More than 550 horses and rider combinations headed to Wiltshire last weekend for two days of competition at the first of West Wilts three British Eventing competitions in 2015.
West Wilts and is one of the post popular fixtures in the local area, attracting both amateurs and professionals a like. And despite being the same weekend as Equi-Trek Bramham Horse Trials attracted some a host of internationally recognised riders including Charlotte Agnew, Louise Harwood, Harry Meade. Tim Price (NZL), Laura Collett, Georgie Spence and Rebecca Howard (CAN).
Despite the threat of bad weather affecting proceedings, Saturday’s competition for the BE90 and BE100 classes went ahead unaffected.
Section D in the BE90 provided the lowest scores of the day with six combinations finishing on scores sub-20 penalties. The winner of the class was Clare Valender on Porthall Molbert, aka Molby, who finished on their dressage score of 11.5.
Commenting on her win, Clare said: “I’ve never had a score that low! I had to look about four times and the commentator had to say you’ve heard right, that’s a score of one one point five. But he did do a very nice test and I was really pleased with him. Molby came to me for schooling and we decided to run him around a few 90s to see how he goes. This is his third 90, Broadway was the first time he went cross country, and now we’ll take him up to 100 next time and go from there. He is so genuine and has a lot of scope.”
Another BE90 winner was Kathryn Harris. Based near Malmesbury, she rode Always Ollie to the win in Section E finishing on their dressage score of 27.3. Second place in the section went to Alice Kneen on Master Voyager and third to Alison Payne on Rarumba. Kathryn followed up her good form with a third place in BE90 Section A on Glissandra, another third place in Novice Section K with B Tambourine Man on Sunday and a sixth on Cracker Jack II in BE100 Section O.
Other winners on Saturday included Ben Liles on Jamaican Me Crazy II (BE90 Section A), James Todd on Cassie (BE Section B), Tabitha Pring on Prim And Proper III (BE90 Section C), Kathy Oliver on Ruxton Corona (BE100 Section F), Sarah Clack on Bold Rex (BE100 Section G) and Lucy Pearson on Cafre Lunar Eclipse (BE100 Section H).
Whilst Saturday’s proceedings were threatened by a predicted stormy forecast, Sunday’s weather in comparison saw perfect eventing conditions for riders to tackle the venue’s BE100, BE100 Open, Novice and Open Novice sections.
Sunday belonged to one man – Harry Meade. One of Britain’s leading event riders, Harry bagged two wins, a fourth and a 7th. His wins came in Open Novice Section N on-board Tenareze and Open Novice Section L on-board Weston IV. It was Harry’s first competition with Weston IV, who was previously competed by Katy Hurst, until her accident at Allerton Horse Trials last September. His other placings came on Mister Optimistic who was fourth in Novice Section I and Catherston Definitive, seventh in Novice Section J.
Sara Squires was another of Sunday’s winners, taking the honours in Novice Section M on Master PJ – who is for sale – on the combination’s dressage score of 29.5. Sara had a successful weekend, as she finished second in BE100 Section G on Calvin II.
Sara joint owns PJ with Lorraine Richards, and he is now for sale. She says: “PJ is quite a consistent horse and we’ll be moving him up to Intermediate at Aston Le Walls. Lorraine has owned him since he was a four years old and I bought into him three years ago, and she was over the moon with him at West Wilts. He’s a big horse and he’s taken a while to grow into himself but he’s a horse who would go advanced with his new owner.”
Of her other horse Calvin II Sara said: “We only bought him in January and he’s not long been broken from Germany. We’re taking him to Nunney International this weekend and hopefully qualify him for the five year old championships, and then he’ll have a break. West Wilts is a very well organised event – everything ran very well and the ground was really good.”
Other section winners on Sunday included Coral Keen on Cascadelle (Novice Section I), Tim Price on Kincooley Cruising (Novice Section J), Lucy Reeve on Bright One V H Dukeeinde (Novice Section K), Lily Bradstock on Corker Bert (BE100 Section O), Vicky Tuffs on Kilpatrick Grace (BE100 Section P) and Louise Hinckley on Interlude II (BE100 Open Section Q).
For the first time, in association with Equivideo.co.uk, proceedings from West Wilts were live streamed to people watching from home, and a big screen was available on site allowing spectators to watch the action as it happened.
Sara commented: “The live streaming really added to it. It’s not very often that spectators get to see all of the cross country course and meant people who couldn’t attend could keep up with what was happening.”
Clare added: “I thought it was really good to have the live streaming – my horse’s owner couldn’t make it so she could follow it online.”
Live streaming and the big screen will also be available from Nunney International for all three days of competition. (19-21 June) with further dates being considered.
West Wilts will be hosting two further British Eventing competitions – in August and September – with classes ranging from Four Year Old through to Intermediate Novice.
In addition to the usual class prizes at West Wilts, Style Equestrian will once again be sponsoring the Style Products International Owner Rider Championship. A prize of a saddle will be awarded to the owner rider combination accumulating the most points at BE Events held at West Wilts during 2015.
Report provided by Sarah Carless.
Photographs Courtesy of Tanzy Lee