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.