Competitors impress at Vale View’s Elite Equine Associated Championships

  • Written By: British Dressage/Joanna Bowns
  • Published: Fri, 22 Oct 2021 08:55

The Elite Equine Associated Championships celebrate the wide variety of horses training and competing with British Dressage by giving them the opportunity to compete against their contemporaries in an end of season finale. Following the Forces Equine Championship in September, the second of three contests took place at Vale View in Leicestershire (14 – 17 October 2021) where seventy-seven titles were awarded in the categories of Retraining of Racehorses, Thoroughbreds, Veteran Riders, Veteran Horses and CHAPS.

Retraining of Horses (RoR) is British Horseracing’s official charity for the welfare of horses who’ve retired from racing. They do sterling work promoting the versatility and adaptability of racehorses following their retirement from the track, qualities that were evidenced here at Vale View with great performances across the levels.

The highest score across the RoR classes came courtesy of Laura Watson (28) from Durham with her 18-year-old son of Desert Prince, Sir Arthur II (pictured above), who claimed the RoR Preliminary Gold on 71.56%.

She took to social media to say, “Beyond words for my boy, he gave his all and we performed our best test to date for harmony and connection, scoring 71.5!

“At the start of the year we thought we might end up retiring Arthur due to his old racing injury flaring up in his tendon, but we are no doubt here today thanks to JB Equine Ltd for the amazing support John has given Arthur to his shoeing!

“We’ve loved every second of the RoR champs this weekend at Vale View, the sun has shone bright today and everyone has been lovely! As always, I really couldn’t do any of it without my biggest support, my mam!”

Catering for all Thoroughbreds including those who haven’t raced, the Thoroughbred Championships attracted a quality entry of equine athletes from Intro to Advanced Medium. Fern Garbutt (30) from North Yorkshire and her eight-year-old gelding, Colinundrum (pictured above), impressed to win the Preliminary Silver title on the highest score of the category, 71.55%, from judges Helen Bennett and Alison Duck.

Year on year, the Veteran Rider Championships for those aged over 55 continues its popularity. Denise Glanville (60) from Uttoxeter, who has been a part of the British Dressage North & West Region Committee for two years in her role as Judges Rep, twice broke through the 70% barrier to achieve an impressive double aboard her British-bred mare Gypsy Fortune (by Grafenstolz) - pictured above. The pair posted 70.17% to take the Elementary Silver and 70.15% for the Medium Bronze one year on from the mare suffering a leg injury involving four months box rest and two stays at an equine hospital fighting infection.

Veteran horses aged 15-19 shone in the 15 classes contested for horses of this age group. Samantha Murray, with Natalie Tanner’s Bionicle W (Prestige VDL x Forum) - pictured above, achieved the biggest percentage score in this category of 71.63 for a winning Novice Silver performance.

“I was delighted with ‘Nico’,” said Samantha about her winning ride with the tall, black, Dutch-bred 15-year-old. “He can be spooky and distracted but in the Novice he was really able to focus and gave me a great ride. The highlights for me were his medium trots - they were balanced because he sat and went, and it was quite an accurate test.

Samantha (53), from Hertfordshire, is director of a furniture business she runs alongside her husband. Nico is owned by Samantha’s daughter-in-law, Natalie, who bought him three-and-a-half years ago having spotted his untapped potential.

“He was imported from Holland, subsequently hunted and had been living out with cows when Natalie bought him, so had very little dressage experience. Later, my son went to work in Dubai so Natalie offered him to me. We had a full house at the time,” explained Samantha, “so we quickly built another stable!” Samantha trains with Rachel Levy BHSI who she credits for keeping her training on track throughout lockdown.

Talking about her Vale View experience, she said, “It was a really fantastic show. Everyone was happy to be there and Vale View is a fantastic venue. The stables, the parking, the team, the arenas – everything was perfect and there was plenty of space.”

Familiar to many as a former international small tour ride of Michael Eilberg, Torino (by Corland), owned by Rob Lickley and now aged 21, looked a picture under Lizzie Hughes (pictured above) to claim the Veteran Horse 20+ Advanced Medium Gold title on 70.66%.

“He [Torino] thought he was at the Olympics!” smiled Lizzie afterwards. “It’s such an opportunity for an older horse to be in a championship setting again and he enjoyed every moment!”

