Charley Adams reports
The final Aswanley Horse Trials was a great success with more than 200 competing in classes from BE80(T) to Novice. However, the event was tinged with some sadness. This year was the final British Eventing event at Aswanley as organiser Pamela Ingleby made the decision to hang up her boots. She has been running horse trials at Aswanley for 31 years, with 19 years of British Eventing at Aswanley.
Rachael Cross riding Sailles Lad won the BE90 regional final (Section A) to qualify for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup final on a score of 30.3. The pair recently competed at the Scottish Grassroots Eventing Festival at Blair Castle, and this will be their second trip to Badminton having competed in the final this year. Rachael, who has owned Salad for the last four years, also picked up the trophy for the best finishing score across the BE90 Sections.
She told Eventing Worldwide: “He is home produced, and we have mainly done working hunter but last year started Eventing where we qualified for Badminton. To qualify again this year is amazing! I still can’t quite believe we have done it two years in a row at the same event, even finishing on the exact same score! We’ve had an amazing year this year qualifying for the Royal International and HOYS for the workers and now for Badminton, it really is quite surreal for us. We have now got four weeks till HOYS so the preparation has well and truly started. He always seems to be one of the smallest ponies at events at just 14.2 but that doesn’t stop him as he seems to think he’s race horse storming round the cross country.”
Louisa Milne Home, winner of the BE100 Section E, said she was really pleased with how BallyLarkin Bouncer went.
Winning on a score of 30.5, she said: “It was Ballylarkins first competition of the year so I was really pleased with him, he just came out and got on with the job. The course as always was really educational with good ditches, waters and banks, so I was very pleased with how he tackled the cross country. Aswanley is a lovely venue so it will be very sad to lose it from next year’s calendar.”
Robert Clunas, winner of the BE90 Section D on Dash of Class finished on a score of 39.3. The pair has had a good run of form recently, slowly creeping up the top ten before taking a win at Aswanley.
He said: “We requested early times to make sure I was home in time for my partner’s birthday party – horse comes first and all that. By 7am we had walked the course and were tacking up for the dressage. Dash of Class or Tiny as she is ironically named was in season and rather tired after her weekend before. A very lazy and rather uninspired test was made good only by an outstanding free walk-her favourite bit. So a rather disappointing start.
On to the show jumping where we rolled a pole second to last because of the jockey getting a bit over excited…the end must have been in sight. The cross country was however a dream, she flew over every element with glee. Thinking we had gone to fast and with four to add to our dressage we washed down and packed up. Leaving Aswanley thinking we had a good day, I asked a friend to pick up my sheet. As we arrived home I checked my phone to see a few people had congratulated me. At this point I was still totally unaware, I had happily packed up and headed off missing my moment of glory as Tiny’s first ever win! Safe to say I would like to offer my apologies to the organiser and thanks to my friend for stepping in and picking up my ribbon. Lesson for next time – allow more time, Birthday parties will wait!”
Other section results;BE90 Section B Sophie Mcken, Blackwater Andy; BE90 Section C Mollie Green, Kirtle Harry; BE100 Open Section F Rebecca Johnston Harman, Jumble; Novice Section G Wills Oakden, Diarados Cheeky Boy; BE80(T) Section H Hannah Whyte, Dowhills Mr Harvey; BE80(T) Section I Erica Tait, Mister Athlone.