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Despite the poor weather in the run up not being ideal the weather conditions could not have been better. Blazing sunshine was in abundance and you wouldn’t be mistaken for thinking Spring has finally arrived!
Dressage started yesterday with approximately half of the combinations performing their tests. In both the 90 and 100 scores were tight with only a matter of penalties between the majority of riders. This morning the remaining riders performed their dressage before whilst the showjumping got under way early for the BE100 competitors.
The showjumping track for the BE100 saw a range of related distances to make riders think in addition to the maximum height being 1m10. Faults were wide spread around the course but approaching half the class were able to pick up a clear round.
On to the cross country for the BE100 which as we expected was highly influential. The most influential fence was the Shogun Hollow closely followed by the CrossCountry App house combination directly following. The water jumped well overall with the in route being low enough to give horses the time and ability to see the dry landing before into the lake. The time was also hard to achieve though with only 18 from the field of over 80.
Leading from start to finish though was Katie Hancock on the impressive Kilcandra Rambo Ray who finished on their dressage score of 24. The combination have been almost unbeatable over the last season winning 8 events last year. Unsurprisingly they were at the top of the e-Venting ‘One to Watch’ list going into the event. Katie is a safety and compliance manager and was thankful for being able to take holiday for today’s competition. She thanks Georgie Stokes for helping her with her training. Kilcandra Rambo Ray is shared with Katie’s mum who whips in on him through the winter with their local hunt.
Finishing 2nd was Stephanie Waite aboard Stay In Touch who added just 0.4 time faults to their dressage score of 31.4. Stephanie who runs her own livery yard has owned the Irish gelding since he was 4. He came back from a suspensory injury and an infection in the hock as a 6yo from which they thought for a time he would never be ridden again. The pair rose from 16th after dressage thanks to their showjumping clear.
3rd was our very own Badminton Blogger Zoe Davison aboard Cavaliers Back to Black (aka Nutty Nellie). They performed a lovely test for 27.6 although rolled the influential stile fence in the showjumping and added 0.8tf time penalties to finish on 32.4. An utterly outstanding result though. They were of course on our One to Watch list as well! Zoe plans to continue on eventing Nellie this season with an end of season aim being 2*.
The BE90 competition was all about double clears inside the time with a smart dressage test. The scores again across the section were close with the dressage leader being Emily Taggart riding Solo XII on a very impressive score of 22.6. Unfortunately the combination added 2.6 too fast time faults to this score which ultimately dropped them to a final 3rd place. Emily from Dorking is trained by Rhett Bird and credits him with her excellent dressage score.
The combination to rise to the top though was Sophie Walker aboard her own 10 year old mare by Woodlander Rockstar, Rhapsody RFW. They added nothing to their dressage score of 24.8 to reign supreme. Sophie has only recently come back 5 weeks ago from travelling and credits her mum and trainer for keeping Rhapsody fit. Originally a pure dressage mare, she flew round the course giving Sophie an incredible feeling, thankfully she was wearing a stopwatch as needed to slow up in the latter part of the course to ensure she wouldn’t pick up time faults for going too fast. Sophie is about to start work as a buyer at Fortnum and Mason’s in London so isn’t sure how she will be able to combine eventing going forward but hopes to still with the support of her mum.
Finishing bang on the optimum time Jessie Vanassche riding Da Vinci II also finished on their excellent dressage score of 25.3 to finish 2nd. Da Vinci II was initially a pure dressage horse when Jessie bought him but she fell in love with him and he has turned into an excellent eventer. Jessie travelled over from the Isle of Wight for the finals competing at which was a dream come true for her.
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