Lizzie, a family solicitor who specialises in children’s law, trains with Nicola Lickley at Kingswood Equestrian Centre in the West Midlands and was offered the ride on Torino last November. “We call him ‘the professor’ as he’s a consummate professional. Riding is an absolute therapy for me and thanks to Torino and the Kingswood team I’ve ridden my first Advanced tests and did my first ever Premier League at Hartpury.

“Torino really is a living legend, he’s a one-in-a-lifetime,” she continued. “He had his 21st birthday party this year, and his fitness and health is testament to the management he’s received in professional yards throughout his life.”

Talking about the Elite Equine Associated Championships, she said, “The staff, the volunteers, the stables and arenas were all so good, and I can absolutely see why the event is so well-subscribed. It’s a real opportunity for older horses, the different breeds, or older riders to experience this type of atmosphere.”

The Coloured Horse and Pony Society (CHAPS) associated championships were well supported, with three of the titles contested won on plus-70% scores. Achieving a winning 72.06% from judges Cherry Elvin and Jess Griffiths in the nine-strong Preliminary Gold were Emma Jablonski (33) from Nottinghamshire and her four-year-old KWPN gelding, Multivision (Dream Boy x Negro) - pictured above, known at home as Mobi.

“Superstar Mobi strikes again!” said Emma on social media. “Had a fab time at the Elite Equine Associated Championships at Vale View. We won the Prelim Gold with 72% and second in the Novice Gold with 69% (one judge had us to win). Such a good boy.”

Congratulations to the prize-winning combinations and to everyone who took part. British Dressage thanks generous sponsor Elite Equine and the team at Vale View for hosting a fantastic event. The next and concluding episode of the 2021 Elite Equine Associated Championship series takes place at Bury Farm (11 – 14 November) and features Arabs, natives, draught horses, GB PRE, Lusitanos and TGCA.

The winners:

sponsored by Elite Equine
Intro Bronze Jade Taylor with her own Some Kinda Lama, 67.17%
Preliminary Bronze Jade Taylor with her own Bennynthejets, 68.64%
Preliminary Silver Jo York with her own Darnathean, 69.68%
Preliminary Gold Laura Watson with her own Sir Arthur II, 71.56%
Novice Bronze Kirstin Mellor with her own The Land Agent, 69.06%
Novice Silver Karolina Nichols with her own Nodachi I, 65.93%
Elementary Bronze Jane Phillips with her own Fair Duchess, 67.84%
Elementary Silver Gemma Lewis with George Dinsdale’s Looney Les, 67.84%
Medium Bronze Natalie Pettitt with her own Riffelalp, 64.92%
Medium Silver Charlotte Wilson with her own Orwellian, 67.04%
Advanced Medium Bronze Patricia Haskins with her own Crewezando, 65.81%
Advanced Medium Silver Charlotte Wilson with her own Orwellian, 63.91%

sponsored by Elite Equine
Intro Bronze Jade Taylor with her own Some Kinda Lama, 66.41%
Preliminary Bronze Pat Clayton with her own Budsson, 66.55%
Preliminary Silver Fern Garbutt with her own Colinundrum, 71.55%
Preliminary Gold Leonie Alldrick with her own Maghroom, 61.63%
Novice Bronze Katie Spitzmaul with her own Lord Roflow, 68.71%
Novice Silver Karolina Nichols with her own Nodachi I, 68.79%
Elementary Bronze Pippa Jones with her own Starskie, 68.60%
Elementary Silver Karolina Nichols with her own Nodachi I, 66.25%
Medium Bronze Katy Ferrari with her own Sirius Chesnut, 63.82%
Medium Silver Charlotte Wilson with her own Orwellian, 65.22%
Advanced Medium Bronze Tracy Thirlwall with her own Tapaidh Frankie, 66.21%
Advanced Medium Silver Leanne Jackson with her own Jazzwooderh, 63.52%


