BD Winter Regionals: Myerscough
- Written By:
Myerscough College began its Winter Regionals on the 15 February and finally finished on 1 March. Storm Dennis wreaked its havoc on the schedule and many competitors paid tribute to the organisers and their team of volunteers and judges for keeping the show on the road at all.
In the end, the competition was fierce and riders (and horses) got on and made the best of it. Five riders took two titles each and Lauren Williamson and Vancouver LG had the highest score of the show, winning the Baileys Horse Feeds Novice Freestyle Silver with 77.87%.
The pair also won the Suregrow Elementary Freestyle Silver so will be dancing twice in the Hartpury Arena at the NAF Five Star Winter Championships. A former working stallion, Vancouver is part-owned by Lauren and LG Sport Horses. Lauren has been competing the eight-year-old by Connaisseur since April 2019.
Jenny Johnson put together two music programmes for Lauren – Escala for the Elementary and Lion King for the Novice. “He was really chilled which took me by surprise as he can be sharp,” said Lauren, who is based at Bolesworth and trains with Sarah Probyn and Stephen Clarke. “He was more edgy in the Elementary but he kept a lid on it.”
He was really chilled which took me by surprise as he can be sharp.
Sophie Wells, the winner of many Paralympic, World and European medals added more rosettes and sashes to her collection with wins in both the Equi-Trek Elementary Gold and TheraPlate Ltd Medium Gold. Sophie has her eye on both her rides as future Paralympic team horses.
Rising six-year-old Classic Jillz Geuzenhof (Charmeur x Frohling) had only been to five shows before his regional debut. “He wasn’t really strong enough to compete as a four-year-old so he’s been ticking along at home,” explained Sophie. “I didn’t know how he’d cope so had no expectations. He was brilliant although he was tired by day two as it was the first time he’d stayed away.” Jillz is owned by Charlotte Hogg who owns Sophie’s top ride, C Fatal Attraction, and is Sophie’s hope for the 2024 Paris Paralympics.
Don Cara M, who won the TheraPlate Ltd Medium Gold title, is Sophie’s back up horse for the Tokyo Olympics, although he has only been with her since the beginning of January. Roland Kinch bought ‘Donny’ six years ago when he was five. “Amy Woodhead has done a brilliant job of bringing him up,” commented Sophie. “He’s not the most straightforward but he is very talented. He has an amazing brain but can worry inside. Despite a few moments of tension, he still pulled off a good test.”
He’s not the most straightforward but he is very talented.
Sarah Higgins won both the Small Tour titles, winning the Magic Prix St Georges Gold with Sarah Rao’s Davidoff and the Superflex Intermediate I with Emma Blundell’s Mount St John De La Beauté. “It was one of Davidoff’s best ever tests,” said Sarah. “He’s spent the winter working on the Grand Prix stuff and it’s helped him enormously.”
The Superflex Intermediate I was Sarah’s first competition with ‘Della’ but Sarah enjoys riding under pressure. The 11-year-old mare (by Don Romantic) was second and third in the Superflex Inter I Championships in 2018 with Jayden Brown and in 2019 had some good placings at Premier Leagues. She has been with Sarah for four months and is for sale. “She’s super easy to ride in the arena and has no diva-ish tendencies at all.” Della has had a six month competition break so Sarah is confident that any small mistakes can be ironed out in training and that there are more marks to come for this talented mare.
Tyler Bradshaw came all the way from Devon to lift the Suregrow Elementary Freestyle Gold title with Igor VIII and the Charles Owen Advanced Medium Silver title with Gijsbert. Both horses have tested Tyler’s resolve in different ways. Igor contracted septic peritonitis as a five-year-old and only survived with intensive care and a massive vet’s bill, while a fall from Gijsbert broke Tyler’s back three years ago. It’s a credit to her determination and fortitude that she didn’t just give up, but has carried on and is now being rewarded for her perseverance.
