Dawn Wilkins reports from the ROR National Championship show at Aintree over the bank holiday weekend she attended with her ex race horse Dessie. A four day event this year, with the showing classes runnning on both the Saturday and Sunday. With over 200 ex racehorses competing and with the delights of Bank holiday traffic, Dawn and the team experienced a 6.5 hour drive on the Friday, but Aintree was really welcoming and they had the lovely surprise on arrival, that Dessie had been allocated the stable used by Red Rum, Ballabriggs and Amberleigh House when they won the National. ROR and Aintree work hard to create a championship atmosphere and Dawn had great fun riding down the horse walk in front of the stands to the arena. Not quite so much fun for her support team (husband Kevin) as it is about a third of a mile each way for him to walk. On the plus side there is a Toby Carvery right by the entrance to Aintree so the excuse of it not being worth cooking in the lorry, resulted in a weekend off from washing up and cooking, so we’ll worth going all that way. On the serious side, Dessie competed in two classes for horses to have won over £70,000 racing, being placed second and third, in very good company as those in the top places have both shown at HOYS. The pair also secured a strong sixth in a huge amateur class, as well as being placed in the Saturday evening championship which rewarded them the opportunity to then join the parade in the “Always a Star Parade” on the Sunday, meeting the race horse, Lord Gyllene who won the National the year of the bomb scare. He looked fabulous for being 28 now. To round the weekend, the pair did the glamour stakes – this is where the horse is the accessory, hence Dawn wearing a dress, a wedding hat and sandals (which makes for interesting walking on a surface, with hooves about), whilst Dessie was sporting a red ribbon in his tail and red diamantes in his mane. It was judged by Jilly Cooper and won by someone with the most fabulous hat decorated with racehorses (what else).
Challenging conditions at Hartpury this morning for the dressage teams with rain, wind and more rain. The showjumpers were lucky enough to be inside as was Rosemary Swadden who writing for a dressage judge in the morning.
Now for the bit you’ve been waiting for, the Riding Test team results – David Wood started us off with a satnav error and a deduction of 1% due to Fran having more than 60 BD points at Novice, getting a score of 64%. He was shortly followed by Teresa Carty who also had a sat nav error and then the judge must have forgotten to go to specksavers as she missed a movement so thought Ted had made a second error, fortunately the writer had seen it so no marks were lost but it did disrupt the flow of the test. Ted still achieved 73.2 % to come sixth in the morning session. Ted then went off to join the jumping team and the dressage support team of Rosemary and team trainer, Marie Kent had a four hour gap until the afternoon riders were on. Chloe Reeves did a lovely test to get 82. 5% and come third in the section on her lovely pony Wiggett. Finally Stephanie Swadden was the last combination to go of the afternoon. Snooze did not live up to her name and was very forward, so much so that Steph threw away her stick part way through the test. She also had satnav problems in the same place as the others (it must have been catching) and finished with a score of 62.3 %.
The team were just one mark short of being Sixth.
When Steph saw her marks she said quite loudly “dressage sucks” and Snooze wanted to gallop which had Marie and the others laughing.
Extreme thanks to Marie Kent for coaching all our competitors in the horrible conditions, getting soaked, and with a bad back too. Hope it improves soon Marie. Thank you also for all the parents, drivers and grooms who got our ladies to Hartpury, and thanks to Rosemary for this report.
Having secured a third place at the Area 9 qualifier, Team Merlot qualified for the new regional championship which was held at Hartpury on the 20th of August. The team changed slightly from Leyland Court, as original member Janine and Bon Bon were unavailable, but the winner of the Jumping with Style, Ted Carty and the ever green Harley stepped up to become the fourth member. There were twenty teams entered from as far as Cornwall, from ten different area qualifiers, as second and third from each area got their chance to jump.
Team trainer Johnathan Bowman was there to support and prepare the team. The team was Tara Plaister on I win Van Orshof, Wendy Lappington on Loxley Monkey, Becky White on An Irish Knight and Ted Carty on Harley Kinski.
The horses jumped in the indoor arenas at the top of Hartpury, with the indoor warm up, which was fortunate as the weather was very wet and windy. Those doing dressage with team trainer, Marie Kent, were not so fortunate.
