It really was four seasons in one event! Sun on Thursday, fog on Friday, rain on Saturday and snow on Sunday. There was mud, mud and more mud yet somehow the ground on the XC remained extremely rideable and withdrawals were minimal. Full marks to BEDE events and their loyal band of volunteers for running 40 sections of competition over four days and ensuring everyone got their season off to a good start.
Two northern raiders took home a lorry load of rosettes each. Wills Oakden brought seven horses down from Fife and went home with four wins. His Intermediate winner, 8yo Alfi Brown, was initially entered in the Novice until a last minute swap and was having his first run at the higher level. Wills also took the spoils in a Novice section, two BE100s and jumped a double clear in the OI on fellow Scot Nicola Malcolm’s ex-3/4* campaigner McFly.
Nicola Wilson was another heading back up the A1 laden with prizes. She managed 6 top 4 placing from 9 rides. She took 3rd in both of the OI sections: both Annie Clover and Opposition Buzz finishing on their dressage scores, though she later admitted that the Olympic medallist had been a little on his toes in that phase. Coloured mare Beltane Queen took an Intermediate and new ride Watermill Vision, formerly with Sian Wynne-Jones, looked very impressive to lead an ON.
Michael Owen won one of the two OI sections from the front with The Highland Prince whilst the other went to Coopers Law, ridden by Emilie Chandler. This 9yo by Mill Law has really shown his mettle over the last 18 months with several FEI top 5 placings up to 2* level and on this occasion finished on his 26.8 dressage score.
The remaining two ON sections went to Mary-Anne Carpenter on her European 2* team horse Alles Klar and Gina Ruck on her YR team horse Viper Priba who is stunning on his day, and added just 0.4 time to a phenomenal 19.5 dressage score.
The ponies ran in the worst of the rain on Saturday afternoon with Rose Nesbitt and Carrowmore Gemstone coming out top of a quality field. Phoebe Powell took the ONu18.
It only remains to thank Stuart Buntine, BEDE events and everyone on the ground for running such a cheerful and tight ship. I’ll finish by quoting an email sent out by Stuart. Everyone who competed should have received a similar one and it vital that we all write to the landowners to express our thanks. Without our landowners there would be no eventing.
We are incredibly grateful to Nigel and Gill Wild for allowing us on to their land, but inevitably 4 days of lorries and trailers moving on and off the land has left its mark, which will take us a while to repair. We would like to ask you, if you have a moment, to express your appreciation to Nigel and Gill by writing a note to them, as our sport is so dependent on the generosity of landowners.