EVENT REPORTS – Chilham Castle

Kc Hains reports…

The beautiful landscapes designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown were the backdrop to a busy two days of competition at Chilham Castle for their second fixture of the 2018 season. The Canaccord Genuity International Horse Trials saw competitors compete across sixteen sections ranging from BE80 to Novice with both a 4 and 5 year old class and topped off by an exciting CIC* line up. 

An excellent opportunity for both amateurs and professionals alike to enjoy this fabulous event with a real international feel. Competitors also enjoyed incredible ground conditions across this expansive parkland following a huge amount of preparation by the organisers, including almost 45 tonnes of sand being dedicated to take offs and landings. The weather conditions were somewhat different to  the high temperatures and sunshine we have become accustom to, the much needed rain made an appearance bringing with it some high winds and much cooler temperatures, a welcome relief to many. 

Austin O’Connor enjoyed a successful competition with four horses entered, winning the KBIS 5yo class by 2.8 penalties, finishing on his dressage score on the impressive 16.2 gelding by Cash Point, Money Talks III, who certainly looks to be one for the future. Austin added to his success coming away with a win in the BE100 adding just 2 time faults to his dressage on the 6 year old mare, Limbo II.  

Iain Monk whose day involved a considerable amount of juggling with three horses running in the BE90 class, took the win in section A on his own Lyfield Caradean, whom he has owned since a 4 year old. 

“It was a very emotional win” says Iain, “This was her first time in a BE90 class and Cara (Lyfield Caradean) was diagnosed with gastric ulcers back in May so I never thought I would get her back out competing. But with lots of hard work we have managed it and she is back on top form.”

The BE80(T) was hotly contested, with Janet Philips taking the win from Bethan Griffin in section F by just 0.1 penalties finishing on her dressage score on the 14.3 gelding, Mozaik. 

Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp enjoyed two wins from her three rides, taking the Novice section I by 3 penalties finishing on her dressage score of 27.8 on the 6 year old Cooley Moonshine. The second win coming in the BE100plus with Cooley Copresenter finishing on their dressage of 29.8. However Melissa Joannides was hot on their heels with her ride Ashford Cleave Little Man, at just 14.2 he was stepping up a level for the first time, the pair also finished on their dressage score of 29.8, having to settle for 2nd place due to being just a few seconds further away from the optimum time of 5 minutes 29 seconds.

It was a weekend of overcoming adversity for Lucy Gasston who was entered with her two horses Smart Colours and Nelgorde Naheez. 22 year old cob Smart Colours (Smartie) proved that age is just a number by winning the BE90 section C adding nothing to his dressage of 25.5, whilst Nelgorde Naheez (Red to his friends) was not going to be shown up by his stable mate and took the win in the BE100open on his dressage of 27.5. 

“A double win was awesome” said Lucy, “but even more so to think that to the day four years ago we thought we would never see the day both horses were ridden again”. 

Whilst travelling to Chilham in 2015 their trailer was hit by an arctic lorry which over turned the trailer, with both horses inside. Smartie was trapped inside the trailer, whilst Red – who has previously competed internationally with Lucy – broke free and actually galloped for 2 junctions of the motorway before being caught and sedated. He required almost 40 stitches to just his leg alone, and a return to competition has understandably been a long process.

“A year later he started walking” recalls Lucy, “I hope to one day get him back to Novice but it’s all about doing things in his own time. He certainly has nothing to prove and we are all incredibly lucky to be able to ride him again and to have walked away from the accident”.

An incredible achievement to return to Chilham 3 years later and win with both horses.

The CIC* was an especially grand spectacle, with the dressage occurring on Saturday on the lawns in front of Chilham Castle, the Show Jumping overlooking the incredible Wye Valley and the 20 cross country jumping efforts spread amongst the beautiful mature parkland. The grandeur of the occasion certainly did not affect Nat Dixon and her mount Vic’s ability to perform, coming away with a convincing win around a testing track finishing on their dressage of 33, making up one of just four double clears in this true International test. 

Other section winners:

BE90 Sec A – Iain Monk / Lyfield Caradean – 32.0
BE90 Sec B – Lauren Davis / The Grand Artist – 31.9
BE90 Sec C – Lucy Gasston / Smart Colours – 25.5
BE90 Section Open D – Melissa Joannides / Crann Bob – 24.5
4 Year Old Section D1 – Katie Prowse / Clashgannon Way – 30.8
BE80 Section E – Alice Mayne / Kilbegs Been Dun – 30.8
BE80 Open Section F – Janet Philips / Mozaik – 30.8
CIC* – Nat Dixon / Vic – 33.0
Novice Section H – Caroline March / Macgregor – 33.8
Novice Section I – Elizabeth Halliday-Sharpe / Cooley Moonshine – 27.8
Open Novice Section J – Rebecca Howard / Trebor – 41.5
Be100 Section J1 – Elizabeth Halliday-Sharpe / Cooley Copresenter – 29.8
5 Year Old Section K – Austin O’Connor / Money Talks III – 25.5
BE100 Section L – Austin O’Connor / Limbo II – 25.8
BE100 Section M – Tom Crisp / Don Alfabio – 26.0
BE100 Open Section N – Lucy Gasston / Nelgorde Naheez – 27.5