Bryony Skinner reports ..
Warwick Hall Horse Trials took place over the weekend of 18-19th May, the first of three fixtures at the venue over three months in May, June and July. This is a very popular event, part of the Cumbria Horse Trials series; where competitors can enjoy sandy ground that provides good going whatever the weather, along with a picturesque and fairly flat course alongside the River Eden. In fact this year (the 5th for the event), a Harry the Hedgehog fence was placed on the banks of the river in the BE100 class. Nearly 500 competitors took part in classes including British Eventing Novice, Under18, BE100, BE90 & BE80 Training.
Laura Sanderson won the BE80(T) section C on her own 15.2hh, 6 year old gelding Goodknight Percy. This was the first event for the horse and Laura’s first event since 2016. The pair had a very good dressage score of 28.3 which placed them in 2nd after the dressage and despite adding 4 showjumping faults to their score, they completed the x-country 10 seconds under the optimum time and secured the section win.
The BE90 section D was won by Sian Routledge on her on 16.1hh mare, Burnlea Sea Safari. The combination completed on their dressage score of 21.8 after finishing the x-country bang on the optimum time. A delighted Sian commented: “Safari is rising 7, ISH, bred in Ireland by David Brown, and then broken and produced by the wonderful Eamonn McIntyre who consistently produces lovely and good quality horses, she has been with me for the last 18 months and she is currently doing only her second season at BE so is low in experience but has an amazing attitude to work and is lovely inside and out, a real joy to have on our yard! This weekend has been our greatest achievement so far although she did qualify for and take me to pony club championships last year. The course at Warwick was a brilliant course although there are three events a year held at Warwick, the team are fantastic at building a refreshing and varied course each time. The course did ask plenty of questions especially for such a young horse, her experience is something I always try to take into consideration when walking my course and on technical lines I try to walk it in a way that will give her as much chance as possible to understand the question being asked and hopefully result in us riding the fence clear. Safari is very responsive to voice and therefore my rounds are often filled with vocal encouragement which was very true of my round on Saturday even more so knowing I was riding the Cross Country with a 21.8 dressage and clear showjumping under our belt! But over all the course rode lovely even giving you chance to enjoy the serenity of the beautiful location…… To finish on the score we achieved has been so overwhelming and I’m so proud of our achievement! Going forward I would just love for Safari to continue pulling off such fantastic scores as we carry on our season but for me I’m focused on keeping this wonderful horses confidence high and give her the education she truly deserves. My parents are a really wonderful support team when I compete (and In day to day life) and I couldn’t do it without them but my dad also takes on the roll of personal photographer and produces wonderful photos of our day”.
NAF and Equine and Country sponsored rider, Will Murray won the BE90Open section F2 on Jeppesen K at the horses first event; adding 1.2 time penalties for being too fast on the x country to their dressage score of 33.8. BE coach Will (who is the under 18 coach in the North) runs a yard just outside Durham, and also came 12th in the Novice on Royal Etiquette, completing on their dressage score. Will said of Jeppesen K “ [he] is owned by Hazel and Peter French – and was bought a few months ago for me to event having showjumped previously up to 1.30 level. This this was his first event – the aim is just to have fun this season but he heads to Belsay 100 next. The course rode well with questions at every level – a seemingly innocuous white house at 8a seemed to cause a lot of problems but seemed a fair question!”.
Victoria Dennis had a very successful weekend at the event, competing on 4 horses and taking the win in the BE100 section G on the 6 year old gelding, Halcyon Graf. The combination had a confident x country round, completing well inside the optimum time to add 2.4 time penalties for being too fast, to their very good dressage score of 28.3. Victoria commented: “Scampy (stable name) has been with me about 4 months now, when he came he was very weak. He’s been an absolute joy to produce so far, he just wants to please and the fact he has a huge amount of talent and scope makes my job so much easier. The course was technical and with it only being his third event, I didn’t know what he would think of the combinations. He was amazing from start to finish and he really did deserve his win. He finished 2nd in his first 100 at Richmond so I knew he had good results in him. This season we have our sights firmly set on the 6 yr old championships at Osberton. His fantastic owner Claire Lambert, bred him so it’s very exciting for everyone concerned, especially me who has the privilege of riding and producing such a lovely young horse.” Victoria also came 2nd in the BE90 section F1 with the 6yo gelding Tullis Pepper.
The BE90 section J saw Claire Light taking the win on the 15.2hh mare, Ruby Red II. Claire commented: “I always love competing at Warwick Hall , it is basically our home track, so I’m very proud we managed to win there!
Ruby is a very special lady, she was homebred by her owner Deborah Hogg & she’s a little cob who actually broke her leg as a 5 year old so it’s just fab to be out there competing, let alone managing to win!! She was in great form & was definitely delighted to be back there as she jumped amazingly…. she actually jumped out of her over reach boot at the second fence!
The course rode well, there were some technical questions which was good as it really meant that it came down to the and they added a section on by the river which was lovely!
I am hoping & praying to qualify for badminton Mitsubishi motors this year as we just missed out twice last year.”
One combination who have not missed out on the MMCup at Badminton are the winners of the BENovice section M, Lois Teal and Z7 Catastrophe. This pair were the winners of BE100 class at the MMCup at Badminton in 2018 and also returned in 2019. Leading from the start at Warwick Hall, with a dressage score of 27.5, the combination jumped double clear to win by 2.1 points in a hotly contested section.
Winner of the BEON section O, Wills Oakden was probably the busiest rider of the weekend with 5 horses competing across the classes. Wills won the section aboard the 17.2hh, 12 year old gelding Cracker Jack II, completing on their dressage score of 31. This gelding is a new ride for Wills this season and also won the ON at Lincolnshire in March. Wills also came 5th in the ON section O, with Greystone Rising Star and also had two seconds in the BE100 sections.
The BE100Open under 18 section was dominated by Edward Bradley who won on the 10 year old gelding Compo II and also came 5th on Finnigans Gold. Edward completed on his dressage score on both horses and won the section on a joint score of 25.3, the same score as Jessica Burnham and Not Done. Edward however was 1 second closer to the optimum time on the x –country and therefore secured the win in a very hotly contested section.
Husband and wife team Ben and Emma Hobday had a busy weekend at the event and shared a lot of success. Ben had 5 rides and won the BENovice section L completing on a dressage score of 25.8 on his own 8 year old mare, Garcia II. The combination came 8th in the CCI-S2* at Floors Castle International on 10th May and will be stepping up to Intermediate at Bishop Burton on 25th May. Ben also came 7th, 8th, 10th and 11th in other Novice sections.
Emma rode 3 horses in the BE100 sections and came 3rd in section Q on the 15.1hh mare, Shadow Star Quality.
All winners: BE80(T) section A – Louisa Craigs, Bolero Collonges: BE80(T) section B – Ashley Suddes, Greenvale Arabella: BE90 section E – Kyla Cranston, Lisboy Clover Valley: BE90 section F1 – Gabrielle Macdonald, Menai Laurence: BE100 section H – Georgina Blackshaw, G Star II: BE90 section I – Emma Little, Alecon: BE90 section K – Cameron Swales, Machno Showtime: BEON u18 section N – Holly Clarke, Jubilee Party: BE100 section Q – Morgan Kent, Cairnview Romolu: BE100 section R – Holly Richardson, Ipache: BE100 section S – Sarah Rowell, Commodore.