Rika Nile Reports….
A sunny weekend graced Millfield Horse Trials in its second year of running, which after its success last year, gained extra competitors to give it the maximum amount of entries over two days of competition. Nearly 600 combinations ran over the BE80(T), BE90 and BE100 courses, which were all overlooked by the iconic Glastonbury Tor.
Suzie McGeorge made juggling a long work week as a small animal vet with eventing worthwhile after winning BE100 section M on Langarth Gwendolen. After their impressive dressage of [emember_protected custom_msg=’This content is only available to Members, to read more of this article please Join HERE or if you are a member please LOGIN‘]22.3 and double clear gave them enough leeway to add a few time faults on the cross country to their dressage score, the pair took the section ahead of Line Andresen and Bascy in 2nd, and Archie Lowe with Smashing Iris in 3rd.
Suzie, who also placed 5th in BE90 section I with Horgans Mercury, commented “Juggling riding around a 50 hour working week is tough and tiring at times, but I wouldn’t be able to do it without my Mum’s help. We were so pleased with Judith’s (Langarth Gwendolen) win as we hadn’t won an event together until this season and it’s our first BE100 win, so it has made all the hard work worthwhile.
“We have worked hard at her dressage and to get a 22.3 was our best result yet! This was our last event together as I have decided to sell her to hopefully have fun competing at grassroots with a new rider whilst I concentrate on some of our young home bred horses” Suzie added.
BE100 section N was won by Joanne Dudley and Spring Razzle Dazzle in their first BE event together. Finishing on their dressage score of 31.3, the top three were within one mark of each other, with 2nd place going to Kate Day and Ephesians Proverb on 31.8 and 3rd going to Jason Hobbs Kilcarna Roy on 32.3. Jason also claimed a top three placing in BE100 section O riding Rusticoats to take 2nd behind Alexander Bragg and Inaworldofmyown, who finished on their dressage score of 26.8 to win the section.
Talullah Bartlett and Tiggity Boo won the BE100 open for the second year running. Adding just 0.8 penalties to their 27.8 dressage score, the combination headed the section ahead of James Browning and Shannondale Chloe and George Pennington and Ballymitty Mac, who finished on 30 and 31 respectively.
A total of 10 BE90 sections ran, including the BE90 Open section D2 which was won by Althea Bleekman and Ragracho. BE90 section D1 was headed by Pippa Tucker and Rambo II, taking their second win of the season. Their 19 dressage score saw the combination lead from start to finish adding just a few time penalties, which still left them more than six marks ahead of 2nd placed Becky Manton and Mick Dundee III who finished on 27.8.
Another low dressage score in the BE90 sections was produced by Amelia Halley who rode Cymond Felicity to victory in BE90 section A. Their mark of 20 in the dressage phase meant that a rolled pole in the show jumping still left them in the top spot. BE90 section B was won by Natasha Dayment riding Hatheru Cappuccino whilst section C was taken by Stuart Nie and Ponte Vecchio.
Poppy Douglas-Johnson led from start to finish in BE90 section H, to finish on 25.5 with Last of the Moet, ahead of Hannah Bailey riding Rosewater Danny Boy who finished on 30.3. Judi Bristow-Roome and Brownscombe Felix produced one of only two sub 30 dressage marks in BE90 section I to win the section even with a pole added to their 25.3 dressage. 2nd placed Chloe Chamulewicz and Nolton Molasses were the other combination to make it into the 20’s with 29.3. Chloe also took 3rd place in BE90 section H riding Filo Tulabeg.
BE90 section J saw only one mark separating the top three. The top spot was taken by Jo Hayes and Quinnies Buster who finished on 30 after adding 4 penalties from the show jumping to their 26 dressage. Just 0.5 behind in 2nd place was Jo Boggon and Mrs Yates, whilst Lucy Wisher and Lacken Boy finished 3rd on a score of 31. The final BE90 section of the weekend, section K, went to Joan Bessex riding Kevin P who produced a foot perfect double clear to finish on their dressage of 31.3.
The Airowear sponsored BE80(T) sections were hotly contested and saw a few problems on the cross country across the three sections. Section E was won by Alexandra Broome who finished on their 29 dressage score, just 0.2 penalties ahead of Suzanna Maunder riding Just Nicholas, who added just one time penalty to their 28.8 dressage to just miss the win.
BE80(T) section F was won by Henrietta Verschoyle and Brendonhill Bon Chance, who jumped a double clear to finish on 26.3, over four marks ahead of 2nd and 3rd place who both finished on 31 and went to Martin Bluck with Mr Moonshine Man and Margaret Best with Miss Tia respectively. BE80(T) section G was won by Rochelle Wilson and Sven Comer Q.
A highlight of the weekend which sent ripples of both admiration and inspiration through the eventing community was return of Hannah Francis to BE competition. The 18-year-old, who is battling with bone cancer, completed the BE90 Open on her super mare Mavis (Violet VI), alongside Willberry Wonder Pony, who was there with her from start to finish.
Hannah told Eventing Worldwide: “Never in a million years did we think I’d ever be able to ride again this year let alone fly around a BE, so the way it felt to compete at Millfield honestly cannot be put into words, it was just phenomenal, especially to have so many people supporting me too.
“I really was dreaming big when I said I’d event again but thanks to the most incredible eventing community by my side I’ve been able to fight hard and never give up on the absolute love of my life. Thank you to everyone who’s stuck by me in my mission of #kickingcancersbutt. It means the world.”
Photographs courtesy of Tanzy Lee