Farley Hall offered a fantastic day for both riders and spectators alike for the second year running. The event hosted both Novice and BE100 sections including a heavily sponsored Intermediate Novice, an Amateur-Rider Novice section and junior classes. Both jumping phases were influential in the BE Novice classes with fence 6, a ditch-brush, causing many penalties and indeed a few falls in the morning with more riders taking the alternative option as the day wore on. Fence 9, a double of skinny brush roll tops also caused a few problems throughout the day which allowed the true cross-country horses to rise to the top. The ground was particularly good and was universally praised after benefitting from the change to the layout following last year’s event and better weather. It was certainly tight at the top of the £250 first prize Intermediate Novice which was sponsored by Farley Hall Equestrian Centre. Harry Meade in partnership with Tenareze stole the top honours after second placed Adam Harvey and Dassett Zoolander ran too fast cross-country dropping them just 0.1 penalty point behind first placed Harry Meade and Tenareze. Both combinations posted very impressive dressage scores of 22.1 and 19.8 respectively. Third place was filled by Lynne Scott and General Commotion.
Top honours in Precious Equine Novice section A went to Tristram Owers and SPS Braveheart who completed well ahead of the pack on their dressage score of 27.5. SPS Braveheart was bought from Andy Austin as a 4 year old and was then bought by Mrs Judith Toogood in order for Tristram to keep the ride on. “He hasn’t always been the most straightforward but when he is good he is very very good” commented Tristram who now hope for a late entry into Aske Hal intermediate. Helen Millichamp and Dunnes Hill finished in second after adding two cross country time penalties to their dressage score of 33.8. Charlotte Jeffes and Willows Patriarch completed the final three after jumping double clear on 33.8 but after having fallen foul of the cross-country time leaving them with 1.6 too-fast time penalties.
The Spotty Dog Company Novice Section B went to Julie Tew and Cooley Hillowan who competed just under seven penalties ahead of their nearest rivals of Neil Spratt and Valarchin. Hector Payne on Ironstein completed on their dressage score of 31 penalities to fill the final spot.
Dan Jocelyn on Southfork took the top honours in David Cliff Estate Agents Section C after adding just four dressage penalties to their dressage score of 28.5. They finished just 0.8 penalties ahead of Toby Pigott on Elise V who completed on 33.3. Jodie Amos and Direct Ballytarsna Ducarel also finished on 33.3 but were pipped to third due to their faster round cross-country.
Hotly fought Ameteur-Novice section D, sponsored by Louise Weir, was taken by equine vet Samantha Cutts and Piccola Diavola who added just 0.8 cross country time penalties to their dressage score of 32. Sam Cutts has a particularly strong relationship with Piccola Diavola who she has owned since a foal. “No one else has ever ridden her” commented Sam, “she is out of Piccola Star who is the mare who took me from pony club to 4*”. Sam is sponsored by Topspec who have been such a long term sponsor of Sam and her team that her ride Piccola Diavola has been fed their feed balancer from her moment of conception. Talk about brand loyalty! 0.2 penalties behind them lay Lily Blunt and Blue Boy II who completed on their dressage score of 33 whilst Lorna Young with Tubber Glory took third place after finishing on their dressage score of 34.5. Third place for this combination was particularly impressive as the gelding broke five spinal processes in his wither eighteen months ago and Lorna juggles eventing with a full time Law degree in London.
Tabitha Baird and Howick Stealth were victorious in section E which was sponsored by Nationwide after completing on their dressage score of 27 and Harry Meade’s weekend of good form continued after Mister Optimistic finished in second place in this section. Amy Crearer and Cooley Clonlaras took third position after adding a few jumping penalties to their impressive dressage score of 24.
Same Stride Novice Under 18 section was won by Laura Smith with Lizzie Shannon’s Killard Enigma who added just one pole to their dressage score of 26. “He’s sixteen years old but feels more like a six year old” commented Laura Smith, “I felt I had the best ride from Berry I have ever had, the course was bold and galloping with plenty of tests but lovely to ride as it was so beautifully presented”. The pair are now aiming for a CIC * before considering the move to Intermediate. Laura was quick to praise how supportive her owners are as well as her trainer Chris Hall who used to have the ride on Killard Enigma. Second place in this section went to Honor Barker and Lismany Lad who completed on their dressage score of 30.5 with Saffron Cresswell and Cuffesgrange Little Ric taking third position.
