Day two - LeMieux National Championships 2022
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It was a magical Moody moment on day two of the LeMieux National Dressage Championships as the Yorkshire rider claimed two small tour wins this afternoon. Often the bridesmaid, today Becky made it a fantastic Friday of her own.
Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I Gold Champion
Winner: Becky Moody and Jagerbomb, 75.67%
In the Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I, it was round two of the Moody Dujardin tussle which began in in the Fairfax Prix St Georges yesterday when Charlotte took the honours with Sarah Pidgley’s talented ten year old Hilius when Becky was partnering Jo Cooper’s Jack Diamond. But today, with the level difficulty turned up a few degrees, it was Becky, who’s not a full fitness owing to a collapsed lung less than a month ago, and her ever-consistent eight year old Jagerbomb who claimed the title by the tightest of margins.
Becky and ‘Bomber’ didn’t get off to the best of starts as she found him 'boring' as a young horse and it was only on sister Hannah’s advice he wasn’t sold. But once the difficulty level of his work went up did the talent and aptitude for dressage made an appearance. And the Dante Weltino x Udysee gelding has ensured Becky’s decision to keep him was worth it once again.
The scopey gelding was his consistent self with a super attitude throughout and there were few marks below a seven and a high proportion of eights – a bit of tension in the walk was costly when to judges drop to five and five and a half for the double value movement. The final tally was 75.67% which went into the lead ahead of long time leaders, Michael Eilberg and MSJ Dante VX, owned by Geri Eilberg and Nicky Hannam who set the early benchmark on 72.85%.
Becky had got herself to the top of the leaderboard with a good score but knew that Charlotte was looming large… As certain as the sun rises in the east, Charlotte will always give it her all in any test and she rode Hilius MHB for every mark possible – it was going to be close. The final confirmed score delivered over the tannoy was 76.61%. Victory was Becky’s but by a narrow margin, just 0.06% - and Bomber had himself another championship title.
Becky said; “I mean there is always room for improvement as that’s my thing, you never think it is quite good enough but he tries his heart out. I haven’t had the best prep for these championships and he was brilliant in the Inter II yesterday. He was a little bit tired today but he’s just so solid and dependable, he just ties always.”
With a broad smile of delight, despite the lingering pain of her lung injury, Becky added; “I’m doing ok, I really am doing ok now. I had to do ten days of no riding and only just started riding again on Sunday, a little tiny bit. So, it hasn’t been great but my team has just been amazing! He goes in there, stands still for the prize giving and gets all excited but he’s just like I’ll do whatever you tell me.”
And she’s looking forward to the next challenge; “Freestyle tomorrow,” she beamed. “He has his Tom Jones soundtrack that he debuted at Hartpury CDI, so we will be doing that again. Tony Hobden at Equidance did that for us and I love it, so we are really looking forward to doing that. I thought for a long time about if to have Tom Jones, as the cheese factor is just too high, but then I gave in!” she smiled. Will the big bay with the big heart be the sex bomb tomorrow? It’s not unusual for him to come out on top so it could well be the Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I supreme champion title for the duo tomorrow.
Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Freestyle Gold Champion
Winner: Becky Moody and Jack Diamond, 78.30%
It’s no secret that Becky Moody is something of a freestyle specialist, and true to form she hit the high notes once again today – with her second win of the day coming in the Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Freestyle Gold Championship, this time with successor supreme Jack Diamond. The eight year old gelding oozes presences and put his best hoof forward to take the title on 78.30%, an impressive feat for Becky’s latest exciting prospect.
“He was a total babe,” Becky said about her winning ride after an electric prize giving, “he’s by Electron, which is an Ampere, out of a Diamond Hit mare – owned by Jo Cooper and Pat and David Webster. We’ve had him since he was three, he did a couple of four year old classes but he was a stallion at that point, quite tricky, deposited me at Carl Hester’s feet at the semi-finals at Hartpury in the warm up for the four year old class! He was swiftly gelded after that...but he’s a really interesting horse, I spent two and a half years where I genuinely struggled to get him on the big. He’s so big moving, he was weak and he put so much effort in but in the wrong way. It’s taken time but he’s just starting to really come good.”
In front of Jane Critchley (E), Paul Hayler (H), Peter Storr (C), Caroline Tupling (M), Leanne Wall (B), Becky rode to her popular compilation of the BBC’s Sherlock and Last Tango in Halifax, “I love that music and I’ve used it with so many horses but I thought it would be fine. I’m super pleased with him that was his first ever freestyle. I practiced it once, he was supposed to have his own but because I’ve been ill I didn’t have time to put a floorplan together. We ran through it once!”
The test’s quality was reflected across the score sheet, with 9s for flying changes and extended trot in the technical marks, whilst the same marks fell in great number across the artistic review with music and interpretation of the music, harmony and choreography all receiving high numerical praise. Becky concluded by reflecting on her personal highlights from the winning test, “the trot half passes, actually the floorplan really suits him because he’s really good in the big scopey work – so the big half passes and good extensions, not the pirouettes they’re a work in progress!”
Next up for Becky is “a nap and a good night’s sleep!” before a busy day three for the Sheffield-based starlet, who aims to add more titles to an already impeccable LeMieux National Championship record.
