Report by Rika Nile
The Equi-Trek Aldon International Horse Trials attracted over 600 combinations competing from BE100 to Advanced Intermediate, including the first 1* of the season, pony and young rider classes. The popular event, organised by Tessa Mackenzie-Green, saw riders of all levels from grassroots to 4* attend across three days of competition.
A highlight of the weekend was the return of Andrew Nicholson to competition. The eventing community were thrilled [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‘]to see him back on form, competing for the first time since his fall at Gatcombe last year. Producing 6 cross country clears, he also took the honours in the Open Intermediate section O on the striking chestnut gelding, Perfect Stranger.
The CIC* was dominated by Tim Price who won the class on Kincooley Cruising, and placed 2nd and 7th places on Pats Jester and Koh I Noor respectively. His success continued with a further placing in Intermediate section N on Danturano K.
In a similar fashion Emily King won the OIU21 class on her Young Rider European partner Loxley, and also came 3rd and 7th on Walitze F Vejgard and Brookleigh, who had the best dressage in the class of with a score of 22.1.
Another rider who had a successful weekend was Tom Jackson, who had six top ten placings out of seven rides, including a win in BE100o section D on Santana II; the same section in which he also took 3rd and 4th, just pipped to a 1-2-3 by Archie Lowe and Blue Blooded who placed 2nd.
Badminton-bound Katie Hancock piloted Kilcandra Rambo Ray to their 13th BE win in BE100 section A, finishing on their dressage score of 28.3. The full Irish Draught gelding, who was sourced by Katie at the Goresbridge sales as a 4 year old for her mother to hunt, has turned into a “superstar” horse who does everything from hunting to showing.
Katie, who travelled from Cornwall said of the 10 year old, “He’s so amazing, he goes out and does a great dressage and jumps double clear. He comes out of the lorry with his bone and big feet and really holds his own against the flashy horses.”
Commenting on the Mitsubishi Motors Cup Final, Katie added: “I am heading to Badminton with him this year, but it’s a long way off and I don’t like to talk about it as it’s horses, anything can happen!”
Novice section F winner James Stocker also made the trip from Cornwall worthwhile to produce a double clear and finish on his dressage score with 8 year old gelding Rudy Valentino. The combination had a successful season at Novice level last year but this was their first win.
James said: “I am delighted that we won as it was our first event of the season. I want to move up to Intermediate this year and I feel that we are ready for this as we did so well.”
At the end of last season James was invited to Weston Park for the CCIJ* but had to withdraw due to rider injury, this year he hopes to make up for it in u21 classes.
He added “As I live in Cornwall, we have to travel long distances for all events but I really enjoyed Aldon, it was a great cross country course.”
16 year old Ellie Guy was another rider with their first win, taking BE100 section K riding her own Baile Dare. Ellie put the win down to her trainer, Robin Dumas, who has transformed her riding throughout the winter.
Ellie said: “Last season was my first season BE and I was still in pony club having lessons and rallies once or twice a week, but in September last year I started training with Robin Dumas who has help to improve my riding massively.
“I felt amazing to feel like all my hard work had payed off and that I didn’t win through other people’s faults but through my own success.”
The event was fantastically run by the organisers and the team of volunteers who stayed cheery and helpful despite the bitterly cold weather across the weekend.
Section winners: BE100 section A Katie Hancock, Kilcandra Rambo Ray; BE100 section B Ben Lee Liles, Ballyellen Buzz; BE100o section C Darcy Zander, Roswat Sparrow; BE100o section D Tom Jackson, Santana II; Novice section E Louisa Lockwood, Pao Des Aucels; Novice section F James Stocker, Rudy Valentino; Open Novice section G Vittoria Panizzon, Chequers Play The Game; Open Novice section H Daisy Berkeley, Ballinteskin Cooper S; Intermediate Novice section I Chuffy Clarke, Willem III; BE100 section J Freddie Gover, Deutz; BE100 section K Ellie Guy, Baile Dare; International Novice (CIC*) section L Tim Price, Kincooley Cruising; Pony Trial section M Georgia Bartlett, Monarch Of The Glen; Intermediate section N Padraig McCarthy, MGH Annaghmore; Open Intermediate section O Andrew Nicholson, Perfect Stranger; Open Intermediate section P Tom Rowland, Possible Mission; Open Intermediate u21 section Q Emily King, Loxley; Advanced Intermediate section R Paul Tapner, Kilronan
Photography courtesy of Tanzy Lee