Equissage Pulse Para Winter Championships
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This year the Para Winter Championships had a new home at Myerscough Arena in Lancashire. Allied with that a new sponsor Equissage Pulse and live streaming, the Equissage Pulse Para Winter Championships (12 – 18 February 2018) certainly had the championship feel.
“It’s a massive step forward and I hope it will have opened up the sport to a much wider audience,” said Sophie Christiansen, who finished second in the Grade 1 Gold with relatively new ride Amazing Romance.
Denise Smith won the Grade III Silver with Sheepcote Catkin (pictured), a combination with a combined age of 82 no less, after leaving the decision to go to the last minute. “I fell off in January so I’ve not done as much as with her as I would normally do,” said Denise. “The weather was a bit iffy and I was on my own but I made the right decision!”
Denise has progressive cerebellar ataxia and despite being in a wheelchair looks after the horse single handed. “I was going to an activity centre for the disabled and they suggested I tried riding and me, well I’m always up for anything so I gave it a go,” said Denise, who trains with Nicola Bream.
Denise has had Catkin for seven years now, initially on loan before being gifted the horse.
“I rang up about her and the first time I set eyes on her was when she arrived at the yard,” said Denise. “She was a step up on the cob I had before but I love her.”
Hope Hayward filled the two top places in the Grade 5 Silver with Cadeau K and Hot Chocolate. The former was bought 12 months ago in Holland. “We looked at about 12,” said Hope. “He made the short list of three and then it was my trainer Nina Venables who had the casting vote.” This was a first trip up to Myerscough for Hope who lives in Somerset. “I really enjoyed it,” she added. “The arena looked fantastic and the live-streaming was amazing. It meant friends and family who couldn’t come could still watch.”
Ashleigh Jones made her last competition ride on the pure-bred Friesian gelding Roemer Van Veenord one to remember winning the Grade 3 Silver. The 13-year-old is returning home to his owner Mandy Wright for a quieter life. ‘Prince’ has turned out to be the perfect para horse for Ashleigh who has had the ride on him for two years. “I was in tears at the final halt but we did the best we could and the win was a bonus,” she said.
Julie Payne relied on her own Pandora to win the Grade 1 Gold, beating Sophie Christiansen in the process. “She always gives her best,” said Julie of the mare she competed up to Advanced Medium level before being diagnosed with MSA.
Kyrby Brown was delighted to win the Grade 2 Silver with Laura Johnson’s Sambuca. Kyrby has ridden the 17-year-old for two years after putting out a call for a para horse on Facebook. “Laura got in touch and as soon as I rode the horse I knew he was the one for me,” said Kyrby. “I think that was the best test we’ve ever done and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the year.”
Rowan Crosby secured the Grade 1 Silver with her Connemara mare Kilimazing Tiger Lily with over 70%, a feat she also achieved in the warm-up class.
It was no surprise to see both Sophie Wells and Sir Lee Pearson head their respective championships, Sophie with C Fatal Attraction and Lee with Zion although he was equally pleased with his two home-breds, Styletta who finished second and Breezer III who was H/C but shows plenty of talent.
Other winners included Izzy Palmer in the Grade 4 Gold riding Touchdown M and Sarah Davies in the Grade 4 Silver with former eventer Hundon Lodger.
Equissage Pulse Champions
Equissage Pulse PE3NA Denise Smith with Sheepcote Catkin, 67.6%
Equissage Pulse PE3IT Ashleigh Jones with Roemer Van Veenoord, 69.34%
Equissage Pulse PE4NA Sarah Davies with Hundon Lodger, 68.19%
Equissage Pulse PE4IT Izzy Palmer with Touchdown M, 69.45%
Equissage Pulse PE5NA Hope Hayward with Cadeau K, 64.92%
Equissage Pulse PE5IT Sophie Wells with C Fatal Attraction, 72.98%
Equissage Pulse PE2NA Kyrby Brown with Sambuca, 68.91%
Equissage Pulse PE2IT Sir Lee Pearson with Zion, 70.96%
Equissage Pulse PE1NA Rowan Crosby with Kilimazing Tiger Lily, 70.38%
Equissage Pulse PE1IT Julie Payne with Pandora, 73.04%
PE5NA Sara Bates with Parsley II, 66.88%
PE5IT Sophie Wells with C Fatal Attraction, 70.71%
PE4NA Katie Radzik with Lollipop, 67.41%
PE4IT Izzy Palmer with Touchdown M, 68.41%
PE3NA Isabel Slack with Brackenbank Flash Harry, 66.6%
PE3IT Jane Lishman with San Quentin QOS, 69.71%
PE2NA Kyrby Brown with Sambuca, 69.35%
PE2IT Georgia Wilson with Chico, 76.32%
PE1NA Rowan Crosby with Kilimazing Tiger Lily, 70.5%
PE1IT Sophie Christiansen with Amazing Romance, 76.61%