Report by Sarah Ginn
April 22nd marked the first day of competition for the once annual fixture – ‘Symm International Horse Trials’ held on the Hambleden Estate, now in its seventh year of sponsorship from the Symm Construction Company.
With the start of the 2016 Event Season being plagued with abandonments due to the good old English weather it was a delight to hear that the officials had given the go ahead to Friday’s competition and BE100 competitors could enjoy taking the scenic route xc through Hambleden’s infamous bluebell wood once more.
Despite the best efforts of the organisers consistent showers on the Friday led to the decision overnight to cancel all of Saturday’s competition with only the CIC 1* dressage taking place. Saturday’s abandonment led to disappointment for over 270 horse and rider combinations across 8 Novice and 100+ sections. To the credit of the organisers competition resumed on the Sunday with only 32 withdrawals before the dressage phase and slippery conditions XC making the optimum time hard to reach.
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Emily Llewellyn topped the leader board in Section A of the BE100 making it ‘2 wins in 2 runs’ so far this season with 6 year old stallion ‘For Vehlage’. Since July 2015 the pair have completed 7 runs and are yet to finish outside of the top 10 with consistent sub 30 dressage scores. They finished on their dressage score of 28.3 and were one of only 4 competitors in this section to finish inside the optimum time of 4 minutes 32 seconds, For Vehlage will now step up to Novice level at their next event. A score of 26 was enough to put Tom Jackson in joint first position after the dressage with ‘Santana II’ but a costly 2.4 penalties cross country for going too fast meant that they missed out on 1st place by just .1 penalties. Special mention goes to Briony Simpson and ‘Wonham Two Socks’ who equalled Tom’s impressive 26 dressage score in this section but unfortunately had to withdraw before the XC. In third place Nicolas Astier took home one of 5 top 10 placings out of 6 horses running at Hambleden with ‘For Fun Es’. The duo completed with a score of 29.8 and were one of only 3 combinations in this section to finish on their dressage mark. The third pairing to finish on their dressage score were 14th place duo Penelope Richmond – Watson and ‘Ballinagore Chance’, they finished bang on the optimum time completing on their dressage score of 40.3.
In Section B Bettina Hoy riding ‘Classic Mai Tai’ lead from the dressage adding just 1.6 penalties cross country to their score of 23.5 to finish 5 points clear at the top. Dan Jocelyn on board ‘Fjury’ were one of only 4 pairings to come home inside the time XC and had nothing to add to their dressage score of 31 for second place. It was déjà vu for Daniel Griffiths and ‘Cooley River’ who completed on their dressage score of 31.8 with an identical score to that of their Goring performance in the BE100+ two weeks prior. Their performance at Hambleden was enough to clinch them the third spot, 7 places higher than at Goring. Fence 6 seemed to be causing a few problems cross country with three riders retiring or eliminated at this fence.
Section C saw a 31 point difference between the highest and lowest scores in the dressage phase with regular BE100 campaigners Caroline Hawkins and ‘Kilbawn Lad’ leading the section from the dressage with their impressive score of 20.5. Their lead in the dressage and subsequent problems in the jumping phases for many competitors meant that even with two poles in the show jumping they won the section on a score of 28.5. The duo are fairly used to making headlines in the dressage phase, most notably when they scored a ‘15’ dressage in the BE100 at Upon House last year. Christopher Burton and ‘Firefly’ added just two seconds over the optimum time XC to their dressage score of 28.5 for second place. Denise Lambert and ‘Williams Star’ finished their first run of the season in third adding just one pole show jumping to their dressage score of 26.
Daisy Berkeley and ‘Midsummer Picnic’ clinched the top spot in Section D of the BE100 Open also finishing their first run of the season on their leading dressage score of 23. Section D proved a competitive section with 15 pairings making the optimum time XC, 23 double clears and the top 7 all finishing on their dressage scores. The battle for second and third was fierce with Paulina Swindells and ‘Rhymers Glen’ and Lauren Stanley and ‘Dry Old Party’ both finishing on their dressage scores of 28.5. Paulina and ‘Rhymers Glen’ clinched the runners up position with their XC time of 4 minutes twenty eight seconds being closer to the optimum time.
