May for the 6th time and started their season successfully with a win in BE90 Section X. Ryan, as he is known at home, is 19-years-old and was bred by Lauren’s trainer Jo Clarke and her sister Jill Clarke at Tunley Equestrian Centre where he still lives. Lauren will be providing Eventing Worldwide readers with regular updates as she prepares for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup.
Lauren said: “I’m thrilled to have won and really pleased with how Ryan went, especially considering the weather. We had wind in the dressage, rain in the show jumping and hail in the cross country. He jumped really well and really enjoyed the cross country. He seemed quite excited when I first got on. Hopefully we haven’t peaked too soon.”
The event hosted two BE100 Open Under 18 Sections which were won by Darcy Zander and Livell (Section T) and Georgina Herrling and Falvaro (Section U).
Sixteen-year-old Gerogina is based and trains with Austin and Amy O’Connor at Attington Stud. She has owned and ridden Larry as he is known at home for 18 months and her aim is to compete at Frickley Under 18 championships and to step up to intermediate.
Georgina told Eventing Worldwide: “He is my first ever horse as I’ve previously only competed ponies. Larry is easily excited at events so the dressage can sometimes be an issue and he always has his eyes on jumping. But it’s something we’ve worked incredibly hard on over the winter and it was super to be leading after dressage on 24.3. The win was especially exciting as we had a very hard season in 2018 after I broke my ankle on him and missed almost all of the events last year. I was attempting to defend my Pony European Champion which I ended up not being able to do unfortunately. It has made me incredibly excited for the season ahead and hopefully we can keep the results coming.”
The lowest winning score of the weekend went to Francesca Brough and Ferdi III who won BE100 Open Section S on their dressage score of 18.5.
Other section results:BE100 Section C Jo Rimmer, Cascade K; Open Intermediate Section F Selina Milnes, Morelands Casanova; Open Novice Section I Harry Meade, Red Kite; Intermediate Section J Max Warburton, Jamaicas Pride; Novice Section K Coral Keen, Total Darkness; Novice Section L Saffie Osborne, Lakantus; Novice Section M Dan Dan Jocelyn, Florencina R; Novice Section M Dani Evans, C Born Fresh Z; Novice Section O Lauren Yallop, Hacien; BE100 Section P Gubby Leech, Rocketman; BE100 Section Q Jason Ferguson, Lets Twist Again; BE100 Section R Rachel Stanhope, Iskaheen Queen; BE100 Open Section V Fernhill Candy Royal; BE90 Section W Matthew Selby, Inus PH; BE90 Section Z Kate Tarrant, Captain Balu II.
Images Courtesy of TB Photographic