Rising stars shine at Bury Farm High Profile
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An unseasonably stormy weekend didn’t dampen competitors’ enthusiasm for being back out competing at the second High Profile Show of the year, Bury Farm in Buckinghamshire, over the Bank Holiday weekend. For many, the goal was achieving qualification scores ahead of Keysoe’s international show in October.
The very exciting combination of Nikki Barker and Durable (pictured above) danced their way to double Grand Prix (GP) victory with scores over 72%. The 12-year-old Spielberg x Tango stallion was bought as a two-year-old from Holland by Viv Gleave and is now jointly owned with Nikki.
For such a powerful big horse, ‘Danny’ has the ability to gain nines for his extended walk and yet collect and sit enough to show excellent piaffe and passage. “He’s a dream,” said Nikki. “He tries so hard. He’s a mega-mover yet can shrink right down in the piaffe and fit on the spot but still with so much relaxation. I love his extended canter as he gets so much height and his two time changes fill the whole diagonal.
“I need to sharpen myself up a bit as I haven’t ridden GP tests for five years! One of Danny’s big strengths is how he makes the work easy – he relaxes and dances through the test.”
Danny now has a number of offspring on the ground and Nikki has three foals of his as well as a yearling out of her British team horse, Pasoa. “I’m breeding my own army of Dannys!” she joked.
Matt Frost has established a solid partnership with the expressive Summerhouse Delano (Dayano x Jazz), who he bought from Sara Gallop last year. They won Friday’s Inter I on 72.4%, Saturday’s Inter I freestyle with the show’s top score of 75.18% and Sunday’s Prix St Georges (PSG) with 74.6%.
The pair was fifth in the PSG at the Winter Championships and Matt believes Del is becoming more confident with every test he does. “His highlights are his changes and extended trot.” This was his third attempt at Inter I and Matt commented that his freestyle test was the best yet; “He was nicely in front of the leg and into the contact, which makes it easier to steer round the test.”
Ten-year-old ‘Del’ is also known as ‘Calamity Jane’ at home for his accident-prone nature. He pulled off a shoe on Friday night. “Fortunately a very kind farrier called Stuart came to the rescue,” said Matt.
Del’s next outing will be Vale View and Matt hopes to take him to some international shows at small tour next year, progressing towards national Inter II and Grand Prix tests.
Matt’s Inter II winner, Tribiani,(S.Landtinus DVH x Landadel) is no stranger to the big occasion. He has taken his owner/rider Caroline Chew to the World Games in Tryon and two Pan Asian Games. Although he is now 16, Tribiani is showing no signs of slowing down and scored over 70% in his test.
“He didn’t enjoy lockdown as he’s a workaholic and loves to compete. He loves travelling and feels really well,” commented Matt, who recently bought his half-brother from Norway.
Sunday’s Inter II was won by dedicated amateur rider, Sara Garvie and her own 15-year-old Ricardos gelding, Ri Alto. She has owned him since he was five and has trained him herself. This was her first win at a High Profile show and a personal best score. “I was thrilled that he stayed with me throughout the test and I could keep adjusting him as necessary,” commented Sara. “When I came out I knew he’d done as good a test as he can do.”
During lockdown Sara has had to have coaching from her regular trainer, South African based GP rider Natalie Hobday via Zoom. She’s supplemented this with test-riding training from List 1 judge Sue McMahon and support from Swedish rider, Josefin Gyllensward.
Cheeky but tries
Saturday’s Inter I was won by Anna Jesty on her own Furstenball-sired Flow Motion. She imported the nine-year-old from Holland a year ago and has trained him up from medium with the help of Anna Ross, “He tries hard but he’s a cheeky monkey and likes to have an opinion,” said Anna.
Last year, ‘Floyd’ exploded in the outdoor arena at Bury Farm so Anna was pleased with how hard he worked this year, despite the wind and rain. Anna formerly worked for Anna Ross but has set up her own livery and training yard in Dorset. She had hoped to compete internationally as a young rider this year but when lockdown led to shows being cancelled, decided to crack on towards Grand Prix. She is excited about his potential for the pirouettes and tempi changes and reported that the trot work is becoming very impressive.
Anna pipped Andrew Gould and Tatiana Spellman’s stallion, Genie I, into second place by just 0.4%. However, Andrew nailed Saturday’s PSG with 73.37%. The nine-year old Zhivago stallion came to Andrew for training last November.
