GB STUDENT RIDERS – SRNC Sweden (6-8th July 2018) Rosie Alcorn, Laura Birley and Sophia Ramsoy

The third SRNC of the season was held in beautiful Lund, Sweden. It was a brilliant weekend with perfect weather to top it off. The team of Rosie Alcorn, Laura Birley and myself (Sophia Ramsoy) represented team GB.

Laura and Rosie arrived early in Lund and set up the British camp in a classroom in a school about 15 minutes from the venue, Lunds Civila Ryttarförening. My flight from Edinburgh was delayed which meant I didn’t arrive until 2am when the party was very much in full swing and I had to find Rosie and Laura – who I’d never met before – in the crowd. After boogieing and getting a bit lost on the way home, we retired to bed in preparation for dressage the next day.
Dressage in the first round is a synchronised team test where we are marked individually on our horses but also on how well we stay together as a trio. After a disagreement with my horse just before the test, I was happy to keep him in trot for most of the test! I finished third on my horse whilst Laura, who did a fantastic job on her very rotund little horse, went through to the second round! Rosie was so unlucky to be beaten by less than 0.1 penalties which was gutting as she rode beautifully.

After a delicious lunch it was time for the second round. Laura was last to ride her horse and used this to her advantage by riding a foot perfect test. This was the start of a long wait for poor Laura as the results are announced on Saturday night at the gala.

Later that afternoon we were split into teams to play some midsummer games which involved a sack race, swinging a welly, and out of tune humming to name a few! It was then time to get ready to get ready for the theme party that night. The theme was ‘You are what you eat’ and we had decided to go as grapes which proved to take a lot of time and effort! Our costumes were short lived as the balloons were just too tempting for other teams not to pop and we headed to the party with very few grapes between us.

Saturday was the show jumping and we had a tough draw, being against the French and the Spanish. Rosie was first to go for our team and did a beautiful clear round but was again beaten by the smallest of margins. My horse threw a tantrum in the warm up and refused to jump anything, so it was decided that the course would be lowered for her three riders. I was second to go so had a tense wait for the final rider. She had another strop during her final round so I was through to the second round! Laura was last to go in our team and she did an amazing job of helping her very tired 5-year cob round the course but unfortunately was beaten.

We sampled some pickled herring and IKEA style meatballs for lunch and then it was time for the second round. I was last to ride the very exuberant Cash de Noi. He had a fence down with his first rider but Anastasia from Ireland and I both jumped a clear round so we had a tense wait until the gala that evening to find out who had gone through.

The gala dinner took place at a hotel about a 25-minute walk from the accommodation and so we saw some of the lovely university town of Lund. Laura, Rosie and I were dressed in red, white and blue without any planning! After some delicious food we found out that Laura had won the second round and so was through to the semi-finals! I was also through to the third round so we were delighted!

The next morning began with the show jumping and I had to ride Alex, a brother of Cash who I had already ridden in the second round and who was also being used for the semis. Tommy from Ireland (and overall winner) had two fences down and so even when I had the last fence down I knew I was through to the finals.

In the final I was second to go and went far too quickly on my horse, unfortunately lowering four fences. However, it was still all to play for as Dónal appeared to have a similar strategy and had had 5 fences down on his horse. We then swapped horses and I had two down whilst Dónal jumped a beautiful clear to be a very deserving winner. It was so completely unexpected to be in a final and I hope that if I get into one again, I manage to ride a bit better!

It was then time for the dressage semi final. Laura was first to ride a lovely little chestnut horse and did a beautiful job. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be as the second rider came out on top. However, Laura still finished a very respectable 4th place in the dressage.

We finished 5th in the dressage and fourth in show jumping and overall. After packing up our camp, it was time to travel back to the home. We temporarily lost Rosie as she travelled on a separate train but were reunited for a long wait at the airport as the flights were delayed again.

I want to say a huge thank you so much to the OC for putting on such a great event. The venue was fantastic, and it was a privilege to ride so many lovely horses. I feel so lucky to be part of the GB student riders as it has always been a dream to be on the squad since I first heard of it. It is such brilliant fun and a great opportunity to ride different horses and meet lovely people. SRNC Sweden was an absolutely fabulous weekend and I can’t wait for the next time!