The forecast for Poplar Park this weekend held true and a blast of cold wind under an overcast sky persisted. Enthusiasm for this popular event could not be dented by the weather and a full timetable of 7 sections ran on Saturday for the BE80Ts and BE90 competitors.
Sunday saw 3 sections of BE100 run alongside novice, open novice, intermediate, open Intermediate and advanced intermediate.
The grassroots and Novice sections were well supported however the Intermediate, Open and Advanced Intermediate sections had fewer entries.
Andrew Nicholson is surprised how few entries there were in these sections; he said, “The ground is always good here providing an opportunity for an early run. Where else would you find such a generous show jumping arena and plenty of challenges on the cross country course”.
Over the past year the organizer James Hardwick and his team have made significant investment in the cross country course. Andrew Nicholson commented, “The improvements were well received especially where the course has been opened up and the improvements to the water”.
Poplar Park is fortunate to have a loyal band of volunteers and is well supported by the public with in excess of 200 cars paying for entry over the two days.
The dressage is set well away from the jumping phases with a number of opportunities for warm up.
The arenas are built on a very gentle slope, the ground is so good here that at the end of the weekend the arenas looked as if they had hardly been used.
Lorries are parked on top of a hill with a horse walk down to the jumping phases, warm up being the other side of the large show jumping arena (grass).
The event provides a number of catering options adjacent to the show jumping arena and small trade stand area.
It was a clean sweep for Andrew Nicholson as he took each of the Intermediate sections today. MGH Grafton Street took the Intermediate section ahead of Sam Penn with Pusiden. Cross country time played its part with only Sophie Lee with Porters Hill home within in the time. Sam Penn picked up an expensive 20 penalties on the cross country to add to an otherwise impressive dressage of 27.1 to drop to 9th.
The 7 year old Swallow Springs took the open intermediate for Andrew Nicholson. This consistent combination were 9th at Le Leon last October at the Young Horse championships. His total of 22.1 penalties relegating Billy Landretti (Pippa Funnel) by a narrow margin, to second on 23.2 penalties (16.4 dressage with 6.8 time faults cross country).
Courage Under Fire (Katherine Coleman) looked particularly stylish across country and took third. Her good dressage of 21.8 being marred by a pole down in the show jumping to finish on 25.8.
Nereo posted a dressage of just 18.1 in the Advanced Intermediate section. After adding just 2.4 time xc he finished on 20.5 well clear of second placed Jet Set. Jet Set IV, Nicholson’s second ride finishing on a total of 32.4 penalties after adding 1.6 time to dressage of 30.8. Phoebe Buckley taking third on Jimmy Shoo some way off Andrew Nicholson on 40.2 penalties.
Report by Janice Hawes
Photos Courtesy of Lorraine Porter Photography