British Pony Championships
Charles Owen British National Pony champion Thomas Tulloch and Spirit VI managed to hold onto to their title at this year’s Brand Hall with a smashing victory. It was as usual a tense finale in the show jumping on Sunday, but the ever cool Spirt VI seemed to cruise round the BCP show jumping effortlessly. Second place went to a much deserved Isabel White and Daydream Fourteen who finished closely behind Thomas on a double clear with 48.20 and her best placing to date. In third spot was the grey mare Quay ridden by Phoebe Locke, who after being eliminated on cross country at the BCP last year stormed round this year also on a double clear of 50.5.
The CCI junior One Star as usual saw an impressive line up with a very competitive turnout at Brand hall. Alexander Tordoff and Emill lead overnight after cross country with Yasmin Ingham and the ever popular Imperial Cavalier hot on their heels jumping clear in the show jumping. Emill and Alexander produced an immaculate round jumping, until the final fence which Emill unfortunately just rolled meaning it was Yasmin Ingham who took the title (41.0), with Alexander Tordoff finishing second (44.70). After a season of mixed results, Charlotte Dennis and DHI Hot Chip looked extremely competitive finishing on a double clear closely behind on 44.80.
Yasmin who was competing at Brand Hall for the 5th year in a row commented that
The event has such a friendly atmosphere and it’s very well run. Archie (Imperial Cavalier) really didn’t put a foot wrong, he excelled on cross country as usual giving me the best ride I have ever had on him’
When asked about the partnership between the two of them, Yasmin said ‘My favourite thing about him is his character, he really has that extra bit of presence about him, we have such a good partnership now and I think we have clicked very quickly – I’m so grateful to his owners Mr and Mrs Davies and Janette Chinn, all we want is for Archie to keep on enjoying himself at lower level and I think it’s safe to say he certainly is!’.
Zingo ridden by Lydia Green put forward a wow factor dressage of 22.0 to lead in the ONu18, but took cross country steady to pick up 7.2 time faults, this knocked them off the top spot which was taken by Carrowmore Gemstone ridden by Rose Nesbitt (28.50). They would certainly be pleased with that result after what appeared to be a usual elimination for the reliable Carrowmore Gemstone at Llanymynech ON two weeks before – showing that every horse has their off days. In third place on 33.30 picking up 2.8 time faults was Clementine Montgomerie and Fernhill Star Vision (33.30)
The International Novice CIC One star cross country certainly seemed to test the horse and rider this year, with a new field being incorporated into the course and the addition of some lovely hedge lined fences. However 11 horses were eliminated on course and several retired, one being Zara Phillips who making her debut at Brand Hall unfortunately became unseated from Drops of Brandy. She did however complete the section on Hunua to finish in thirteenth spot.
Bubby Upton and Fernhill Rock Star triumphed in this class, finishing on an immaculate double clear of 40.70. Since taking over the ride from Austin O’Connor this season, the pair certainly seemed to have developed a strong partnership. Bubby Upton commented that ‘He was amazing, sadly we didn’t do our best test making lots of silly mistakes, but he jumped an incredible double clear round a tough track. It was my fourth year In a row at Brand Hall, but my first year not on a pony and it was definitely one of the toughest tracks I have seen there so I didn’t know what to expect as I haven’t had him very long after moving of ponies last year. He was awesome around the cross country’.
When asked what her future plans with what appears to be an exciting partnership, Bubby replied:
‘I plan to now go intermediate on him and then hopefully try for the junior team next year if all goes well’ – so certainly a combination to keep an eye on.’
Jack Leese and Ballyell Dash of Class finished in second picking up 0.8 time penalties on 43.30. After leading from the dressage on a solid 36.1, Felicity Collins and Just Amazing III added an unfortunate pole show jumping and 10.8 cross country time to finish in a still very credible third for their sixth top ten placing of the season so far.
FEI Vet and EWW columnist (E-Vetting) Simon Woods MRCVS commented that
‘The standard of horse and rider just seems to improve here every year – all of the horses are presented to the trot up in immaculate condition and the juniors and young riders were as ever a pleasure to deal with. Every year the horses and ponies come back looking fit and ready for competition, clearly a huge amount of effort it put in behind the scenes. It was lovely to see Imperial Cavalier looking so well and still doing what he clearly enjoys’.
The novice sections are always incredibly popular at Brand hall and this year saw three sections plus an open novice run, again the course asked some tough questions with most problems occurring at the water combination, but horses certainly seem to take on the challenge of the course well.
Elizabeth Abell and Glimavragh took the win in this section finishing on credible 27.0 double clear for this combinations second win at Novice of the season. In second place was Abigail Walters and Agher Spot The Difference who lead from the dressage on a much improved score for the season with an impressive 24.5. It was unfortunate that they added 0.4 time penalties cross country but still they gained their best placing at Novice level in second. Third place was taken by Fred Powell and Sonas Oliver, who looked to have a good round cross country to finish on 33.50 which included an un-lucky pole show jumping.
