EVENT REPORTS – Bishop Burton College

Rika Nile reports ..

Just seven weeks after Bishop Burton College held the prestigious FEI European Championships for Ponies, they transformed the event and course back to its grassroots courses ready for two days of eventing in their final fixture of the year, Bishop Burton (2). Classes ran from BE90 to Novice including under 18 sections, with the courses incorporating some of jumps used at the Pony Championships in August for competitors to take on. 

14-year-old Holly Clarke rode seasoned campaigner Red Dandy to a win in BE100open u18 section A, after adding nothing to their 31.3 dressage score. Holly, who is an active member of the Meynell Hunt Pony Club, only took over the ride on Red Dandy in December, after he was previously campaigned by this year’s Pony European Gold Medallist, Saffie Osborne.  

“This win means a lot, as we’ve been so close all season but this time we have finally taken the win! We were 3rd at Bishop Burton (1) so this time I was determined to do better,” Holly said.  

“Dandy is owned by Lucy Robinson, who came with us that day also winning her section! I have learnt so much from both Lucy and Dandy, and he has helped me to make the step up to BE100, and is now teaching me the step up to Novice.” 

“I would like to thank everyone at Bishop Burton for the wonderful ground, course and organising, and also Jane and Lucy Robinson, and my friends and family for their endless support,” Holly added. 

Red Dandy’s owner Lucy held the top spot in BE100 section C with Silvio Berlusconi, finishing on their 28.5 dressage mark, ahead of Willa Newton with Quba, and Zoe Brenan with Golden Gun UK who were 2nd and 3rd respectively. Lucy’s success over the weekend continued as she also collected a win in the OIu21 at Little Downham (3) on RLE French Clover, coming 5th in the same class on Cosmic Charm. 

The other BE100 sections were also well contested, with section M being won by Eric Hockney and Eddie Splash, who finished on their 35.5 dressage, and section N being won by Carole Dennis, after adding just 0.8 time faults to her 31 dressage with Sonnet To Shannon.  

The best dressage mark of the weekend came from the final BE100 winner Hayden Hankey, who took the top spot in section B with Eclipse Bay. The combination finished on an impressive 19.3 dressage score on the horse’s BE debut, with a convincing 6.5 penalty lead over 2nd placed James Sommerville with G Star, with Hayden and his second ride Henrys Diamond Point finishing 3rd 

The first of four BE90 sections, section I, had the closest finishing margin of the weekend, which was won by Hannah Marley and Barnaboy Paddy, after they finished on their 31.5 dressage score. They took the top spot from 2nd placed combination Chloe Fairley and Skelton Beth, who also finished on their 31.5 dressage mark, as they were two seconds closer to the 5.11 optimum time for the BE90 tracks. BE90 section K had a close finish, with just 0.5 of a penalty separating winner Hannah Caley, with Krafty Bertie, and 2nd placed Sarah Dale with Belville Clover.  

The win for section K winner Hannah was particularly special due to her history with the venue, as well as a family connection. 

A win at Bishop Burton means a lot to me as my grandfather was the principal of Bishop Burton College for 21 years, from 1964 to 1985 and sadly died before I was born. As a child competitor, I first competed at Bishop Burton representing Holderness Pony Club in the Helen Crockett which was held over the BE pre-novice course, when I was 13. As a young teenager I did a few eventing events but I stopped riding when I was 16,” Hannah explained.  

“I got back into riding 6 years ago, after a 10 year break. It was always a dream of mine, to be good enough ride around Bishop Burton’s BE course again, as it is such a special venue to me. For a couple years I did the BE training days at the venue, and 2 years ago I plucked up the courage to enter Krafty Bertie in the BE90.” 

Hannah purchased the 8-year-old gelding direct from his breeder in Ireland, Jenny Hunt in 2015, after previously owning Bertie’s full brother, who now events to 3*. 

“Bertie and I mainly show jump as I also run a livery yard and produce a few horses for sale and we don’t have time to dedicate fully to eventing. Bishop Burton is our local venue, and we are also active members of White Rose Riding Club. Bertie came 6th representing them in the 90 ODE earlier this year. 

“I feel Bertie’s 2019 season needs to involve a lot more eventing than I can participate in, but if I do still have him next year then we will definitely take part in the Yorkshire Challenge at Frickley, as that looks like a wonderfully exciting course, and it would be nice to see if we could qualify for the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championship.” Hannah finished, also thanking her sponsor Kathy Boyer of KB Equine Therapy, and her father for his continued support. 

Another rider who is familiar with Bishop Burton as an event, is BE90 section J winner, Derbyshire based Anne Bondi. Anne collected her second consecutive win with her 8-year-old gelding, Avalon Sunset B, after they remained on their 23 dressage mark.  

“I have been coming to Bishop Burton since they first started holding events here, so I know it rather well! I have watched the college and facilities grow into the impressive set-up that it has become. The event is always well-run and friendly. The footing in the show jumping arena is excellent and the undulations in the cross country make it a great educational opportunity for the horses at each stage of their careers,” Anne commented. 

Previously a professional event rider before a rotational fall caused life-changing injuries, Anne now competes as an amateur alongside running her saddle manufacturing business, Solution Saddles.  

“At Bishop Burton ‘Ava’ felt easier to ride and more focused and I could really feel how much he has progressed in the 2 years that I have been riding him. I bought him as a very green 6-year-old from Vere Philips, who spotted him in Ireland. He came straight from the breeder, Andrea Etter at Belmont House Stud,” Anne, who is also the founder of the Saddle Research Trust, explained. 

“I had been looking for a good horse for a very long time. I am incredibly fussy about what I will ride – they have to be kind, intelligent, brave, good jumpers, safe and above all, very sound. I want to keep this horse so I won’t rush him in any way.” Anne finished. 

 Other section winners: 

BE100plus section D: Louise Oldroyd – Full Throttle II 

Novice section E: Sally Butler – Tregida 

Novice section F: James Sommerville – Brackenspa Bramble 

Open Novice section G: Harriette Howard – Maverona Man 

Open Novice under 18 section H: Brianna TweddallLisboy Buachaill 

BE90 section L: Liz Wilson – Eye Down 

BE100open section O: Francesca Richardson – Drakes Drum II