Event reports sponsored by Elite Horse Owners
Laura Phipps reports…
Blazing sunshine accompanied riders to Warwick Halls second BE event of the calendar. Every year, many riders trudge through the depths of winter warmed by the fact that summer does eventually come around and eloping through lush fields in a t-shirt is a reality. However, ‘be careful what you wish for’ seemed very apt as it was a scorching weekend which added extra elements to the requisite test of horsemanship in Eventing. Classes ranged from BE80 (T) – Open Novice and included a Novice Regional Final. There was also the added incentive of the The Warwick Hall Cup , a fantastic initiative as it offers a 2017 grand slam opportunity for any rider and horse combination winning at each of the three fixtures or if this is not achieved, the competitor with the next best set of results will triumph. This meant the competition was as fierce as the sun.
The novice regional final proved a red letter day for Hannah Bates and Paul Sims yard as they trucked out of Warwick Hall having snatched the spoils by securing the top 3 qualifying spots. There of course was only one that collected the 1st place frilly along with bragging rights – and it was neither. Instead their groom, 20yr old Alice Tracey, aboard her own Freedom Hill, trumped them both. However, Alice was quick to praise the help of Hannah and Paul by commenting “we’ve really come on in leaps and bounds since i’ve been based with Hannah, she’s an excellent teacher. My showjumping has improved as well with the help of Paul and the opportunity of going BS for the winter.” Their results this season certainly testify the same; with now 2 wins at Novice and a 2nd place in an Intermediate. Here ‘Jack’, a ‘fab’ 7yo gelding by Vriend, produced a 30.5 dressage to lie 2nd after this phase which Alice describes as being ‘his hardest’. They lay behind Hannah and Fanta Boy on 27.7. When Hannah rolled a pole showjumping, the opportunity to sneak ahead presented itself – Alice duly rose to the occasion by producing a fault free round to take the lead. Jack’s number one love was left until last as Alice says “XC has always been his strongest phase as he’s very straight and bold and he loves it.” With that, Alice surely set off from the start box brimming with confidence and even if this wasn’t the case, it didn’t show as they flew in under the time and crucially with 0 penalties. So too, did Hannah to remain in 2nd place ahead of her partner Paul Sims who completed on his dressage score of 32.1 riding Dantes Inferno to complete a good days work. Alice reflected on her win to Eventing Worldwide “It was amazing to win, i cant believe how well he’s going at the moment – he’s absolutely flying. I was thrilled with him from start to finish yesterday – he just tried his hardest and went brilliantly.” Alice quite rightly ‘cant wait for Gatcombe.’
Ben Hobday rode to a 5th and 10th place in the regional final but then threw his hat into the ring labelled ‘stellar day’ by winning BE100 Section G and Novice Section D. His BE100 ride Fearless JB, a 17hh 7 year old gelding by Indoctro, was having his first BE outing and one that Ben must hope is replicated throughout the rest of the season; they produced an accomplished 28.0 in the dressage and sealed the win with a super double clear to add nothing further. They were a smidgen ahead of 2nd placed Rebecca Magleave and Tommy Tuckery on 28.8, who relinquished the win by having 2 SJT . Ben’s Novice victor was Shadow Chanel, a 7yo mare by Cancara. This mare has proved consistent throughout her first BE season, only failing to finish in the top 10 once from 7 outings. Here, she added a second win but first at Novice level by completing on her dressage score of 27.3, this time comfortably ahead of in 2nd place Connie Gill and Movie Star II on 31.5.
Alex Hua Tian could have been forgiven for perhaps doubting a completion and not expecting a win. Together, he and his mount in BE100 Open Section J, Serenade III, had been eliminated on the XC phase in their only outings together the last twice. A month had passed, and with horses that is an exceptionally long time as proven – here they were adding only 1.0 SJT to their dressage of 25.0 to streak to the win ahead of Jess Bell in 2nd aboard Song Finch on 32.5.
A horse with an energy saving mode triumphed in BE90 Section L. Amy Auld’s Holmside Red Ace is ‘nicknamed sofa horse at home because of his habit of lying down and going to sleep whenever the fancy takes him. He also loves jam doughnuts.’ With this in mind it would appear ‘Red’ lives a life many humans dream of – throw eventing into the mix and that trio would see many happy for a long time. It would seem however, that Red has made his feelings clear about one thing “he was originally a dressage horse but started being really naughty so his owner, Laura Hedley-Gray, gave him to me to see if a change would help him” said Amy. “We took him Xc schooling and it seemed to be the making of him.” He clearly approves of his new career as this was his second win on the bounce following on from Kirkley the previous weekend, forcing Amy to declare herself ‘shocked’ commenting “we went to Warwick thinking there was no chance he would win again.” Together this pair have been super solid this season as in all of their outings they have completed on their dressage score. Here, the trend was not broken and they completed on 28.5, comfortably ahead of Sally Herron and Mayflower on 31.0.
There is a glow about many rider after their first BE win and it was made all the more sweeter for Kelly Norman as she has produced her mount, Benvarden Muskie, herself. But it was not meant to be an intended lasting association as Kelly explains “I purchased Muskie in November 2013 with the intention to sell on. After some SJ competitions, a few days hunting and amazing feedback in working hunter classes, I realised that Muskie’s ability was far greater than i thought so i got an instructor and decided to turn him into an eventer.” This pony, a 15hh 11yo Connie x Irish Cob, has a record suggesting he is getting better and better. “We competed in a BE80 last year placing 3rd.” continues Kelly “never did I imagine at just our second try at BE90 would we manage to win. It has been a long , hard process to produce the dressage to a good standard as it was not natural to him but with patience and understanding it has paid off.” This was borne out as their previous best was 31.8. Here, they won Section C on their dressage score of 26.5. “This was the greatest feeling of achievement after producing him myself whilst working full time and only having a field to ride in. It just goes to show you don’t need amazing facilities” concludes Kelly. Heartwarming stuff to match the increasingly warming sun.
Section O – Jane Christison & On Flight, 29.9
Section P – Helen Mitchell-Hunter & Direct Distraction, 21.8
Section A – Emma Scott & Coppenagh Misty Shadow, 23.2
Section B – Tayla Brooks & Springwind Catwalk, 29.8
Section K – Marie Pope & Party Pop, 30.4
Section M – Susan Suddes & IPW Deer Park Red, 26.0
BE90 Open Section N – Frances Pearson & Rockwood Joy, 24.0
Section I – Clare Chappelhow & Crackenthorpe Wanikiy, 24.8
Section Q – Georgia Campbell & Sergeant Mustard, 22.8
Section R – Emma Buchanan & Blaze, 27.3
Novice Section E – Emily Parker & Highly Delighted, 27.0
Open Novice Section F – Hayden Hankey & King Ralph, 27.8