First to jump was Tara, who unfortunately had a refusal and time faults as her horse became spooky with so many fences in a smallish area. Becky was next with her mums big coloured, who has really stepped up over the last year to become a regular in teams for WGRC, the pair went clear. Next up was Wendy, and other regular in the teams, and they too went clear. Last to jump was Ted, after having ridden in the morning in the dressage, getting a sixth. They too went clear, so allowing for our drop score, WGRC went through on zero. Round two saw the fences rise to 85cms, and now the time spent jumping was to become influential for the team result. Johnathan briefed the team, we needed clear rounds, rather than fast times, but needed to keep the pace forward, so not to waste time. First in again was Tara who rode her socks off, there was no way that Beano was putting in a refusal this time, and the pair were rewarded with a clear round. Becky was in next, and she too rode an excellent round for another clear, so things were looking good. Up next was Wendy and Monkey. Monkey started off a little off the pace and rattled the first few fences, with the third falling. This seemed to wake him, and Wendy up and then the pair zoomed round, finishing on the 4 faults. It was now all on Teds shoulders to produce another clear round. Well what a round she rode. The rest of the team with John, Jo Howse and Lola the mascot dog, sat in the stands, riding every fence with her. Harley jumped his socks off showing age and a busy, long day wasn’t going to effect him, the pair produced the clear round we needed to go forward on zero. Now the wait began for the judges to calculate all the times. The top three teams were to be presented their rosettes mounted, so forever optimistic the team were prepared for the prize giving. All plaited up and looking extremely smart, the wait was on for the results. Local Area 9 team, the VWH were also in the running for the top spot, but as the results were announced in reverse order, and with the VWH in second, we knew that the team were to be crowned champions. An excellent result again for WGRC, having been crowned National champions only 18months previous at the same venue, with Becky White being on that team too.
Johnathan Bowman, team show jumping trainer has managed to achieve a very special win on Marcel des Rosiers, a horse he has owned and produced since a three year old. Marcel who is now sixteen has been on winning form having won a big championship in April at The Welsh Masters, near Chepstow.
The Equestrian.Com Derby weekend was held over five days starting on the 22nd of June. The competition is held at the prestigious All England Jumping Course in West Sussex, which is home to the Derby where riders tackle the notorious Hickstead bank, and Devils Dyke.
Johnathan took three horses to Hickstead, his own Marcel, and two horses owned by long term supporter and friend, Steve Valente-Smith, Enamorado and Pennvad.
Many of the National classes hold qualifiers in the outside arenas, where they then put the top six through from each day to then jump in the massive main Derby arena. Marcel jumped on the Wednesday in the 1.25m qualifier; there were 120 riders in the class, and Johnathan and Marcel performed a great double clear to finish second, just 0.1 second behind the winner, so through to the Championship. With the qualification in the bag, Marcel was rested ready for the championship on the Friday. The rain had caused all manner of problems at Hickstead, with stables flooding and lorries being towed in and out, but the grass arena is one of the best in the world having been completely replaced only a few years ago, so the going was great. With twelve starters the race was on, but with a scorching double clear, the pair won by over three seconds. Johnathan commented “this win is so special, Marcel has been my horse of a life time, we have won the Welsh Masters, Scope, Hartpury Spectacular, the B&C, been to HOYS and Olympia, but never won at Hickstead. I’m over the moon with his performance, he feels amazing at the moment”.
Not to be outdone, the winning spree continued. Pennvad, a horse bought by Steve for his son, but also ridden by Johnathan, competed in the Novice Open. With 240 starters, a careful and quick performance was needed. The pair came second, again only beaten by 0.1 of a second, and through to the Championship. Pennvad, had decided too that he wanted to win one of the prestigious Hickstead rugs, so jumped his socks off to come in first. Steve’s other horse Enamorado, fresh from his win, also at the Welsh Masters, had an unlucky fence down in the Foxhunter class which had 150 starters, but was rewarded with a sixth in the 1.25m on the second day with a lovely double clear. Johnathan commented “I was really pleased with how Steve’s horses jumped, the horses are based with me at our yard at Leigh, and Enamorado is a young horse who still has a lot to learn. This is the biggest competition he’s been to, and he has taken it in his stride. We are off to France the first weekend in August to compete at Le Toucan, so this has been great preparation for them all.”
Starting bright and early, we were all there for the Area 9 show Jumping competition held at Leyland court(19th June). Our Jumping with Style team were awarded 2nd (Lincoln) and 5th in the open section. The team consisted of Ted Carty, Steph Swadden, Wendy Lappingdon and Janine Collishaw, and we also had a junior individual, Abbie Ellison jumping the 75cms. Janine was 6th as an individual in the 85cms, Ted and Harley won the 75cms, getting pretty much nines all through through the test, so the BRC training obviously worked. Abbie was 2nd, so a good results all round, as the course proved tricky. The 80cms team competition saw us field two teams, Claret and Merlot. The first round saw many eliminated, but all our girls completed the course. Tara and Janine went clear, Becky, Lucy, Jenny and Jo had four faults, and Amy and Wendy both had twelve. However when looking at the results at the end of round one, Team merlot was in second on four faults, and team Claret mid table on sixteen faults, out of the 19teams entered, so it was all to jump for.