The BE100 course rewarded bold riding with problems occurring throughout the course but particularly at fence 6, a ditch palisade with an equally hefty sized brush box alternative, and at the water fence where Dan Jocelyn was unseated. An alternative had been offered to the wine-bottle skinny at fence 14 (which was a favourite with many eventing mothers!) which went unused throughout the day. The course was widely praised throughout the competition and heavily influenced the final results. The first BE100 section of the day, Spidge Photography section H, went to Denise Lambert and Williams Star who posted the unbeatable dressage score of just 17 penalties. This left them with several poles in hand over second placed Kathrin O’Connor and Marguerite Bart who added nothing to their dressage score of 28.8. Dan Jocelyn continued his weekend of good form to pilot Monbeg MC into third place on 32.3.
Horses in Sport section I was won by Louise Turner-Smith and Zonnette O A who completed just ahead of second placed combination Molly Heap and Dynamic II. Catherine Burrell and Milan completed the top three after adding one pole show jumping to their dressage score of 29.5.
Red Horse Products kindly sponsored Section J which was won by the on-form Tristram Owers with Ghareebs Sheen Falls Boy who posted a 25.8 dressage score which left them with pole in hand over second placed Laura Smith and Nortons Glen. Ghareebs Sheen Falls Boy was bought from Donal Barnwell as a four year originally to produce and sell but following signs of top-class potential was bought by Diane and Michael Beasley to allow Tristram to keep the ride. Laura Smith was celebrating the end of her GCSEs in style after also winning the Novice Under 18 class the previous day. James Foote and Curry Hero completed on their dressage score of 32.
The BE100 Open section was sponsored by the film Mission Impossible and throughout this section a remarkable number of cross-country time penalties were awarded for running too fast. Top honours went to Edwina Phipps after an impressive dressage mark of 22 allowed them the one time penalty in hand over second placed combination Catriona Kerruish and “seventeen year old come-back king” Courville B Z who posted a dressage score of 19 followed by a pole down show jumping and one time penalty across country. Courville B Z was strongly praised by his rider as “a total superstar … He is the come-back king from a broken jaw and cancer in his tendon sheath. It’s a miracle he is even still with us and he is now king of the yard and spoilt rotten”. Third place went to Kathryn Harris on B Tambourine Man who ran steadily cross-country and still ended up 20 seconds inside the time. Special mention to Jodie Wake and Nick of Diamonds who ran a full minute and 4 seconds under the time leaving themselves with a speeding ticket of 35 penalties.
Kathryn Harris was clearly having a good day after she took the top spot in Sport Horse Supplies BE100 section L whilst riding Cracker Jack II in addition to third place in the BE100 Open Section. She added nothing to her dressage score of 23 which left her just ahead of second placed combination Katie Thrower and Cavello Pip. Kathy Oliver and Ruxton Corona were left ruing their showjumping penalties after it dropped them from pole position to third despite a dressage score of just 20.3.
The second junior class of the event, the BE100 U18 class, was won by Gemma Wellings and Ricky Roller who completed on their dressage score of 30 penalties. 0.5 penalties behind lay Charlotte Harrison-Gates and Lafranco Larry whilst 12 year old Poppy Pugh and Chorleys Viscount completed in third place. This is Poppy’s first season doing affiliated eventing and she is aiming for Badminton after already amassing a total of 4 regional qualifications. “I loved riding the course, it was big and solid but flowed well, Victor was amazing and took it all in his stride!” commented Poppy Pugh who has owned the gelding for two years.
The final section of the day, the Mission Impossible BE100 Plus was won by Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp who posted an unassailable lead after a dressage score of 17.5 penalties and fault free jumping rounds. Alycia Port and Fontainita had to settle for second place after an equally impressive dressage of 23.3. Freddie Best and Kilkern Lux took third place after finishing on their dressage score of 29.3. The event is particularly good for spectators and families as the new layout meant all three phases were very accessible from both the lorry park and the secretary’s tent.
The event is especially suited for those with children as there was a bouncy castle available all day along with a veritable assortment of victualing options. The event was universally praised from the quality of the courses built, to the ground across all three phases to the thoroughly lovely BE volunteers who were all enthusiastic across the weekend. Roll on next year! Report by Sophie Rothbarth Photographs Courtesy of Dave Murray