Report by Georgia Dixon
Weston Park is always a popular event that attracts all calibre of riders from all over the country. The Staffordshire/Shropshire border event was one of few events that wasn’t cancelled this weekend, but saw many withdrawals because of the weather. The organisers however, worked very hard to keep the event running and even opened up a last minute show jumping course for the Saturday in order to keep the ground in Sunday’s arena untouched and safe for the bigger classes. Despite this the OIU21 class had to be [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‘]abandoned on the Saturday after a torrential down pour before the start of their show jumping. All competition went ahead as planned on Sunday and although the ground was testing, the Weston Park team had done a very good job in looking after it.
It wasn’t a great day for the Young Riders on Saturday after only 2 double clears out of 45 Pony Trial riders and only 15 of them completing the event. The two riders who went double clear included the winners, Molly Faulkner on Catherstone Nutsafe and third place combination, Connie Gill riding Hotshots. After speaking to a lot of the Pony riders, they explained that they wanted to save their ponies for Withington Manor in a few weeks and didn’t feel that their ponies needed the run.
Following this the OIU21 had to be abandoned after the dressage, being the last to contend the show jumping which had now become too difficult to jump out of, after the rain refused to give up during the day.
Good News however for Power Sport Horses and Michael Jackson who rode two PSH’s to victory in the Novice sections. PSH Blue Tango won Section A on a score of 28.4 even after having a pole in the show jumping and PSH Uranium won section B with one of the two double clears in the section to finish on 28.8. Holly Bradshaw was the other double clear who rode 7 year old Archfield Echo to finish on a score of 34.6 and finish second in the section.
30 out of 44 riders completed in the Open Novice section, of which Pumbaa Goess-Saurau won, riding Scotfree II. The combination rode a double clear to finish on a score of 37.3. Arthur Duffort rode Diamond II for second place and Izzy Taylor came third riding Bugbrooke.
The Intermediate classes saw a lot of withdrawals on the Sunday with not many finishing per section and only 53 combinations completing throughout the five sections. 6 riders finished in Section G which was topped by Nicky Hill and MGH Bingo Boy after finishing on a double clear. Aoife Clarke rode Kings Advocate II for a win in the Open Intermediate in the testing conditions after jumping a double clear and finishing on 38.6. Intermediate Section L was topped by Lucinda Atkinson and My Anyika who managed to jump a double clear in their first event of the season to win on a score of 44.8.
William Fox-Pitt had a horse fall at the Corner three fences from home in the Advanced Section J, we are lead to believe that William and horse, Parklane Hawk are both okay. Not the confidence giving run William would have been hoping to have before Badminton at the beginning of May. The section was won by Cheshire based rider Andrew Heffernan and Millthyme Corolla who jumped a double clear and brought home only 7.6 time to finish on a score of 36.7. Zara Tindall also had a good round on High Kingdom before Badminton, after a 26.8 dressage, one rolled pole and then a steady but safe xc round with 20.4 time penalties which dropped her down to fourth place.
Advanced Section K was won by Gemma Tattersall who rode her Badminton contender Arctic Soul. Gemma was the only double clear in the section to finish on 39.3. Oliver Townend was another rider who had a good day with a fourth and two second placings in the Advanced. Including second on Armada and fourth on Dromgurrihy Blue – two horses that he is set to take to Badminton in May.
Photographs courtesy of Hannah Ray