First time win for North & West at Senior Home Nations
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The outcome of the Senior Home Nations championship, held at Kelsall Hill, was a nail-biting affair with only four per cent separating the winning three teams. The North & West region, runners-up last year, took the top spot on the podium with their Windsor team. Novice individual winner, Gemma Moss, was also part of that team while the North & East region provided individual winners at Medium and Prix St Georges.
While the winning team, North & West Windsor led both days, it was second day performances which gave North & East Balmoral and South & East ET their second and third places, helped by strong individual wins. North & East Birkhall and South & West Daffy Ducks were unlucky to come fourth and fifth after strong results on the first day.
Senior Home Nations is always a very competitive event, with teams made up of a mix of eager (and probably nervous!) first-timers and previous participants. Standards are high and the riders face three judges, one of whom is a List 1.
Alex Phillips, DO of the winning North & West region, was thrilled with the performance of her team. “We had a record number of applicants this year, so the teams were chosen entirely on merit,” she explained. “It’s great to see people who have done teams before moving up the levels. The Windsor team were deserving winners and it was wonderful to see how supportive of each other all the region’s riders were.”
“I don’t think we’ve won the Senior Home Nations before and it’s a first to win both Senior and Youth Championships in the same year.”
N&W Windsor’s strong first day performance gave them the edge. The team was made up of Annabel Abell (Prix St Georges), Gemma Moss (Novice), Natalie Chatley (Elementary) and Sarah Jacklin (Medium), pictured l-r above.
Gemma Moss and Carmel and Bernadette McLoughlan’s six-year-old mare, Manilla I, pictured above, lit up the score board on both days with scores of 73.68% and 74.38%. As well as being a great boost for the team, they gave Gemma the individual Novice title as well.
Manilla was bought from Holland as a four-year-old and Gemma has been riding her since she was backed. The mare had a light year in 2022. “It did her the world of good as she was quite weak as a four-year-old,” commented Gemma who will be representing GB at the MCI Championships later this month on a Lusitano.
“She’s really strong now and we had a really good show. She can be a bit opinionated – we call her Queen Manilla! She was a bit challenging in the warm-up but was lovely once she was in the test. When she goes in the ring she gives you better work than you get at home. She has the temperament of a war horse, she’s so brave. I train with Calum Whitworth and also Rui Campeão who has been a big help.”
Gemma was part of a Home Nations team as a youth rider some years ago and hadn’t realised that as a gold rider she was eligible. “I was talking to someone at the Hartpury Summer Regionals and he said I should do it. It was an absolutely brilliant weekend and I made new friends. It was a great time regardless of the results.”
The team’s Elementary contender was Natalie Chatley and Dauntae, pictured above, whose strong performance also gave them second place in the Elementary individual competition.
Twelve-year-old Dauntae is a mix of PRE, Trakehner and Thoroughbred blood. “He’s got the trainability of the PRE, the sharpness of the Trakehner and the forward-thinking brain of the Thoroughbred,” explained Natalie who works full-time as a HR director of engineering company.
“He’s fun to ride, he’s a sensitive little chap. I’ve had him just over two years and it took us a good six months to establish our relationship. I was looking for something safe and simple and rang up a local eventing dealer. Once I sat on him I didn’t want to get off! We’ve got our sights on PSG and we’re having fun on the journey. As soon as he gets into the arena he seems to grow a couple of inches and become a bit of a show-off!”
“I did Home Nations 10 years ago and then had a big break from competing. It’s great to be back and the team have such a great spirit. “
An amateur’s dream
Sarah Jacklin’s 12-year-old Good Speed (Apache x Rubinstein) is known as ‘Joey Essex’ at home. The pair, pictured below, contributed two good Medium scores to the team’s total.
“He’s my unicorn, he’s an amateur’s dream,” said Sarah who trains with Gareth Hughes and David Trott. “We started at Novice and now we’re working at Prix St Georges – I’m hoping we can go a bit further too. The first day he was quite fresh but rideable. I felt the second day wasn’t quite as good but we finished 9th individually. After this we’re going to the Petplan Area Festival Championships at Advanced Medium straight and freestyle.”
Sarah runs all the BD events at the popular Onley Grounds show centre and is a List 3 judge.
The fourth members of the N&W Windsor team were PSG contenders, Annabel Abell and 13-year-old Sheepcote Lets Go (by Lord Loxley), pictured above, who were second individually as well. “I bought ‘Sam’ five years ago from David and Serena Pincus and together we’ve gone from Elementary to PSG,” said Annabel who works full-time as Operations Director with a life and pensions company.
“I competed in Home Nations in 2017 on another horse and was quite overwhelmed. This time I really enjoyed it and loved being part of a team, getting support from the others and being able to give it. I train with Serena Pincus and also did the flexi training with Maria Eilberg as part of my application.”