Lorna Daniel and ‘Orions Alibi’ were the victors in Section E and one of only two combinations to finish on their dressage score in this section, they were in joint second place after the dressage but had nothing to add from the jumping phases. Sam Penn and ‘Burntwood Sorrel’ who won the BE100 at Munstead in March had to settle for second place today when they added 4.8 penalties from the jumping phases to their leading dressage score of 27.8. BE first timer ‘CSF Vivendi Vie’ and his rider Sarie Weaving made a great start to their eventing partnership taking home the third spot with a confident 30.5 dressage and just 2.8 penalties to add XC.
Amelia Thomson and ‘I Que’ finished 1st in Section F completing on their dressage score of 31 with their best score to date and their first top placing. In second position Zara Tindall on board ‘Taloubet Boy K Z’ added 2.8 penalties XC to their dressage score of 28.8 to finish just .6 penalties shy of the leaders. Daisy Berkely took the fourth of four top ten placings during Hambleden weekend this time on ‘Piers Gaveston’, finishing in third place with just one pole to add to their dressage score of 29.
In Section G Georgie Spence and ‘Calvin II’ led from the dressage with a 25 score and nothing to add in the jumping phases leaving them clear at the top by 4 penalties. 2nd place combination of Annabel Murphy and ‘Black Jack Van Nova’ added just 2 seconds cross country to their dressage score of 28.3 to finish the day on 29.1. In third position Nicolas Astier and ‘Babylon de Gamma’ added 5 seconds time XC to their dressage score of 32.3 for a 34.3 final total.
Saturday/ Sunday competition
In Section P of the CIC 1* competitors were relieved when dressage on the Saturday was allowed to continue and competition resumed on the Sunday. Overnight leaders Paul Tapner and ‘Wickstead Kangaroo’ added a costly 16 penalties show jumping to their dressage score of 38 to drop them out of contention for a top placing. Georgie Strang and ‘Cyber Rocket’ who were in second place after the dressage with a score of 41.9 added just 3.6 penalties XC to their dressage to top the leaderboard by a confident 7 point margin. The jumping phases in this section proved very influential with only 4 double clears, no competitors making the time XC and 10 combinations either retiring or adding jumping penalties from a spread of fences in the XC phase. Harry Dzenis and ‘Cruise A Crosstown’ who were in third place after the dressage added 10.4 penalties from the jumping phases to their dressage score of 42.1 for second place and their best placing at this level to date. Third place went to Alexander Whewall and ‘Edyvanta’ who achieved a PB dressage score at this level (46) adding just one pole show jumping and 4.8 time XC for a total score of 54.8.
Caroline March and ‘Barrichello’ were the only competitors across both CIC 1* sections to finish on their dressage score. They led from the off in Section Q with their winning dressage total of 41.4 and ‘Barrichello’ living up to his name by posting the fastest time XC (Rubens Barrichello, racing driver). In only their second outing as a competitive partnership Nicky Hill and ‘MGH Bingo Boy’ added one pole show jumping to their dressage score of 43.5 to finish on 47.50 for second place. In their first outing at Weston Park 2 weeks ago they won the Intermediate at Weston Park and are proving fairly formidable so far this season. In third place Laura Smith and ‘Killard Enigma’ improved on their 10th place in the 1* at Great Witchingham in March with a 44.8 dressage and 4.4 time to add XC. Only 4 pairings completed with a double clear in this section and the steps down at Fence 10 seemed to be causing a few problems XC.
Sunday’s competition kicked off with the Advanced Intermediate Section R. Over 50% of competitors in this section withdrew before XC with only 9 pairings completing the final phase. Samantha Brown and ‘Mad About You’ posted one of the fastest times XC adding 20 seconds over the optimum time to 4 penalties in the show jumping and a 30.5 dressage score to finish on 42.5 for 1st place. Sarah Pickard and ‘Polo Striker’ finished the quickest XC with 17 seconds over the optimum and 1 time penalty show jumping to add to their dressage score of 39.1 for 2nd and the only pair in this section to get a double clear. Andrew Nicholson and ‘Swallow Springs’ finished the day in third with 19.2 penalties from the jumping phases to add to their dressage score of 28.4.
