Bryony Skinner reports…
After the cancellation of the Norton Disney horse trials in April 2018, organisers and competitors were delighted when the sun shone over the three days of the October fixture, providing perfect eventing conditions for what was the final event of the season for many riders.
Over 595 combinations competed at the Lincolnshire event from Friday to Sunday; in classes ranging from BE80(T) to Novice, with the inclusion of a BE100 Regional Final, a BE100 under 18 section and a pony Open Novice section.
Winner of the BE80(T) section D, Rachel Clark, had a busy and successful weekend, competing on 4 horses and taking home 3 prizes. Rachel won the BE80(T) section D on the 16.2hh mare Moonstone Curtis, completing on their dressage score of 33.8. In the BE80(T) section E, Rachel added 2 x-country time penalties to a good dressage score of 29.5 to finish 4th with another mare, Okay Curtis. Rachel completed her weekend with a 10th place in the ON section S on Cryptic K Curtis.
Another successful weekend was had for Abby Corlett, who has returned from injury earlier this year and was the winner of the BE90 section O and the BE100 section I.
Abby won the BE90 section on The Real McCoy, completing on their dressage score of 27. Another double clear and very good dressage score of 24.3 saw her take the win in the BE100 section with Blue River. Abby commented:
“Blue River is a 12 year old gelding, has done 5 seasons of BE, he is a very complicated horse and it has taken a very long time to get the dressage good, he is a super show jumper as he’s so careful but XC he is such hard work, he has so much talent but is scared of everything, this season hasn’t been the best as I broke my arm last year and then he got kicked early this year so he had a total of 15 months off eventing and it took a few events to get back into the XC! But he was super on Saturday and it was a lovely course and a confident run and way to end this year! Next year we will keep building our XC confidence and hopefully get some good runs and maybe try and move up a level…… The Real McCoy is a super horse that turns his hand to anything, I have owned I’m since he was 4 and produced him myself. He did a few events as a 5/6 year old then I took two years out to do some working hunters with him that he was very successful in, He qualified for The Royal International Horse Show and HOYS both years! He also had quite a big break due to my injury so this summer I didn’t get to any qualifying shows so I decided to bring him BE, Norton Disney was his only event this year and he was amazing on Saturday and so much more grown up than the previous years so I’m excited to try some more events next season with him!”
Lizzie Baugh took the win in the BE90 Open Section V on the 16.1hh mare, All About Gold, adding 2 time penalties for being too fast on the x-country; to their dressage score of 23. Lizzie also piloted the 8yo gelding, Florus to take 3rd place in the Novice section P, completing on their dressage score of 29.8. A delighted Lizzie, who is taking up riding as a profession next year, and is looking forward to taking on more lovely horses to ride, commented: “All About Gold is owned by her breeder Jo Newton. I’ve been riding her for 4 weeks now and go over to Jo’s twice a week to do so. Jo rides her the rest of the time. She’s got such a lovely attitude and is so easy to do, as well as being talented! Hopefully next season she will continue her education and move up through the levels.
Florus is owned by Honor McFarlane, also a fairly new ride – he’s been with me for 4 weeks now. He absolutely loves his jumping and is so fun to ride cross country! He is another lovely character who is always keeping us entertained on the yard at home! Both courses rode very well and offered a good range of questions, which provided both challenge and education. The fences were presented and dressed beautifully and the going was perfect. I am absolutely thrilled with both of the horses today and could not have asked them for anymore.”
The scores in the BE100 section B were very close in the top ten, but the win was taken by Josh Haynes and No Reason, who added 4 showjumping penalties to their dressage score of 27.8, to end up 0.2 points ahead of the 2nd placed combination. Josh commented: “No Reason is a horse I have been riding for two years, produced slowly with his future in mind. This is his first season. We hoped to have done a few Novices, but due to the weather this year he hasn’t got the runs under his belt. He felt very confident and jumped well around a great course. I really like the event and love finishing there, especially finishing with a win! We plan to establish him at Novice level next year and keep moving up the levels as and when he is ready. A massive thank you to the support of his owners and the whole team who make it possible.”
JP Sheffield took 3 wins over the weekend; in the BE100 section H on CSF Olympic Lucy, the BE100 section C on Up On Stage, in the Novice section G on Future Gravitas, as well as a 2nd in BE100 section I on Midnight Blues. Breeders of Future Gravitas, Future Sport Horses, commented on their facebook page, “Future Gravitas on his way to WINNING the BE Novice at Norton Disney today with JP Sheffield Eventing. They delivered a fabulous 21.8 dressage test – with no less than four 9’s – and then made light work of the jumping phases, being the only horse in the section to finish on a score in the 20’s.