“Sam is diesel not petrol so I didn’t do the warm-up classes. We did well on the first day but on the second I think I was a bit too focused on keeping him forward and made some mistakes. He’s a brilliant horse and has given me opportunities I’d never have dreamed of – we’ve been to the Nationals and Petplan Championships. Doing the Home Nations was an experience I thoroughly enjoyed.”
S&W’s Katie Kneen brought Melanie Etherington’s homebred Springtime Everafter (Everdale x Garda), pictured above, for experience so was thrilled with her win in the Elementary individual. “The trip was to get her used to bigger shows and I was surprised how well she coped with the atmosphere,” said Katie who runs Leyland Court Equestrian Centre near Bristol and is sponsored by Holly Kerr Equine Physiotherapy.
“She’s not been to such a massive show before or stayed in a temporary stable. I was pleased how she did three tests in three days and wasn’t slightly tired. She did everything as well as she could. We train with Hayley Watson-Greaves and Damian Hallam.”
Medium honours went to Jessica Griffiths (N&E) and RS Fürst Love (Fürst Romancier x Diatano), pictured below, who were also members of the second-placed N&E Balmoral Castle team. Jess had an action-packed few weeks, having been to the Nationals the week before and was getting married the week after the Senior Home Nations. In fact, she gave her husband-to-be a part-share in ‘Luvvie’ as a wedding present.
Jess bought the 12-year-old gelding from the local Ravendale Stud when he was three.
“He grew quickly so we’ve worked up the levels slowly. He was the Novice individual winner in 2021,” explained Jess who trains with Amy and Tracey Woodhead. “He’s a gentleman and very loving – he doesn’t know how good he is.”
Char Lassetter’s Fürst Crusador nailed the Advanced Medium individual title in the capable hands of Daryl Ware (S&E), pictured above. He took on the ride on the 12-year-old three years ago and has moved him up from Elementary to PSG. The pair has had a fantastic year with a second place in the Advanced Medium Silver at the Nationals and ‘Shroom’ also competed at Hartpury CPEDI with an Australian para rider.
“He gets a bit spicy so I have to ride him quietly through it. He feels secure and confident in the work now,” said Daryl who works full-time in Central Ops for John Lewis. “The first day I felt I didn’t ride the test as well as I can do but on the second day he was definitely more settled. That allowed me to go for it and the test felt easy and rideable. One judge gave us 79% - definitely a score sheet to frame!”
Clinical psychologist Emily Clarke Attwood (N&E) has owned her PSG winner Inspector Gadget II since he was four and has trained him up the levels with the help of Gwynneth Lewis. “He was lovely at the show – he can have a crisis of confidence and hasn’t had a lot of exposure to bigger atmospheres,” said Emily who has had support from the BD Youth Academies. As well as her work as a psychologist, Emily also has a yard at home and takes horses in for schooling.
Congratulations to all the competitors and thanks to Kelsall Hill for hosting the competition and to all the judges, scorers, stewards and volunteers who made the event so much fun.
Results – top three
1. North & West Windsor: Gemma Moss and Manila1; Natalie Chatley and Dauntae; Sarah Jacklin and Good Speed; Annabel Abell and Sheepcote Let’s Go. 418.27%
2. North & East Balmoral Castle: Lucy Lloyd and Glensensaw Sweet Girl; Jessica Griffiths and RS Furst Love; Louise Hurst and Florida II; Sarah Pickford and Monet S. 416.67%
3. South & East ET: Zoe Fitzpatrick and Mint Ice Diamond US; Kelsey Love and Ballyengland Midsummer; Sian Sheridan and Ardie; Daryl Ware and Furst Crusador. 414.91%
1. Gemma Moss and Manilla I (N&W), 73.68% & 74.38%
2. Bethany Edginton and Nelson HD (N&E), 72.57% & 74.38%
3. Anna Cannata and Sienna Amour (N&W), 72.74% & 72.28%
1. Katie Kneen and Springtime Everafter (S&W), 70.15% & 68.54%
2. Natalie Chatley and Dauntae (N&W), 69.12% & 68.8%
3. Kelsey Love and Ballyengland Midsummer (S&E), 67.84% & 68.70%
1. Jessica Griffiths and RS Fürst Love (N&E), 69.61% & 68.51%
2. Sam York and Oakring Santino (N&E), 68.77% & 68.51%
3. Lucie Stokoe and Led Zeppelin (S&W), 68.43% & 67.70%
1. Daryl Ware and Fürst Crusador (S&E), 69.35% & 73.86%
2. Lucy Lloyd and Glensensaw Sweet Girl (N&E), 69.62% & 71.71%
3. Zoe Fitzpatrick and Floriam TH (S&E) 65.34% & 69.82%
Prix St Georges
1. Emily Clarke Attwood and Inspector Gadget II (N&E), 64.35% & 66.08%
2. Annabel Abell and Sheepcote Let’s Go (N&W), 66.50% & 63.09%
3. Jenny Folman and Favory Gazdag (N&E), 63.70% & 62.35%
Photo © Kevin Sparrow Photography