BD Winter Regionals: Codham Park Equestrian
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Not one. Not two. But six winning sashes headed home with Tahley Reeve-Smith as she scooped up both Novice Gold titles, PDS Saddles Elementary Freestyle Gold, both Medium Gold titles and the Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Gold title at Codham Park Equestrian, Essex (21 – 23 May 2021).
Her most prolific winner was Woodcroft Valentino (pictured above), winner of the Medium Gold and Advanced Medium classes. He is a 17.3hh Vitalis gelding owned by Tahley’s mum Sue and Jetta O’Kane. He was second in the Elementary Gold and third in the Elementary Freestyle Gold at the NAF Five Star Winter Championships last year.
“He’s a super trainable horse but a bit of a slow burner,” said Tahley. “He doesn’t move the biggest but he’s now much stronger and is showing some piaffe and passage [at home]. He totally ignored the thunder and lightning and just got on with it.”
“I’d love to do some small tour internationals – he’s such a consistent horse. The last time I had a lesson with Carl [Hester] he mentioned he should make a Grand Prix horse!”
Tahley’s Elementary Freestyle winner, Jilleke (Jazz x Havidoff) is owned by Alison Jones and came in the top 10 of the Novice Gold Freestyle at last year’s Winter Championships. “She’s quite a character,” commented Tahley. “She may be small but she makes up for it in opinions! She got hotter and hotter throughout the show.”
The licensed British-bred stallion Romanno Danteno (by Dante Weltino) won both Novice Gold classes. Bought as a foal, he is owned by Tahley, Bev Lynn and Carol Wright. “He was a bit fresh on the first day for the freestyle but the next day [in the straight class] he only had one little blip, breaking in the trot lengthened strides. He can open and close up like an advanced horse and you get about four strides in down the long side in extended canter, you feel like you’re flying!”
Cornelia O’Mahoney took three titles – the Charles Owen Advanced Medium Gold with Gravitas II and the Magic Prix St Georges and Superflex Intermediate I with Formidable.
Last year Cornelia and Formidable (pictured above), an 11-year-old Jazz x Rhodiamant gelding, were second in the Inter I at the Eastern winter regional. This time they made sure of the title with a performance that put them almost 3% ahead of the runner-up.
In the PSG, it was a closer run thing, with Formidable coming home just 0.48% ahead of Rachel Murray and Winnetou GEP.
Gravitas II is the 10-year-old full brother to Formidable and has an impressive record of 70+% scores and first places. He last went to the Winter Championships in 2017 at Elementary level.
Tracy Fall and her British–bred Mount Pleasant San Lorenzo (Jack) won both Medium Silver classes. Tracy bought the 11-year-old Sarkozy x Rhodiamant gelding as a three-year-old and backed and produced him herself. The pair were Prelim champions at the 2016 Winter Championships.
A year ago, Tracy found a new coaching method, the South African ‘Adventures with Jenku’ which she has followed on-line and believes has been a game changer. “It’s taught me how to train in hand from the ground,” she said. “It has tools to getting horses safe and relaxed. I use rein back before I get on to relax the hamstrings and pelvis.”
Portuguese rider, Luis Vilhena won two titles with his own KWPN approved stallion, Loves Black STH I (Millennium x Voice), winning the KBIS Preliminary Silver and Prestige Italia Novice Silver. He bought ‘Malegro’ (pictured above) as a two-year-old and the pair were fifth in the Shearwater Young Horse 4yo Championships at Keysoe last year. Luis has lived in the UK for six years and spent two years working for international GP rider, Paul Hayler.
“In the test he was good, I was nervous!” said Luis “He’s been doing really well and getting good scores. His temperament is unreal.”
Jacquie Campbell’s KBIS Preliminary Gold winner, Machno Excalibur, is a British-bred Oldenberg/Welsh pony. He is owned by the Sclater family, whose daughter Iona tragically died in an eventing accident. Jacquie was her trainer and rode in her memory. “Excalibur started concentrating on dressage last year,” said Jacquie. “He’s been a kiddies pony really so it’s taken a while to teach him what to do in a test. He did a fab job on the day. He’s naturally uphill and his canter and walk are his highlights.”
Hayley Dolby works full-time as an IT trainer and her Baileys Horse Feeds Novice Freestyle Silver section winner, Pendancer Mickey Bricks is described as an ‘all-rounder’. She has owned the 14hh Welsh cob since he was four months old – almost 12 years. “This is our first regional title,” she said. “We got to the championships in 2018 on a wild card. He’s a cheeky, cuddly, extrovert pony who’s always on your side. I thought if we did a nice consistent test we’d be in with a chance.
Hayley’s jazz-type music programme was compiled by her trainer, Roland Tong.
International GP rider Nikki Barker won the Equi-Trek Elementary Gold on her homebred Dan Icarus by her super stallion Durable. He is jointly owned with Becky Harrow and is Durable’s oldest offspring at eight years old.
“He last went out about a year ago because of COVID and I had a baby,” said Nikki. “He never lets you down. He’s never been to Codham and we didn’t do the arena walk but he wasn’t spooky or stupid. He’s been easy to back and easy to do everything with.
“In the test I felt I was a bit ring rusty. He does exactly what you ask him to do.”
The silver section was won by Katie Roberts and 11-year-old Showmaker gelding, Nemo VI I. He qualified for the Championships two years ago but had to miss them because of injury.
