Sarah Wells-Gaston reports ..
Basked in Autumnal sunshine, nearly 500 competitors descended on West Wilts for its traditional September fixture.
John Westmore and Silver Striker struck gold as they topped BE90 Open Section M with a winning score of 10 (that’s not a typo!) – a 15.8 penalty winning margin. John also piloted Oughterard Quality to victory in BE100 Section P.
Shelby Dowding and Peasedown Agatha were victorious is BE80(T) Section Q with a winning score of 21.5. Shelby has owned the 13-year-old Mare since she was a three-year-old with the aim of competing in Mountain and Moorland Working Hunter Pony classes. However, an alternative career beckoned when she gre too big.
Shelby told Eventing Worldwide: “We started doing dressage – she has competed up to BD Medium level and training at Advanced Medium and has been to the BD Nationals three times. As dressage was our main focus over the years she has only done a handful of unaffiliated ODE’s including winning at the BRC Horse Trials Champs in 2018. Now she is 13 I wanted to have a go at some BE events. She came 7th at Offchurch Bury in July which was our first BE. She was brilliant at West Wilts in all three phases and is definitely enjoying her new job. Our next outing is Broadway in October. My aims with her are to hopefully qualify for the Burghley BE80T champs next year and also step up to BE90 with the longer term aim of the Badminton Grassroots championships.”
Abi Wallis Castle picked up her first ever BE win with Cavalier Captain in Novice Section C. Abi has been riding Captain for three years and last year the pair won both the team and individual British Riding Clubs Intermediate Winter Show Jumping championships representing Solihull Riding Club and also represented British Riding Club in Ireland at the AIRC Festival in Ireland.
She told Eventing Worldwide: “I was so excited and overwhelmed to win. I made the move from working on a dairy farm to running my own livery yard in Warwickshire at the start of March. This has given me more time to work with my horses and it’s really starting to pay off. I couldn’t be more proud of Captain as he was just foot perfect from start to finish. Finally, each phase fell in to place giving us the win. I’m incredibly grateful to David Evans the owner for all the opportunities he has given me on this horse and my mother Emma for everything she has done to get me here. We are off to Keysoe 2*s in two weeks and we are very excited after this weekend.”
Elise Cadman has produced seven-year-old Imre Vera and her work paid off with victory in BE100 Section N. It was the pair’s fourth top ten finish of the year as they prepare to compete in grassroots championships regional final in a couple of weeks’ time.
Elise told Eventing Worldwide: “It was a great day at West Wilts – she did an amazing dressage, a lovely clear round show jumping followed by a great cross country. The course can be tricky and a few had issues but Santana flew round and I couldn’t have asked for a better round. I was so happy to finally get our first win. We have the grassroots finals in a couple of weeks at Bricky and then we are aiming to move up to Novice level.”
Fifteen year old Lily Jessup piloted Wottonheath Private Ryan to victory in BE100 Section O. She has owned the 14.2 gelding for two years, and has always dreamed of riding around Badminton and competing for Great Britain.
She told Eventing Worldwide: “Captain is such a special pony and I am lucky to have him. We’ve been training with Robin Dumas at Rosamund Green Farm for the last year. We’ve improved so much under his instruction, Milly has also been a fantastic help and I look up to her so much. Our aim is to get to Novice in the near future and progress to Pony Trials next season. I’m over the moon to place first at West Wilts and we’re looking forward to competing at Bricky 105 in a few weeks time.”
In 2019, Emma Sutton placed third at the Mitsubishi Motors Cup BE90 Championship with Coltstown Glider, who she has owned for seven years. And West Wilts marked their first BE competition since, with the pair picking up victory in BE90 Section J.
Emma told Eventing Worldwide: “I kept Joey in work through lockdown so I was really looking forward to having a day out with BE. We just love the whole experience of Eventing. It felt amazing to be back out doing what we love, especially to feel the cross-country buzz again. The judge at West Wilts stopped me after my dressage test, commenting on how ‘charming’ Joey was and she loved his blue and white colouring. We are going to Weston Park next for the Team Challenge, which I think will be great fun. Joey is my one in a million, pride and joy, so our aim is to enjoy every minute together but we are competitive so always strive to be the best we can be.”
Other section results: Novice Section A David Doel, Reybridge River Congo; Novice Section B Daisy Berkeley, Diese Du Figuier; Open Novice Section D Jaymee Savill, Independent Johnny; Intermediate Novice Section E Jason Ferguson, Shannondale Warren; BE100 Section F Hope Pleydell-Bouverie, Glenkeeran Willow; BE100 Section G Alicia Hawker, Hazy Dream; BE100 Open Section H Sarah Gordon, Clonleigh Strike; BE90 Section I Karina Collins, Just Dylan; BE90 Section K Caroline Wilkinson, Jolly Jupiter; BE90 Section L Jonny Lee, Delhurens Upsey Daisy; BE80(T) Janine Collishaw, Ballygriffin Bonbon.