Future Gravitas has now won at Novice level, BE100 level and 5yr old Qualifier level.
A huge thank you goes to JP and his team for all the work they’re putting into Future Gravitas, and particularly to Charlotte who turned him out so beautifully and looked after him today.”
Izzy Laurence completed on her dressage score of 25.8 to hold a commanding lead in the BE100 Open Section J with the 15.3hh mare Whitney B. Izzy was pleased to get the mare a long deserved win and said “Whitney B is now 15 years and I’ve ridden her from 8 year old. She had just done some 100s and a couple of novices and she’s now intermediate. Last year she jumped double clear at every event including top 10 at Chatsworth 1*.
She is full of character at only 15.3hh has her quirks but has the biggest heart, more than her scope and would jump advanced if I asked her too, but I’d probably break her and I’d never want that!
This year has been an odd one for us with the weather/ground, me sustaining an injury and a broken lorry for 6 weeks. She ran the 100Open at Norton Disney for fun and to get our eye in before a final open Novice at Aston Le Walls.
I’m thrilled she got a win as she gives every event 100% and she’s been the bridesmaid or knocked down the leader board so many times because I wouldn’t be the fastest xc so I think this is her first official BE win. Although I tell her she wins everytime! Next season I’d love to start the season and run a few novices and maybe intermediates but ultimately it depends how she feels and also I’d love to have a foal from her before she’s too old because not only does she have the heart of a lion and trainable temperament, I really do adore her and she’s a horse of a lifetime for me.”
The BE100 RF was won by Jade Cannell and her own 15.2hh gelding, Got to Guess. Jade travelled from the Isle of Man to compete and was shocked and thrilled to take the win and her ticket to the Badminton Grassroots final in 2019. Jade commented:
“Marty is a 7 yo 15.2 gelding, who we’ve had since a 4 year old, we bought him as a ‘project’ but he’s turned out to be the horse of a lifetime and is now going nowhere. I’ve loved every moment of bringing him on whilst learning with him, and the qualification feels so special having watched him grow from an Irish gypsy trotter pony to this gorgeous event horse!
This year we made the step up to novice at Llanymenech horse trials, and although we had a blast I thought it would be best to have our final run of the season as a confident run, and it just so happened that Norton Disney had a regional final, never in a million years did I think we’d qualify! Norton Disney is one of the further away events we travel to, but is a firm favourite as the going is always good and was Marty’s first BE event back in 2016. The course rode really nicely, a straightforward inviting course, with a couple of questions to test our accuracy along the way. After a sticky moment at number 3, where Marty left a knee I realised that we needed to take more of an attacking approach to the course, and not take it for granted that it was so inviting, so a quick wake up call and we were away, all the distances were a perfect forward stride for my little lad, and the Norton Disney steps at 11 & 12 gave us an amazing feel. It was only once I’d dismounted after the finish that I heard my dressage score and realised we were in with a shout! This was a massive shock as I was convinced being first to go dressage was going to put us in a poor position.
As for next season I’m already so exited!! I’m hoping to get to the UK for some schooling before the beginning of the season, then to begin with a couple of runs at BE100 before Badminton, however this once again totally depends on the weather, especially early in the season, the wind often ruins our plans.
I would like to thank the Isle of Man steam packet company for their support, and my mum for carting me up and down the country.”
Lucy Scholl and Just Dunnit won the Novice section P with a score of 27.9, consolidating their successful season after previous wins at Catton Park and Allerton Park. Lucy said of Just Dunnit “He’s a 7yo Dun Gelding by Morgenstern GF. He was broken in as a 5yo and this is his second season eventing and 3rd Novice win this year! The course had a few difficult questions but I had a really nice round to end the season on. The ground was great. Next season I hope to do a CCI* and move up to Intermediate.”
Other winners: BE80(T) section E – Sophie Mann, Danesfort Boy; BE90 section M – Lucy Corlett, Escaday; BE90 section M – Sarah Batty, Silver Banner Girl; BE90 section T – Samantha Bebbington, Willoway Court Jester; BE90 section U – Jane Bolser, Bentley; BE90 section V – Megan Lewis, Murdoch IV; BE100 section A – Ruth Edge, Invito II; BE100Ou18 section L – Lucy Baguley, Charlie Go Go; Novice section F – Sarah Gairdner, Not Done; Novice section Q – Nat Dixon, Curolea Mika; ON section S – Nat Dixon, Vic; PON section R – Anna Martinez, Rathnaleen Roy.
Images Courtesy of Sue Westmoor