Well I have to say the second rounds were great, so many Fabby performances, everyone rode their socks off. We had clear rounds from Tara, Becky, Wendy, Jo, Amy, and Lucy, with Janine just getting one down and Jenny getting three down. So both of our teams went forward with zero allowing for the drop score. So Team Merlot were on four faults and Team claret on sixteen. Two other teams were on four faults so a third round jump off was needed. We were last to jump, and having watched the other two teams both have fences to both take twelve faults forward, it was nail biting stuff. It was the fourth round for Wendy and Janines horse, and both had fences down. Tara who had so far gone double clear had one down and Beckys horse had two down, so we went forward with sixteen and was rewarded third out of 19 teams, and the opportunity to jump at the new South west championships held at Hartpury in August. Team Claret ended up a very respectable 7th. Once more our riders looked the part, rode their socks off, were professional in their attitude and approach and as Johnathan Bowman commented “so many of them upped their game today, we didnt have the best horse power, but our riders got the very best out of them, and where we had problems they put the last round behind them and put it right. It was a very long day, and we had to leave Abbie and Steph to fend for themselves as John had a date with Tom Jones.
The good news was the junior riders didn’t need our support, they had their late night jumping sorted. Abbie Robins and Tonto were in the individual 95cms, and although due to jump at 5.30 due to delays was more like 6.30. However the pair rode a great first clear round and just rolled a pole in the second. Steph Cresswell and Uno did the only double clear in the 1.10 to win and qualify for Lincoln. Great results girls on a late and rainy evening. Videos of the jumping from the morning and afternoon is available on our gallery.
The teams are as follows
Jumping with style senior team
75cms. Ted Carty on Harley and Steph Swadden on Pink House Lady
85 cms. Janine Collishaw on Ballygriffin Bonbon and Wendy Lappingdon on Loxley Monkey
Junior individual jumping with style at 75cms Abbie Ellison on Royal breure
Senior 80cms teams
Wendy Lappingdon on Loxley Monkey
Janine Collishaw on Ballygriffin Bonbon
Tara Plaister on I Win Van Orshof
Jenny Hughes on Indie
Jo Manning on Llanbabo Liberty
Becky White on An Irish Knight
Lucy Rixon on TBA
Amy Clapham and Trozulon
Junior 95 individual. Abbie Robins on Adrian the 2nd
Junior 1.10m individuals. Sophie Reeves on Filly Rouge and Steph Cresswell on Uno
Wessex Gold hosted the Area 9 training day using the BRC training grant on the 1st of May. The day was held at Rectory Farm, a well known and central equestrian centre, who have excellent facilities. Jonathan Canty, BRC judge and trainer attended to talk the riders and those watching through what the classes consisted of and what the judge was looking for to gain maximum marks. All clubs within Area 9 had been invited to attend the day, and put forward some riders for each section. Unfortunately numbers were low throughout, so Wessex Gold took advantage of the situation and put forward five riders, two of which were junior riders. The low numbers allowed those riding to have a more in depth training based session. In the Jumping with Style, the group walked the course with Jonathan as he explained the pitfalls that the course builder may include, and what was required as they rode the course. Each rider then rode the course, received feedback and then rode the course again. Each round was recorded, and over lunch in the pavilion, the rounds were played on the TV and discussed within the group. This part of the training was of particular interest , as Jonathan explained what mark he would give and why. He also explained how extra marks could be gained, with changes to position or the tempo of the canter. The afternoon session welcomed those to the Riding Test. Again the tests, score sheets and series of marks were explained, before the riders warmed up to ride the test. After each test, recommendations were made and the rider got to ride it again, taking these on board. Both tests were recorded and then discussed after all the sessions over coffee and cake.
Those who attended thoroughly enjoyed the day, so thank you to those riders from Cotswold Edge, VWH, Swindon and Wessex Gold. It was such a shame that more from the area did not attend, as the day was very informative, even for those watching. The day was planned to introduce and explain these classes to those in Area 9, and with the area event planned for this weekend, Wessex Gold are pleased to have one senior team, and a junior individual entered. Thanks must go to those of Wessex Gold who put the event on, Rectory Farm for their great facilities and Jonathan Canty, who proved to be an excellent trainer, and certainly promoted the classes.
The clinic will start at 5.30pm with the 80cms and then at 6.30pm the 90cms will start. Enjoy yourselves at Rectory