sponsored by Elite Equine
Intro Bronze Patricia Ray with her own Brynithon Summers Magic, 65.97%
Preliminary Bronze Pip Walker with her own Castle Pirate, 64.68%
Preliminary Silver Gaynor Vines with her own Hu-ray Henry, 67.29%
Preliminary Gold Philippa Hamilton with her own Hudson III, 67.60%
Novice Bronze Sarah Leggat with her own Riverfields Bay Prince, 66.56%
Novice Silver Sally-Ann Tucker with her own Dr Who, 69.37%
Elementary Bronze Caroline Elliss with her own Atlantic Royal Star, 66.03%
Elementary Silver Denise Glanville with her own Gypsy Fortune, 70.17%
Medium Bronze Denise Glanville with her own Gypsy Fortune, 70.15%
Medium Silver Sally Hall with her own Falira, 68.10%
Advanced Medium Bronze Carolyn Taylor with her own Curban B, 65.00%
Prix St Georges Silver Julie Hyslop with her own Rubin Star Lioness, 63.88%


sponsored by Elite Equine
Intro Bronze Patricia Ray with her own Brynithon Summers Magic, 66.19%
Preliminary Bronze Louise Swindells with her own Teddy’s Diamond, 66.40%
Preliminary Silver Vicky Pepper with her own Tara IV, 68.60%
Preliminary Gold Kimberley Heginbotham with her own Machno Bond, 68.80%
Novice Bronze Anna Godfrey with her own Charlie XXIV, 66.81%
Novice Silver Samantha Murray with Natalie Tanner’s Bionicle W, 71.63%
Novice Gold Fiona Fletcher with her own Fillinsky, 66.63%
Elementary Bronze Alice Croft with her own Higglytown Hero, 66.98%
Elementary Silver Zoe Golding with her own Ballingowan Stoneyman, 68.53%
Medium Bronze Imogen Arrowsmith with her own Lussaltown Marry Me, 64.48%
Medium Silver John Bowers with his own Wiaronette, 64.22%
Advanced Medium Bronze Deborah Annesley-Williams with her own Darkie, 63.01%
Advanced Medium Silver Amanda Dyson with her own Azzaro II, 65.66%
Prix St Georges Silver Josephine Clewlow with her own Bon Jovi AKW, 60.26%
Prix St Georges Gold Nick Lawson with Gloria Price’s Iceblue Valentino, 65.65%


sponsored by Elite Equine
Intro Bronze Angie Driver with her own Arianna, 62.17%
Preliminary Bronze Amanda Blaze-Smith with her own Mr Pots, 68.60%
Preliminary Silver Katie Hughes with her own Marble Arch VIII, 69.10%
Novice Bronze Kim Turner with her own Blackie, 68.19%
Novice Silver Amelia Ward with her own Tireve What’s Wanted, 69.31%
Elementary Bronze Amelia Ward with her own Tireve What’s Wanted, 68.53%
Elementary Silver Natalie Anderson with her own Double Black Diamond, 68.62%
Elementary Gold Nick Lawson with Ruth Webb’s Pasajes I, 67.32%
Medium Bronze Jackie Crombie with her own Donniro, 66.20%
Medium Silver Catherine Ellis with her own Prince Maurice, 68.36%
Medium Gold Nick Lawson with Ruth Webb’s Pasajes I, 68.44%
Advanced Medium Bronze Sarah Halls with her own Pavarotti II, 68.82%
Advanced Medium Silver Nicola Kirkham with her own Salvador S, 67.20%
Advanced Medium Gold Lizzie Hughes with Robert Lickley’s Torino, 70.66%


sponsored by Elite Equine
Intro Bronze Joanne State with her own Roxley Kahlua Star, 68.37%
Preliminary Bronze Jodie Aston with her own Milli, 68.71%
Preliminary Silver Rachel Ovens with Melody Smith’s Secretlodge, 69.91%
Preliminary Gold Emma Jablonski with her own Multivision, 72.06%
Novice Bronze Lynden Barrow with her own Fleur C, 67.50%
Novice Silver Rowena Mottershead with her own Spirit XIV, 68.06%
Novice Gold Freya Metters with Raine Harthern's Heathersedge Just a Vision, 71.77%
Elementary Bronze Sarah Hayter-Sharpe with her own Lucky Turn, 67.50%
Elementary Silver Freya Metters with Raine Harthern’s Heathersedge Just A Vision, 71.39%
Elementary Gold Claire Randall with her own Floris VI, 64.19%
Medium Bronze Corinne McNamara with her own Hot Toddy VII, 64.11%
Medium Silver Jaz Gualtieri with Samantha Gualtieri’s Shiraz II, 65.73%


Photo © Kevin Sparrow
Words: British Dressage/Joanna Bowns