Rosie Thomas is certainly having a good month with Stellor Commet picking up their second novice win since April finishing on a double clear of 32.0. Breifne ridden by Arin Dobby looked bold on cross country putting forward a double clear to finish in second on 35.0. Hot on their heels in third was Fleur Lemke and Dermelo who picked who added to their other three top ten placings this season at Novice level.
This section saw very few clear show jumping rounds, with the winner Helen Waterhouse riding Maesmawr Fox adding a pole to their 31.8 dressage to finish on 35.8. Local rider Camilla Hardie and her 17 hand gelding For The Boys also added four penalties show jumping as well as 2.4 cross country time to finish on a still respectable 36.4 in second. Darcos Wisecracker was only one of six horses to go clear show jumping ridden Sophie Toogood. This combination unfortunately added 1.6 time penalties to finish in third, following a 37.0 dressage.
Gunsttone Wallstreet ridden by Emma Grundy took the win in this section picking up 4.4 time penalties cross country to add to their dressage of 26.5. Richard long started out the day on a good note with a fabulous dressage of 25.5 aboard Kenmare Bay but added 8 show jumping penalties to finish in second on 34.7. This was Kenmare Bay’s second good dressage of the season after finishing on a 25.0 double clear at Bradwall. Sarah Weaving who was at the bottom of the board after dressage on a 41.0 test, moved up to third after producing a very solid double clear riding Tirconaill Stay With Me, who appeared to make the cross country look effortless.
Five sections of BE90 ran alongside the International show jumping on Sunday, with places for these filling up quickly. The cross country course looked inviting, although some parts looked twisty – but overall apart from a few errors of course early on where a new route had been put in place, the course road incredibly well.
It was a win for Kirsty Clarkson riding the 16.1 Gelding Oliedunit who put forward a fantastic double clear to finish on an impressive 22.0.Closely behind in the dressage was Sammy-Jo Clare and Hang Cool Teddy Bear who added 2.0 time penalties cross country but still managed to hold onto their second place finishing on a 25.50 score. Georgie Holden riding Hardy Boy Alfie finished in third place on a double clear of 26.80 at 5 Year old Hardy Boy Alfie’s debut event.
Local rider Charlotte Clewlow looked stylish on cross country aboard Wenback Paddy. This combination had certainly also shown style in the dressage producing a 22.8 test, to take the win in this section. Second placed Heather Fletcher and her long term partner Our Man Flynn put forward a 24.5 dressage at the pair’s first outing since Badminton Grassroots where they finished 57th. They added a pole show jumping to finish on 28.30 in second. Becky Hartley picked up two top ten placings at Brand Hall in the 90 with the best being Woodland Lad who finished this section in 3rd on 29.0 (Lichfield Foxtrot 10th in section L).
Sarah Warner and Silver II took their first win in section J finishing on a 29.50 double clear. Silver II seems to have kicked the 2015 season off to a good start with three top ten placings at BE90. It was a close call for the top spot with Falco III and Paula Holden hot on Sarah’s heels finishing also on a double clear with 29.80. Following her second placing in the Novice the previous day Camilla Hardie took 3rd position again double clear on 30.0 with Beau Jangles VI.
Section K saw a win for Katie Palshis and Daybreak Boy finishing on their dressage of 27.8. Daybreak Boy certainly looked on form on cross country following an unfortunate retirement at Llanymynech two weeks before. In second place was Dr Sally Goodall and Katoscann who completed on a dressage of 30.0. Maureen Aspinall dropped her horse Sportsfield Suir Thing from his usual BE100 down to BE90 which certainly paid off as they took their best placing for the season and there first double clear also, to finish in third on 31.50
It was a win in this section for Jo Glover riding her 15 hand mare Samsara Gold. They had a fantastic double clear on 20.5. In second place was Timoney Orritt riding the handsome Barkley Rolo. This is another combination that had completed Badminton Grassroots. Timmy, who fits eventing around school life has competed at Brand Hall for the last three years and keeps coming back because of the wonderful atmosphere
‘It’s really lovely to ride alongside those competing in the Pony Championships, there are some incredible partnerships. The atmosphere at this event is insane and it’s incredible that we get to ride alongside such important classes – it also gives the younger amateur rider an insight into the world of professional eventing. The cross country at Brand Hall is definitely my favourite as the course has always been tricky and twisty and sets a real challenge. This year it felt as though the technicality had increased again, meaning your lines had to be precise and as accurate as possible making it challenging and exciting at the same time.
When asked about her aspirations and aims for Rolo, Timmy said
‘I’d really like to try and qualify for Badminton Grassroots again, it was an incredible experience and I would be ecstatic if I could go again. Rolo is an absolute star and I hope to move up to the BE100 soon, and seeing such incredible riders at Brand Hall makes me more determined’
So, another successful weekend of eventing sport at Brand Hall, where again locals got to watch some of the countries young and upcoming riders’ triumph. The standard of competition as ever was high from the International sections right through to the BE90 on the Sunday. This course although a little twisty appeared to offer a good run for most competitors who seem to come to Brand Hall knowing that they are in for a challenge. Once again Organisers Janet and Vicky Plant went beyond the standard set in previous years and presented a fantastic, welcoming and well organised weekend of top quality eventing.
Report by Cassie James
Photographs courtesy of Hoofprints Photography