“Lockdown was good for our training,” said Katie, who trains with Kaye De Graaff. “I’ve been trying to get the basics and getting him to give through his body and forward to the contact. I’m really proud of him – he’s my horse of a lifetime.”
Harvey was bred by Kaye who placed third on him in the Medium Silver class.
The PDS Saddles Elementary Freestyle Silver section was won by Suzanne Ashwell with the highest score of the show – 75.06%. She and Rhomantic were awarded over 80% by the judge at C.
‘Mouse’ is British-bred by Rhondeo out of a Fürst Heinrich mare and stands at 15hh. Suzanne has owned the 11-year-old for three years and trains with Damian Hallam.
Her dressage competitions have to fit in with her full-time job in asset management and Mouse’s eventing career. The winning programme is a new one, with floor plan by Kim Ratcliffe and music by Julie Geraghty of Equivisions. “I have ‘A craxy little thing called love’ for the trot work and it really fits his medium trot and leg yields,” said Suzanne.
KBIS Preliminary Silver
1. Lluis Vilhena and Loves Black STH I, 73.74%
2. Tate Purcell and Jetti Girl, 72.24%
3. Martin Haggith and Annabel 70.63%
KBIS Preliminary Gold
1. Jacqui Campbell and Machno Excaliber, 73.91%
2. Jessica Williams and Sir Leonardo, 73.56%
3. Angela Westgarth and My First Romance, 73.05%
Prestige Italia Novice Silver
1. Luis Vilhena and Loves Black STH I, 73.15%
2. Sandie Gibbs and Gomez Gold, 71.78%
3. Corinne Roberts and Recession, 69.25%
Prestige Italia Novice Gold
1. Tahley Reeve-Smith and Romanno Danteno, 72.22%
2. Joshua Hill and Greenlanes Joie De Vivre, 70.31%
3. Eleanor Darling and Wadacre Fancy Pants, 69.26%
Baileys Horse Feeds Novice Freestyle Silver
1. Hayley Dolby and Pendancer Mickey Bricks, 70.74%
2. Maureen Cronshaw and The Fortune Teller, 67.22%
3. Lauren Larter and Temple of Freyja, 66.76%
Baileys Horse Feeds Novice Freestyle Gold
1. Tahley Reeve Smith and Romanno Dantano 74.20%
2. Craig Messenger and Treliver De La Crème, 68.15%
3. Hayley Dolby and Pendancer Bilbo Baggins, 62.5%
Equi-Trek Elementary Silver
1. Katie Roberts and Nemo VI I, 72.66%
2. Sandie Gibbs and Gomez Gold, 72.19%
3. Casey McKenna and Fiderstar, 71.46%
Equi-Trek Elementary Gold
1. Nikki Barker and Dan Icarus, 74.69%
2. Eleanor Darling and Forever London, 71.35%
3. Ben Martin and Jacko B, 70.99%
PDS Saddles Elementary Freestyle Silver
1. Suzanne Ashwell and Rhomantic, 75.06%
2. Sophie Hayward and Haywards Fieldmaster, 73.14%
3. Katie Roberts and Nemo VI I, 71.79%
PDS Saddles Elementary Freestyle Gold
1. Tahley Reeve Smith and Jilleke, 70.38%
2. Ben Martin and Jacko B, 69.04%
1. Tracy Fall and Mount Pleasant Fleur VII, 68.96%
2. Kaye De Graaff and Nemo VI I, 67.66%
3. Victoria Bax and Albertas Pride, 66.31%
1. Tahley Reeve Smith and Woodcroft Valentino, 70.99%
2. Nikki Barker and Iwan, 69.82%
3. Sarah Turner and Dexterity, 69.23%
Spillers Medium Freestyle Silver
1. Tracy Fall and Mount Pleasant San Lorenzo, 69.72%
2. Sarah Kendall and JoJo, 65.33%
3. Margaret Phizacklea and Good Boy, 64.5%
Spillers Medium Freestyle Gold
1. Tahley Reeve-Smith and Woodcroft Valentino, 71.11%
2. Tahley Reeve-Smith and Jilleke, 66.22%
Charles Owen Advanced Medium Silver
1. Lynn Perry and My Samber Rose, 68.29%
2. Margaret Phizacklea and Good Boy, 66.32%
3. Judy Price and Fannini, 66.13%
Charles Owen Advanced Medium Gold
1. Cornelia O’Mahoney and Gravitas II, 72.06%
2. Sarah Williams and San Remo Hit, 68.25%
3. Nikki Barker and Iwan 67.72%
Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Silver
1. Kate Rowland and Erasmus I, 71.06%
2. Jessica Whitehead and The Amazing Spiderman, 70.83%
3. Lynn Perry and My Samber Rose, 67.94%
Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Gold
1. Tahley Reeve-Smith and Woodcroft Valentino, 69.56%
2. Christine Cockerton and Evaldo, 68.56%
Magic Prix St Georges Gold
1. Cornelia O’Mahony and Formidable, 67.76%
2. Rachel Murray and Winnetou G.E.P., 67.28%
3. Mark Mills and Washington DC, 67.24%
Superflex Intermediate I Gold
1. Cornelia O’Mahoney and Formidable, 69.82%
2. Sarah Turner and Eduardo, 66.93%
3. Michelle Watson and GDH Florestans Fire, 62.63%
Photo © Moret Photography