Sonia Chapman reports …
And we are off, a super excited bunch of riders and horses descended on Tweseldown 1 month later than usual, but the weather did not seem to have received the memo it was freezing.
William Fox Pitt started his partnership with new ride Duke Legacy, with a win in BE100 Section A. The 7 year old by Duke of Hearts was lightly campaigned by Giovanni Ugolotti in 2020, before William took over the ride this season. Ginny Howe was second by 0.5 finishing on 25.5 with Ballinmurra Chansha. With Gubby Leech one of the busy riders over the 2 days, coming third on the difficult to pronounce “Damage Van Berkenbroeck Z”.
Tom Jackson and Plot Twist B did a beautiful dressage test in BE100 Section B complete with a double clear and led from the front. Marcio Carvalho Jorge and one of his “two amazing 6 year olds” came in second place in Section B (Cavan) while the other came third in section E, as Marcio confirmed “Good start to the season”. Amateur rider Lucinda Britnell and Floor, continued there consistent form at BE100 with third place.
Gubby Leech and Taco Cat topped Section E, in what was a competitive section full of professionals. In second was Gemma Tattersall on Chilli Rocks (Rocky), who boosts 2 olympic parents being Out of Quicklook by Chilli Morning. Gemma is quoted as saying the “Rocky gave me the most amazing feeling, he is very special”.
Dani Evans and Unique Van De Hoeveweg Z claimed BE100 open C, in a section that with a number of former advanced horses with hew riders. Dani was lucky enough to spend the afternoon cross country schooling under the watchful eye of Andrew Nicholson earlier in the week at Boomerang.
Bronia Hill and Saunderscourt Ricardo headed Section D after a great dressage of 23.5, with a single time fault preventing a FOD (finish on dressage”.
Georgie Spence commented in the cross country warm up that the BE100 course was spooky enough if you had a slightly ditchy horse, but it encouraged bold riding.
Tom Jackson had a great start to the proper season, with new ride Fardon claiming Intermediate section N by virtu of a faster cross country time in section N. After finishing on the same score as Sasha Hargreaves and Woodlands Be Daring. Sasha claimed “An amazing start to Desmon’s season, especially after Des had such a hard 2020 with colic surgery”. With Tom coming in third on last years 7 year old champion HH Moonwalk.
Izzy Taylor and new ride Ringwood Madras won intermediate section O, with Izzy stating she was “ delighted with how all the horses have started their season after a very long winter”. Jack Pinkney and Billy Hennessy were second, with Jack commenting that he could not wait for the rest of the season now after such a good start. Third place went to Tom Jackson, this time riding Dassett Endeavour.
Part way through the intermediate cross country fence 9, the vicarage v copy, was removed from the course as it could not be repaired in time to complete the cross country in the light, after a hold on course in the Novice class.
Power couple Jesse and Georgie Campbell claimed “first event as Mr & Mrs and it was a good one, with a win a piece”. Each claiming a novice section, although Jesse beat Georgie section G on Ardeo Brigadier to prevent Georgie claiming a double win.
It was great to see Harry Meade heading the field in open intermediate section M, after what has be a testing winter after his injuries at Thorosberton in the autumn. Fiona Kashel was another on the come back trail having missing part of 2019 while pregnant and having a quiet 2020. However, Fiona was very much back on form riding 4 horses in the Intermediate sections. With Kilcannon Harley Cruise claiming a second.
Georgie Spence claimed a double win on 2 relatively new rides with Feloupe in the open Intermediate and very new ride Fanta Boy in Open Novice section L. Apparently the wonderful mare Lulu didn’t put a foot wrong. While Unicorn Fanta Boy did anything but disappoint at there first event.
Tweseldown were extremely strict on their COVID rules in the showjumping with only 5 horses allowed in the warmup at a time, with no individual helpers just one helper who on Saturday happened to be me. So below are the tales from a day being the sole show jumping warm up helper running up and down the line of 5 jumps. This was an amazing learning experience to see how different top eventers warm up.
The first entertaining piece of information was gained from the mother of a junior rider who was upset at not being able to go out training at the same time as the elite riders, so suggested that if they did their make up so they looked really old, surely they could get away with pretending to be there mother!! Sadly for this rider their mother did not agree.
Secondly with only 5 horses in the warm up one assumes that there are 4 people ahead of you before going into the showjumping arena, but it was entertaining to count the number of people who trotted up to the showjumping board to ask “how many to go before me?”, yes you guessed the correct answer “4”!
While it might seem only having 5 people in the warm up and no personnel helpers to do jumps was different, it did mean that no one monopolised any jumps and there was plenty of space for everyone to warm up. A few people did seem to struggle, with their coaches shouting out instructions from outside the warm up. Other riders just came into the warm, saw the jumps that were there (a cross pole, small upright, large upright, small parallel and large parallel) and just got on with warming up.
One rider kept me busy at the start of the day, as their horse successfully demolished every jump that they attempted, but just to show what a world class rider they are they then manged a clear round in the arena. As it exited the ring the rider called an unmentionable word and said it was lucky that the owner was quarantined the other side of the world so was unable to watch!
Some of the multiple riders were very impressive with how quickly they managed to turn around between each horse and must have completed all four or five of their showjumping rounds in under 20 minutes.
The politest rider had to be Harry Meade, who said thank you after every jump. I also quickly learnt his warmup routine so was hopefully not holding up his warm up too much. Apologies to Pippa Funnell who I teased about being demanding, due to one upright being too small and the other being too big. However as Pippa stated everyone has their own routine that they like to complete with each horse.
William Fox Pitt likes to start is jumping warm on each horse by trotting over a cross pole, even at intermediate level.
An enjoyable and educational day, where I do have to recommend volunteering to everyone as you always gain something out of if even it is just getting into an event rather than being balloted. Remember events cannot run without there massive legion of kind volunteers.
Images courtesy of Sophie Robins