On Thursday 12 February, Wellington Riding in Hook, Hampshire held their inaugural fixture as part of the two phase BE Arena Eventing series – new for 2015.
The event attracted 42 entries across the 90 and 100 classes, offering riders the chance to jump a course of showjumps followed immediately by a course of cross country style fences in the arena. The top ten in each class earn points towards the league, culminating in a championship event which they can attend at either Blenheim or Blair Castle in 2015.
The 90 class was won by 26 year old equine and small animal vet Claire Lewis, riding her 15 year old chestnut gelding Beckham II. According to Claire the 15.1 Hackney cross is a cross country machine, and he didn’t disappoint. Claire said; “I think it is a great idea as it gives us a chance to jump xc fences on a surface prior to the start of the season. Wellington had some lovely well dressed fences, and had put a lot of effort into course design. I was delighted with my round as my horse jumped very well. He was careful around the showjumping phase and really took on the xc section. An event I will certainly be supporting again at the end of March.”
Claire was less than two seconds off the optimum time, ahead of Samantha Elliott and Rolly Rodrigo, Jasmine Raven and Alvescot Moondust, Wendy Berry’s ‘Spotty’ in fourth and 100 class winner Nicola Holehouse in fifth.
Nicola, who works as a veterinary surgeon in Farnham was just 0.4 away from the optimum time posting a fluent round aboard Marmalade Monty in the 100 class, with whom she is headed to Badminton grassroots championships this year. She said; “Yesterday was the first one we’ve done as I’ve been working on all of the others. We went to Blenheim last year and just had an unlucky pole so I’m keen to go back and have another go. Certainly wasn’t expecting to win on first attempt but Monty seemed to really enjoy it.
“I was a bit concerned Mr. Spooky might not like XC fences suddenly appearing in the middle of his SJ round but he took it totally in his stride. Hopefully can make it to a couple more and get through to Blenheim. I liked the optimum time format that Wellington used rather than against the clock like most of the other qualifiers have been. That definitely suited us best. Great to have something arena based to do over the winter that doesn’t involve style marks like JAS.”
Nicola pipped Georgina Wood and Symmetry to the win, ahead of Samantha Elliott and Lobinstown Kingdom, Goergina Marks with I’m Troika in fourth while Francesca Denning and Donald claimed fifth place.
Lucinda Freeman, Show Secretary at Wellington Riding was enthusiastic about the first fixture, saying; “Wellington Riding has a long history of supporting grass roots riders and we are delighted to host this new series by British Eventing. We were pleased that our first show seemed to go down so well with the competitors and look forward to the next one.”
The full results list will be uploaded here.
Report by Nicki Strong (pictured) who came 6th in the BE100 class.Visit her website at www.headstrongequestrian.com
Thank you to Nicola Elliott for the photos, more of which can be found on her website www.nicolaelliottphotography.co.uk