Katie Bailey and Heather Bryson Izonic took second place on 74.525% whilst Harriette Williams completed the top three with her own mare Creto.
Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Silver Champion
Winner: Jessica McConkey and Wilson Stensvang, 70.73%
Young Rider Jessie McConkey’s outstanding 2022 has continued with a win at the LeMieux National Championships with her rising star, Wilson Stensvang. Jessie and the talented 12-year-old Danish-bred gelding posted the winning 70.735% in this afternoon’s Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Silver. This marks the duo’s second national title, having won the Advanced Medium Silver at the Winter Championships in April, and rounds off a summer to remember for 20-year-old Jessie.
“He went really well!” enthused Jessie afterwards. “I felt like he took me round, more than I took him - he was really confident. The changes are always his highlight, and his threes and fours were super, but he does like to show them off and today threw one in on the first centre line!”
Wilson Stensvang was a direct reserve for Jessie’s more experienced ride, Lady Gaga, for this year’s FEI Young Rider European Championships at Hartpury, where she achieved thrilling PB performances to take fourth place in the Individual and fifth in the Freestyle amongst Europe’s best. Two months on, it was the turn of Wilson to step into the limelight, with his winning round in the Vector Arena in front of judges Sarah Leitch (E), Penelope Lang (H), Andrea Smith (C), Kirsty Mepham (M) and Debbie Wardle (B).
“I’m glad that he’s now able to have a bit of the spotlight because he’s always just behind Millie (Lady Gaga). She was getting all the attention, and he deserves it just as much,” said Jessie, who hails from Oxfordshire and trains with Amy Woodhead, who herself enjoyed several British youth team appearances in her early career.
Describing Wilson, she says; “He’s co chilled out, tries his hardest and he’s a bit of a dude. We’ll be campaigning for Young Riders again next year and are training a little bit of the Grand Prix moves ready for the U25s, which is a bit scary but hopefully we can crack on with that. I love working with Amy, and Jenny Martell, who helped me warm up today.”
Equitop Elementary Silver Champion
Winner: Caroline Hunt and Fancy That, 73.12%
In the relative tranquillity of the Vector Arena, the Equitop Elementary Silver caused its own storm with a high scoring affair which gave judges Chrissie Havis (E), Susie Cumine (M) and Maria Eilberg (C) the chance to use their full range of marks.
Oxford rider Caroline Hunt came out on top of the 37 starters with her exciting seven year old, Fancy That, or Freya. Caroline, who launched CHD, her own coaching business recently alongside overseeing two livery yards, rode a polished test on her own Franziskus x Kaiser Kult chestnut mare for a score of 73.12%.
Caroline spotted Freya as two year old in Germany. She was captivated by her character, her willingness and, as soon as they put her loose in the school, her movement! “My heart sank when she came around the corner and I saw what colour she was, and then I saw her move and my heart came up again!” she explained. She kept her in Germany where she was broken at three before coming home to England.
“She’s been great all the way to be honest, I’ve taken things slowly but I don’t regret it at all, it’s been the right thing for her,” said Caroline.
Caroline gets help from Julie Payne, they’ve been friends and supported each other for nearly 40 years, and, following a birthday present from her husband for some lessons, has training from Judy Harvey. The duo is well established at Elementary now and ready to make the move up the grades. An excited Caroline is looking forward to the next steps. “She’s a real mummy’s girl, she’s always looking what I’m doing and she always wants to please. She’s definitely not a chestnut mare. It’s onwards and upwards for us next, she’ll be schooling over the winter and move up to medium. She’s just started changes so we see where it takes us but I’d love to be back here next year in the medium,” she concluded.
Second spot went to Jennifer Corrett riding her won Joie De Vie on 72.81% with the podium completed by Jessica Griffiths with RS Fürst Love who posted 71.40%.
BETTALIFE Novice Gold Championship
Winner: Angharad Harries and Jack Brown, 73.74%
The first winner of the day is awarded to Angharad Harries and and Jack Brown who topped the ranks in the BETTALIFE Novice Gold Championships with an outstanding score of 73.74%.
Jack Brown, owned by Ruby Hughes is a beautiful Bay gelding and the pair have ridden together for the past two years. When asked about how the two came together, Angharad interestingly said “he’s an 8 year old, it’s sort of his second career, he’s originally bought as a vaulting horse. When Ruby stopped vaulting, we needed something else to do. So, this year it's only his fourth show this year, he’s done two shows to quality for regionals, his regional and then up here, and that’s all he’s done.”
Angharad was impressed with Jack Brown’s test today in particular his counter canter. She said, “his canter work was brilliant, he had a 9 for the counter canter, all his transitions were really easy, and he really focused in the arena.” The gentle giant stood at 19 hands is described as “really adaptable, really easy to ride, and he try's really hard” by rider, Angharad.
For the future, she said herself and Jack Brown are hopefully aiming for elementary regionals for winters, as well as “slowly bring him on the levels.” We wish the pair the best of luck for the season and congratulations on their win today!
Congratulations to Dannie Morgan and Oh My VH in coming close second (73.22%) and Tom Gooden and Frankie PS coming third (72.96%).
© Kevin Sparrow Photography
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