Full-time event rider Sian Hawkes took home the top honours in intermediate section g at Wilton horse trials riding Andrew Ayres’ Balham Mist.
“He is a natural jumper and very straight and honest which was exactly what you needed at Wilton, the course asked a lot of questions but also rewarded a positive, forward thinking horse,” said Lindford-based Sian who has been riding the eight-year-old Mill Law gelding since the start of the 2014 season.
A new warm up tactic allowed the partnership to pull off their personal best for 31.1 in the first phase.
“He can get quite tense in the dressage so I thought I would try jumping him before his test. I popped him over two or three show jumps and then trotted back to the lorry, put my dressage saddle and off we went, I think we will be sticking to that new routine now,” said Sian.
The former Piggy French working pupil currently has four horses to event and is aiming for her first three star at Hartpury. Sian benefits from having Irish rider Austin O’Connor close by as well as training with Gill Watson.
“I have learnt a lot from Austin, especially as he rode Balham Mist for a couple of seasons. Gill has also really helped with the flatwork, the best bit of advice she has given me is to make the most of the corners. It sounds obvious but I found that when I started making an effort to ride into each corner I had much more time to prepare and then do each movement,” said Sian.
The Salisbury event ran an action packed two days of competition hosting four novice sections, an open novice and open novice under-18 section as well as four intermediate, one open intermediate and one open intermediate under-21 section.
In the open intermediate under-21 section Dickon Reader led from the start on Bravanjo with a 26.6 dressage score. Of the 14 combinations that completed this class only three, including the winner, beat the clock in the final phase to finish with faultless cross country rounds. While in the adult open intermediate class only one pair – ninth placed Katherine Coleman (Longwood) – made the time. The winners of this section, Harry Dzenis riding Xam, were given 0.4 too fast time penalties. Emily King (Dargun), Tom McEwen (Cuarento) and Mark Todd (MK San Cero) took the remaining intermediate trophies.
In the novice sections Sophie Hawke (Jovial Valentino) won the open novice section with Padraig McCarthy (Wisbeach River Deep) and Vittoria Panizzon (Super Cillious) winning a novice section apiece. New Zealander Tim Price took home red ribbons from two novice sections on Unique Dawson and Pats Jester. Charlotte Faulknew and Access Bill took the open novice under 18 title.
Report by Natalie Clark
Photographs by Tanzy Lee