The 2014 Grassroots finals were classic competitions where all three phases were hugely influential. The cross country tracks though ensured that neither competition was dressage-score dominated, with the major accuracy questions penalising riders who strayed away from the ideal lines. Faults were spread around the course but over 50% in both sections picked up XC penalties. The most influential jump in both courses though was without question the ASX Triple, which was an old-fashioned coffin fence. Many horses seemed not to see the ditch until the last moment resulting in them putting their anchors on at the first element. Double clears were a very valuable commodity especially in the BE100 where the only 8 who finished on their dressage score all placed within the top 10.
It was fantastic then to have a mounted prize giving in front of Badminton House for the top prize winners in each section.
The BE90 Champion Zoe Symes from Southampton rode Serendipity IV to victory leading the competition from start to finish. Despite adding a pole to their amazing dressage score of 18.3 they maintained their lead to take home the title. Speaking afterwards Zoe admitted she had had a fantastic run up to the event but didn’t expect to win. Serendipity, who she describes as a grumpy old man at times, has always been strongest in the dressage phase and over the last few years has actually mainly been doing BD, including competing in the Elementary Petplan finals this year.
Second was Candida Martin riding Lux M whom she purchased 18 months ago from Ireland as a 5yo. The gelding who is 6 now is a real trier and despite the course being very different from a normal BE90, containing far more questions, she was thrilled with his performance – especially considering he qualified for the finals as a 5yo.
Charlotte Lawson was 3rd aboard Obsidian III. The mare was previously a broodmare having produced 3 foals before Charlotte purchased her as a 8yo unknowingly in foal so ended up with a BOGOF foal! Charlotte had never previously been to Badminton, not even as a spectator, and never expected to do so well. She is a Sociology teacher at York College (16-19yos) so was very thankful to have been allowed the time off to compete at the finals.
The BE100 champion Alice Lumley from County Durham rode Foxwood Brown Sugar to victory. Bought as a 2yo Alice has brought the gelding on herself. Alice did though think she better put some dressage training in so had 4 or 5 lessons ahead of the championships which obviously paid off as she finished on her dressage score of 31.5. Having used to be a showjumper she admitted she often finds herself holding too much XC but today’s round just got better and better as she went on and she had a fantastic ride.
Second place went to long time leader and trailblazer George Bolt riding Asparagus. George is 18 years old and in his 1st year of A-levels. He admitted that as a 14yo spectator he declared after asking his mother why there were also small fences at the event, that one day he would ride round the grassroots course – and how right he was! George is very thankful to his parents for all their support, apparently he had never seen his dad so excited as he was after today’s result.
Third place went to Jo Boggon from Northampton. Jo felt the course rode really well but thought the fence 12, the Outlander Angles, was the biggest question. She was very nervous in the run up the event, apparently to the point her brother offered her beta blockers to calm her down! Jo’s day job is as a Garden Designer and she did admit to admiring the presentation and fence dressings on her way round the course!