“He’s a real talent and has been bought with international Grand Prix in mind,” said Andrew. He has ridden Genie in some challenging weather conditions recently – heat, wind, torrential rain – and reported that the horse never misses a beat, despite being a stallion. “His PSG test was a really nice clear round. He got nines for his three-time changes,” he said in summary.
Anna Ross won the PSG freestyle on Elite Dressage’s Newton Domino, having decided to enter the show so she could attend and support her pupils. “I can take no credit [for the win],” she said. “Daniel Bremner has trained ‘Dottie’ and Beth Bainbridge did the floor plan. A last minute call to Tony Hobden at Equidance produced the floor plan on Friday. I just sat on top and had a lovely time!”
Friday’s large PSG class was split into two sections. The A section was won by Caitlin Burgess and Chocotof, beating her employer Henriette Andersen on Zackery into second place.
Caitlin has owned the 13-year-old Lord Leatherdale gelding for over five years and is hoping to start his international small tour career soon, “Two years ago we got eliminated at Bury Farm!” recalled Caitlin. “Today he was super and has started to try more in the arena. He used to be tricky and make my life more difficult. He’s a very big character and very quirky.” The PSG test gave him the chance to show off his highlights – his half passes and expressive changes.
The B section was won by Eilidh Grant and her Gribaldi x Rheingau mare, Mount St John Doornroos II. ‘Ella’ was bought from Emma Blundell at Mount St John Stud two years ago when she was working at Medium level. “She had a green flying change and I struggled with the changes for a while,” said Eilidh who trains with Carl Hester and Nicola Buchanan. “I started training the one and two tempi changes and it made her realise the tempis in the PSG are much less stressful! She was unsettled when we arrived as she hasn’t been out since March but then chilled out, I was most pleased with her tempi changes and her attitude throughout the test,” she added.
Youth riders go head to head
Thirty-two riders went up the centre line riding a mix of young rider, junior, pony and children on horses tests. The only one to score over 70% was 12-year-old Ruby Hughes on Nancy Scott’s Classic Bee Gee, riding the children on horses test.
Although the daughter of two GP riders, Gareth and Rebecca, Ruby’s focus has been more on vaulting. However she seems to have caught the dressage bug and is having a lot of success with Bee Gee.
Her thrilled father said: “I’ve coached riders at the Worlds, Europeans and Olympics and I've never been so nervous in my life warming her up. She’s like an old pro though! She’s done a lot of riding during lock down and helps exercise all our competition horses.
“She’s lucky with the opportunities she has but she has a great work ethic and works hard at her riding and on the yard. She’s very natural on a horse and rides better than I did as a 12-year-old!”
The highest placed pony rider, Betsy Smetham, was enjoying her last competition with Amber V who is for sale as Betsy will be out of ponies next year. The handsome palomino is by Welsh pony stallion Orchard Limb-Lopper out of a German riding pony mare.
“I was pleased with him,” said Betsy. “He’s only been out twice recently and he didn’t look at a thing. He was nice and relaxed and did everything I asked.”
Isobel Lickley was the highest placed Junior rider, with nine-year-old Gracia LH. She was bought from Ann Van Olst as a two-year-old and is by Negro out of a Don Gregory mare.
“This was her first stay away show,” commented Isobel’s father, Robert. “There were a few green mistakes. Her changes are normally super reliable but they weren’t quite where we wanted them.” It is still early days for this combination who have only nine competitions under their belt but the potential is there for success.
Young Rider honours went to Juliette Lindsay (18) with the Thurman-Baker family's prolific U21 horse, Highcliffe Apollo, also 18. They posted a score of 67.59% and also achieved a super plus-70% for a podium place in a competitive Prix St Georges behind Matt Frost and Sarah Higgins. Juliette is in her final week as a working pupil at the Thurman-Baker's Turville Valley Stud before starting at vet school in a fortnight's time. "I am so grateful to the Thurman-Bakers for their generosity and knowledge over the past 18 months - I have had the most amazing time," said Juliette on Facebook.
Second place in the Young Rider section went to Rebecca Swain and her 14-year-old Krack C gelding, Bon Jovi. The pair had not competed since Keysoe High Profile show last December. “I was a bit ring rusty myself,” admitted University of Surrey student, Rebecca. “Overall the mistakes were mine! I’m hoping to move up to Inter II in the autumn – he’s still got a lot to teach me.”
Competitors were complimentary about the organisation of Anne Dingley and her team and how they dealt with the double whammy of Covid restrictions and appalling weather. Well done to the Bury Farm team!
Photo: © SBM Photographic