South West Rider Rankings
Top ranked riders in the South West announced
With the culmination of the 2015 British Eventing season, the winners of the British Eventing South West Rankings have been announced.
Organised by the British Eventing South West Region Working Group, under its Chairman Pattie Biden (the South West Regional co-ordinator), the initiative was launched at the beginning of this year. The intention being to reward consistently good performance at BE80(T), BE90 and BE100, raise the profile of participating Horse Trials and encourage competitors to enter BE events. The winners were presented with their prizes at an Award Ceremony held at the Aldon Horse Trials on Sunday 25th October 2015, the final day of the eventing season.
Ranking points were awarded to horse and rider combinations finishing in the top 25% of each section (based on the number of combinations starting the dressage) at 23 participating events, and following the final event at Aldon the winners were decided. In addition to the overall winners, training bursaries were offered in each of the three ranking sections, presented by the Nutwell Court Committee. The John Colson Under-21 Training Bursary was awarded to the highest-placed rider aged 21 or under on 31 December 2015 whilst the John Colson Senior Training Bursary was awarded to the highest-placed rider aged 50 or over on 31 December 2015.
John Foden, the organiser of the Land Rover FEI World Eventing Rider Rankings in the 90’s and currently part of the BE South West Working Group, says the idea for the British Eventing South West Rankings came about a couple of years ago. He said: “We wanted to attract more people away from unaffiliated event and give events held in the region some cohesion which is what we believe we have achieved. The Rankings are specifically for horse and rider combinations. Mainly because if somebody has multiple horses they could then score points at each qualifying event which would give them an unfair advantage. We decided it would be better for combinations for score points and it has been a great success. Entries at participating events have been very good and a lot of people have woken up to the rankings and are attending points scoring events to try and be successful. The training bursaries are in memory of John Colson, who was the organiser of Longleat and then Nutwell Court. His widow Jessica wanted to do something with the funds from the event and we came up with the training bursaries for under 21 and senior riders so this money was being put back into the sport. We intend to develop the Rankings further for next year and beyond. There are already ideas which the working group will discuss at their next meeting, with developments being announced in the New Year.”
By far and away, the winning combination in the BE80(T) section was Stacey Littlejohns and Churchpark Chaos. With a points tally of 234 they were 136 points ahead of their nearest rival. In 2015, the combination have three wins to their name – Bicton Arena (2), West Wilts (3) and Port Eliot – and have not been out of the top ten in their eight British Eventing outings. Stacey started eventing Chaos – a 16h3hh, nine year old blanket spot appaloosa, in 2013 but things didn’t go to plan and they went back to the drawing board, with her hard work now paying off.
She said: “With the help of the great late Caroline Creighton and some hunting we decided to help Port Eliot’s numbers last year as it was their first year running that I would take him along with my other horse. To my total and utter shock Chaos won and that was my first ever win at BE. So this season we thought we would have another go and took it event by event, not hoping for anything special. But to my surprise he has been rather fantastic and has brought a rosette home at every BE we attempted and won 3 of them. It has been wonderful winning the Rankings knowing I have the best BE80 horse in the South West. The rankings even made me travel further afield to events such as West Wilts and I have even put Chaos’ entries in before my now novice horses entries because I knew I was in for a chance of winning the awesome prize. Next year we are going to have ago at the BE90 Grassroots and see how we fair.”
Second place went to Jessica Rutter and MGH Coco, also winners of the under 21 bursary, whilst another young rider, Bella Balain and Merlino took third, with fourth going to Leanne Gibbs and Dunbeggan Coevers Diamond. The senior bursary went to Celia Bellamy and Toptime Taliesin.
The BE90 section was won by Lucy Jones and Becketts Word, with the pair also claiming the senior training bursary. Wins at Larkhill and Bricky alongside a further top ten placings, including second in the BE90 Regional Final at Port Eliot qualifying them for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup at Badminton next May helped them to victory. Second place went to Susie McGeorge and Horgans Mercury and Harriet Foale and Magical Legend who tied on points whilst fourth and the under 21 bursary went to Sadie Jones and Bertie Bluck.
There was a clear winner in the BE100 Section with Katie Hancock and Kilcandra Rambo Ray taking victory. The combination has had an extremely successful season and collected 274 points in the South West Rider Rankings. With six qualifying wins – at Aldon International (1), Portman, Biction Arena International (1), Bicton Arena International (3), West Wilts (3) and Bricky – and a handful of top 10 placings they had the victory sewn up before the final event of the year. The pair have qualified for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup at Badminton having won their regional qualifier at Port Eliot.
Second place went to Holly Wright and Minacks Maid and third to Jessica Acheson and Furthest Point. The Under 21 prize went to Lola Watts with Denys De La Mer (fourth) and Jo Boggon and Deelside Red Adair took the Senior Prize (fifth).
For full results, visit www.eventingsouthwest.co.uk.
Sarah Carless reporter at Large