“Igor was very good in the test. Because of his physical issues caused by the surgery, I have to work on getting him to engage his core muscles and to use his abdominals and back,” explained Tyler. “He tries his heart out. He’s always forward but it’s difficult to get him to sit. Bert went really well. He’s got real flamboyancy and has picked up muscle and strength. My goal is to get him more confident. He bottles up his anxiety and is really complicated. After the accident it took a while to get back to where we were but I adore Bert and our relationship is phenomenal. I train with Pammy Hutton and she’s helped me find his confidence without using any force.”
After the accident it took a while to get back to where we were but I adore Bert and our relationship is phenomenal.
Our final double title winner was Fiona Newell and Fendy VDG (Don Schufro x Ferro) who won both the TheraPlate Ltd Medium Silver and the Spillers Medium Freestyle Silver. Fiona has owned the 10-year-old mare since she was four and they have learned together. “She went into the arena with confidence and personality and it’s a nice feeling to ride a test like that,” said Fiona, who got the second highest score of the show in her freestyle test of 74.94%.
Joanne Dutton and Noble Top Hat added the KBIS Preliminary Silver title to the Veteran Rider Champion title she won at the Associated Championships last year. She trains the nine-year-old Irish gelding with the help of Stephanie Bradley and has had a lot of success at Prelim and Novice levels. This will be their first appearance at the NAF Five Star Winter Championships.
Jerrydale, winner of the Prestige Italia Novice Gold, will be at the Winters for the first time, although his rider, Sophie Taylor, is no stranger to championships. She was part of the 2018 Pony European team with George Clooney B.S. She started competing Jerrydale, a 16.2hh six-year-old by Everdale, in July 2019 and he has won nine out of the 12 tests he has completed.
Kirstie Clarke had to wait until 1 March to go down the centre line with Powered By Fürst Impression (Charlie). The seven-year-old by Fürst Kiss out of a Dramatic mare is homebred at the Broomhill Stud and Kirstie took over the ride three months ago. He was backed late to give him time to mature and get stronger. “I can’t wait to get on him – you put your leg on and he does want you want,” said Kirstie. ”I was really happy with our test. He’s super-talented but a bit of a worrier in the warm-up.”
Baileys Horse Feeds Novice Freestyle Gold winners Anne-Marie Cowan and Julieta’s BD record is a stunning list of first places with a number of scores of plus 75%. The black El Capone mare is rising six and is out of the same mare that produced the breeding stallion, Apache. She had a relatively quiet year as a four-year-old while Annie had her baby, Oliver.
Julieta is nicknamed ’Bunny’ for her long ears and was bought as a three-year-old. “I find the music Gaynor Colbourn has created for Bunny very emotional, as it reminds me of my Grand Prix mare, Feine Dame,” said Annie, who lost the talented mare five years ago. “Bunny’s never been to a championship before so I had no idea how she would react. She didn’t look at a think – I think she’s been bomb-proofed with Oliver running around at home.” Annie’s ultimate aim for Bunny is international Grand Prix.
Jennifer Harkness was “on cloud nine” after her triumph in the Equi-Trek Elementary Silver on Inouk (pictured). ‘Noodles’ was bought from the Brightwells Auction as a three-year-old and originally Jennifer had discounted her as she was 17.2hh tall. “The Dutch agent said he had not come across another horse with her attitude. She just wants to be loved by humans,” explained Jennifer. “She’s sensitive but in a good way. In the test I was pleased with her medium canter because we actually stopped at the end after sailing down the long side!”
She’s sensitive but in a good way. In the test I was pleased with her medium canter because we actually stopped at the end after sailing down the long side!
Jennifer works as CIO for Rubix, Europe’s biggest industrial distributor, and says her colleagues show an interest in her dressage exploits. Juggling riding and a busy international job is made possible by the team at Somerford, where she keeps Noodles. (Now to be known as Supernoodles.)