In Section S of the Intermediate no competitors made the optimum time XC and only 16 completed the final phase. Andrew Nicholson reigned triumphant with ‘Byrnesgrove First Diamond’ finishing a clear 10.5 points at the top. Andrew was in second place after the dressage with a score of 29.1 and added just 8.4 penalties XC for a final total of 37.5 and first place overall. Dan Jocelyn and ‘High Light III’ were the runners up in their third run of the season carrying forwards a 34.8 dressage score with 33 seconds over the optimum time to add to their dressage mark for a combined score of 48 and 2nd. In third place Richard Waygood and ‘Prospector Joe’ added 14.8 penalties from the XC to their dressage score of 34.3 to end the day on an overall score of 49.1.
In Section T of the Intermediate there were 15 withdrawals or retirements and only 14 pairs completed. The victory went to Matthew Selby riding ‘Flirting With Twilight’ who finished just .4 penalties ahead of the runners up with a 36.1 dressage and double clear, adding just 7.2 penalties XC. In second place Anthony Clark and ‘Golden Forever’ picked up the quickest time XC with 6.4 penalties to add to their dressage score of 37.3 and an overall score of 43.7. Jack Pickney and ‘Lb Liberator’ took third place with their dressage score of 33.2 and 11.6 penalties in the jumping phases to finish on a score of 44.8.
In Section U there were yet more withdrawals before XC, the going proving too treacherous for some competitors. The top three in the section all finished on sub 30 overall scores. David Britnell and ‘Continuity’ ended the day on their dressage score of 20.2 with a comfortable lead of 5.6 points over the second place pairing and were the only duo to finish inside the optimum time. Aoife Clark and ‘Kings Advocate II’ added a costly 7.2 time penalties XC to their top dressage score of 18.6 to finish their weekend in second place with a total of 25.8. In third place Ibby Macpherson and ‘Ballingowan Diamond’ also picked up time XC with 10 penalties to add to their dressage score of 19.1 and finished 9 points clear of Andrew Nicholson in 4th place.
Section V of the OI U21’s had only 11 completions and 4 double clears with no pairings making the optimum time XC. India Wishart and ‘The Masters Harry’ were rewarded for claiming 1 of 4 double clears in the section and the fastest time XC to finish in 1st place with a total score of 37.3. 2nd place pairing Olivia Bartlett and ‘Early Spring’ also finished the day with a double clear and added 10.8 penalties XC to their dressage score of 28. Bubby Upton on board ‘Fernhill Rock Star’ posted her fourth consecutive double clear of the season adding 15.2 time XC to their dressage of 27.7 for third.
In Section W of the Novice the XC phase proved extremely influential with 19 competitors picking up eliminations, retiring or achieving jumping penalties. Nicolas Astier led from the dressage with a 27.5 mark and adding just 8.4 penalties XC with the joint quickest time of the section for 1st place. Second place contenders Ginny Howe and ‘Trendy Captain Clover’ added 12.4 penalties from the jumping phases to their dressage score of 33 for an overall score of 45.4, 10 penalties shy of the 1st place duo. Tom Crisp and ‘Vendome Biats’ had a pole in the show jumping and 13.6 penalties XC to add to their dressage of 29.5 for a final tally of 47.1 and third place.
In Section X of the Novice Nicolas Astier dominated yet again this time with ‘Vinci De La Vigne’. Once again he led from the dressage with a 22.3 score and only 7.2 to add from the XC. The pair finished on a confident score of 29.5, nearly 10 marks clear at the top of the leader board. Helen Wilson and ‘Fine Fleur’ had the quickest XC time of the section adding just 5.2 penalties to their dressage of 33 for an overall score of 38.2 and second place. Ginny Howe also had further cause for celebration with another top 3 placing at Novice during the weekend, this time on ‘Knights Escapade’. The duo matched Nicolas’s time XC with just 7.2 penalties to add to their dressage score of 35.3 for third place.
Photographs courtesy of Lorraine Porter