Sarah Carless reports…
The third British Eventing competition of the year at the Maxavita Little Downham Horse Trials covered the full spectrum of affiliated classes and saw first time winners as well as more experienced combinations topping the leaderboards. 
The popular Cambridgeshire event attracted xxx horse and rider combinations over three daysn of competition, with included regional finals for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup at both BE90 and BE100.
The winner of the BE90 Section E Regional Final was Joanne Masterson with Darc Legend. It was the combination’s fifth win this year having started at BE80(T) at the beginning of the season. Joanne has three horses qualified for the BE90 Mitubishi Motors Cup having qualified two other horses – Churchside Marble and Chilham Temple at the Regional Final held at Prestwold Hall. In the BE100 Section K Regional Final, victory went to Julia Rogers and Majestic Drifter – the combination’s only British Eventing outing this year.
Whilst BE90 Section A was eventually won by David Ashby and Ivanstown, it was second placed Casey Parker who caught the attention of the judges in the dressage. Riding Eeyore DS, the combination scored a staggering 10 penalties.She said: “I’m still amazed by our score. He performed a lovely test but I couldn’t believe our score. We brought him from Evo Sport Horses in Holland as a four year old just broken in. He’s a total joy to own with a lovely personality. Last year we competed BD as he was still weak, young and gangly at 17hh and we were part of the silver medal winning team at the BD Home International. He started eventing in June which he really enjoys. We represented Carleton RC and were a member of the winning 90 team at BRC horse trials championships.”
There were many notable winners at Little Downham Horse Trials ranging from first timer victors to combinations continuing their good form this season. Novice Section M was won by Elisabeth Halliday Sharp on Castana Bay. It was the pairings second win but their first at Novice. In BE100 Section H, the win was taken by Anna Goodley. Riding Headstart, the pairing have not been out of the top four placings at affiliated events this year. Matthew Earith was the victor in BE100 Open Section I with Downtown Cally. It was the combination’s second event together and their second win. Rachel Laura Kellett was the winner in BE90 Section C. Riding Killountain Liath First, it was the combination’s first affiliated event at this level and their second win on the trot having wonm event at 90 second win on a trot following their victory in the BE80(T) at Keysoe in August. And Amy Bird and JigJog claimed the win in BE80(T) section F at their first affilated competition.
Georgie Strang picked up a brace of wins. Her first was in the Open Novice Section R with Cyber Rocket, and this was followed up with voctory in Open Intermediate Section T on Cooley Earl Second. It was her second win on the horse having previous won the Open Intermediate at Wellington International Horse Trials in August. Caroline Powell was another rider to pick up a duo of victories. Thye New Zealander took victory in Novice Section N with Erco Polo B, and won again in Intermediate Section S with Sinatra Frank Baby, the horses second victory this year at this level having won at Burgham International Horse Trials in July.
The Childeric Advanced class attracted a truely international field, with a prize fund of £500. The winner was Izzy Taylor on board Be Touchable, the horse with which she won the CCI** at Ballendenisk last month. They were awarded £200 for being the highest placed fist time advanced horse. There were a number of other special prizes in the Advanded section. New Zelander Tim Price won £100 for being the leader after the dressagen with Wesko, who finished second overall behind Izzy; Susie Berry, who finished seventh on Carsonstown Athena, was awarded £200 for being the highest placed rider not to have completed a CCI**** in the last five years, and Bill Levett’s 15.3hh Natasha VII, with whom he finished 12th, was presented with the Little Tiger Trophy by Dr Polly Taylor for being the smallest horse to complete. 
The event also saw the culmination of the Protexin Equine Premium Novice Accumulator. The accumalator – with a prize fund of £1,500 – has ran across all three British Eventing competitions at Little Downham with points being awarded to combinations finishing in the top ten. After the final Novice section was completed on Monday, the £600 first prize was won by Katharine Mason and Arabian, who collected 18 points over the three events. Katherine also claimed the £100 prize for the best under 18 rider. She said: “It was a bit of a shock and I’m obviously very pleased. I only got him late spring and I had lots of help from the Pony Club in the early days and recently from the under 18 programme. And that is really what got us here today.” Second place in the series went to Izzy Taylor and Bugbrooke and Emma Dougall and Fernhill Ferro, with bot combinations finishing just a single point behind Katherine.
Maxavita has been the title sponsor at Little Downham Horse Trials for a number of years, but the company will be stepping down at the end of the year. Sarah Skillin, PR and Sponsorship for Little Downham Horse Trials, commented: “Maxavita have been our title sponsors for a number of years and have continued to support the event with some lovely prizes. However we will be sad to see them step down from their title sponsorship at the end of the year. We would like to extend our thanks to them for all of their support to date. We are incredibly grateful to all of our sponsors as the sport and events such as ours couldn’t run without them. Tigga’s Saddlery provided £50 vouchers to the winners of every BE100 section this year and Ames Nissan and Lettergold have continued their support of eventing and Little Downham for a further year. Not to mention Gatecare who choose to support Little Downham alongside their tradestands at Badminton and Burghley. Initiatives such as the Protexin Accumulator are important to the sport and we very much hope to be able to build on its 2015 success to bring further sponsorship of this nature to the sport in 2016. We are also very much indebted to our army of volunteers. Running the full complement of classes on such a small site does demand an awful lot of work and an even larger volunteer force, so we are truly humbled at the level of support we continue to receive from our loyal supporters and helpers.” 
Other section winners at Little Downham (3) were: BE90 Section A David Ashby, Ivanstown; BE90 Section B Jemima Upton, Liscannor Tulira; BE90 Open Section D Sharon Hunt Loughnatousa Mac; BE80(T) Section G  Kate Atkin, Piltown Nell; BE100 Plus Section L Jasmine Roach, Johnny Cash; BE100 Under 18 Section J Heidi Coy, Royal Fury; Open Novice Under 18 Sec O Zara Lye, Jana De Cavaignac; Novice Section Q Emma Dougall, Fernhill Ferro Clover; Novice Section P Rebecca Gibbs, Broke The Bank II; BE100 Section V India Thompson, Ramesses B.

Photographs courtesy of Lorraine Porter

Sunday BE100

Sunday Novice

Monday Novice

Monday Intermediate

Monday Advanced

Monday BE100

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