Emma Jablonski has been progressing Higgens Van De Uilenhoek (by Connaisseur) up the levels, starting with the four-year-old young horses classes at Myerscough Premier League in 2016. Together they won the Charles Owen Advanced Medium Gold to add to the Medium summer regional title they won at Somerford Park last year.
“He’s probably not on his best form at the moment but he was very consistent in the test,” explained Emma who is a dressage trainer and advanced equine bodyworker. Higgens was fourth in the Medium Gold at last year’s Winter Championships. “He’s more confident than he was at the summer regionals. I’m just working on building his strength and getting him more uphill and expressive. He’s only eight so I’m conscious he’s only just finished growing.” Emma is based in Nottingham and trains with Rhett Bird.
Charles Owen Advanced Medium Silver honours went to Lucie Dunkeld and Barchetta, who were also second in the Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Silver. ‘Bridie’ was bred and is owned by Sandra Tinker and is by Barclay out of a Der Lord mare. Lucie started competing him five years ago and has brought him through the levels with the help of Bert Rutten. The mare had uveitis two-and-half years ago and had to have an eye removed. “We have some issues with spookiness but she trusts me,” said Lucie. “She’s a very talented, hot chestnut mare.” Lucie hopes they will start at Inter I next year and she hopes to ride internationally for the Czech Republic.
Darcas Lever earned a qualifying ticket in the Equi-Trek Elementary Gold with French Noir MFS before going on to win the Charles Owen Advanced Medium Gold title with Flying Dream II. The pair had high placings and good scores at Premier Leagues throughout 2019. She commented on social media: “This little pocket rocket deserves his necklace so much. He tries his little heart out and always gives his all.”
Nick Lawson and Fandango V were winners of the Medium Freestyle Silver at Wellington last year and in 2020 moved up to take the Charles Owen Advanced Medium Silver title at Myerscough. The Fantainbleu x De Niro gelding is now eight years old and was fourth in the Medium Freestyle Gold at last year’s NAF Five Star Winter Championships.
British Dressage thanks the team at Myerscough, the class sponsors and all involved for a successful Winter Regional Championships. Congratulations to the winners listed below, to all qualified combinations and to everyone who took part.
KBIS Prelim Silver
Joanne Dutton and Noble Top Hat, 70.69%
Prestige Italia Novice Gold
Sophie Taylor and Jerrydale, 73.40%
Prestige Italia Novice Silver
Kirstie Clark and Powered By Furst Impression, 71.42%
Baileys Novice Freestyle Gold
Anne-Marie Cowan and Julieta, 73.61%
Baileys Novice Freestyle Silver
Lauren Williamson and Vancouver G, 77.87%
Equi-Trek Elementary Gold
Sophie Wells and Classic Jillz Geuzenhof, 73.40%
Equi-Trek Elementary Silver
Jennifer Harkness and Inouk, 71.61%
Suregrow Elementary Freestyle Gold
Tyler Bradshaw and Igor VIII, 72.88%
Suregrow Elementary Freestyle Silver
Lauren Williamson and Vancouver G, 74.55%
TheraPlate Ltd Medium Gold
Sophie Wells and Don Cara M, 71.58%
TheraPlate Ltd Medium Silver
Fiona Newell and Fendy VCG 69.77%
Spillers Medium Freestyle Gold
Nick Lawson and Fandango, 73.00%
Spillers Medium Freestyle Silver
Fiona Newell and Fendy VCG, 74.94%
Charles Owen Advanced Medium Gold
Emma Jablonski and Higgens Van De Uilenhoek, 70.8%
Charles Owen Advanced Medium Silver
Lucie Dunkeld and Barchetta 70.36%
Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Gold
Darcas Lever and Flying Dream II, 71.11%
Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Silver
Tyler Bradshaw and Gijsbert, 71.67%
Magic Prix St Georges Gold
Sarah Higgins and Davidoff, 67.68%
Superflex Intermedate I Gold
Sarah Higgins and Mount St John De La Beaute, 68.9%
Photo © Kevin Sparrow