Hughes, Burgess, Kerslake and Dahl take titles at BD U21 National Championships
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Britain’s youth riders showed great potential at the first-time running of the BD U21 National Championships held last week at Vale View Equestrian in Leicestershire (30 – 31 October 2020). The two-day competition, supported by the British Dressage Supporters Club (BDSC) and held alongside Vale View High Profile Show, boasted a wealth of youth talent as our national champions were crowned.
The format of the championships entailed an FEI pick-your-own Team Test on Friday followed by and FEI pick-your-own Individual Test on Saturday, the combined percentage scores from each deciding the final placings.
Children on Horses
The Children on Horses competition had just one competitor, Ruby Hughes, but what it lacked in quantity it made up for in class with Ruby (12) achieving the highest score on both days with Nancy Scott’s Classic Bee Gee (pictured top). This secured them the overall title of BD U21 National Champion.
The pair achieved scores of 73.35% and 72.27% for their expressive and off-the-floor performances, their way of going showing much scope for the future.
Ruby, daughter of Gareth and Rebecca Hughes, has represented Great Britain internationally in equestrian vaulting for the past two years culminating in her selection for the European Vaulting Championships in Ermelo last year – a phenomenal achievement for someone so young. All the while, she’s been studiously developing her skills as a dressage rider at her home base in Warwickshire.
“He [Classic Bee Gee] was so good,” said Ruby, talking after her winning ride on day two at Vale View. “He looked after me so much, and even though he was tired he still tried his heart out.”
Classic Bee Gee, aptly known as Barry, as in Barry Gibb, is a new ride for Ruby. The 14-year-old bay KWPN gelding was bought by owner Nancy Scott earlier this year and his young rider has partnered him since the middle of lockdown. “We went to Holland, just to look at horses… then we saw him,” explained Ruby. “We couldn’t really leave him behind to be honest because he was so special!”
Talking about their future plans Ruby said, “I would like to do Juniors on him in years to come, and maybe try to go to the Children on Horses Europeans next year. That would be great, I’d love to do that.”
“He’s a lovely horse. He’s got a very smart mind but he uses it to put into his work which is a wonderful feeling.”
The Pony National Championship was a close-fought contest with Mette Dahl and Sofia Games jostling for top spot. The new partnership of Sofia Games and Mister Snowman won the Pony Team Test but it was Mette Dahl’s winning Pony Individual Test that secured her the title. Mette and her partner, the scopey grey George Clooney BS (pictured above), delivered two super tests to earn scores of 70.64% and 69.55%.
Mette and George Clooney BS (by Caesar 171) came to Vale View fresh from three top-three placings including a freestyle win at Keysoe international.
“It’s a very nice feeling to come here and do well,” said Mette. “He’s had some time off since Keysoe CDI because I’ve had exams. I had no expectations at all so to come back with this is a big deal.”
Describing George and the day’s performance, Mette explained, “He’s a got a really nice, big expression and the judges really like that. I was pleased to be able to get the expression in the trot work today and good energy in the canter. I’m very happy.
“I’ve had George for two years now and we’ve not done too much together just yet,” continued Mette. “Looking ahead, I’m hoping for some more CDIs. I have two more years in Ponies and hopefully we will have a Euros in that time, but that’s a very long goal. It would be good to get there at some point.”
Mette (14) has enjoyed much success this year, having won the Children on Horses divisions at Le Mans CDI in February with her father Anders’ former top ride and Olympic horse Selten HW.
Second place belonged to Sofia Games with Janet Oliver and Katie Games’ Mister Snowman, and third to Beatrice Butterworth with Sharon Butterworth’s Carlsson.
Holly Kerslake (16) collected the National Junior Championship title with winning rides in both the Team and Individual tests. Twice British team member at Pony European Championships with Valhallas Zorro, Holly is now making her way in Juniors with Laura Summers’ KWPN mare Extasia (pictured above). Holly has ridden the 11-year-old for little more than twelve months and during that time they’ve formed an impressive pairing.
“I was really happy,” said Holly before her journey back home to Devon. “Yesterday I had a little bit of an underpowered test, so today I tried for a bit more power which paid off and the things I had to improve on yesterday I managed to improve on today, which was really pleasing.”
About Extasia, Holly says, “She’s definitely a mare and quite a princess but we all love her, and she always tries her best. She’ll go in the arena and no matter what, I know I can rely on her - I know she’ll give me 100%. We’ve got quite a good relationship now so she always looks to me for trust.
“During lockdown I did lots of training. I’m very lucky that I train with Anna Ross and I could continue to train online via video. It was really helpful. It was a good time to perfect everything before coming out competing again. And it’s good to be back competing. I definitely missed competing!”
Talking about what’s next for the pair Holly said, “Hopefully we’ll get some internationals again next year, to get out and get some experience. My main goal would be the Junior Europeans but we’ll just see how everything goes and take each competition as it comes.
Holly’s British Pony team compatriot Annabella Pidgley who has also recently moved into the Junior ranks, claimed second place with Sarah Pidgley’s powerful Belissimo M son, Belafonte. Claudia Davis and Fergus RT completed the podium in third.
“I’m really happy,” said Claudia. “It’s really special as it’s my first big stay away show with Fergus who I only got in May so obviously I haven’t been able to compete him that much. I’m so so happy with him this whole weekend.
Talking about how she met the 10-year-old Uphill-sired gelding, Claudia said, “He was with my trainer Dan Sherriff who had competed him to PSG, and then I groomed for Dan a few times and I just fell in love with the horse. Dan let me ride him a couple of times and was impressed with how we got on, then a few discussions later he ended up in my arms in May. Hopefully he’ll be my Young Riders horse, all being well.
“He’s 18 hands, maybe a bit more… I haven’t actually had the stick on him yet. Going from a 14.2 to 18 hands has been a challenge but he’s not difficult at all in the way that he really helps you out when you ride. He’s got a lovely personality and we get on so well. He’s definitely a BFG, a yard favourite.”
Caitlin Burgess (19) and Chocotof (pictured above) won the National Young Rider Championship title by a sizeable margin. The Devon-based combination have enjoyed a super year. They won the Young Rider Freestyle at Keysoe CDI in March and were runners-up in all three Young Rider classes at the October Keysoe CDI. Their performances here at Vale View were supple and full of energy and expression.
“He’s full of energy this week so both tests were a little difficult,” explained Caitlin. “I couldn’t really do a lot. I just had to sit there and do little bits to try and keep him calm, but he remained focused and that’s more than I could ask for.
“It’s so good to come back out to more of a championship show again, but lockdown to be honest has done us the world of good,” said Caitlin who’s based at Henriette Andersen’s Oxfordshire yard. “He’s come out of lockdown so much better and we’ve dropped under 70% twice.”
Caitlin has owned Chocotof, known at home as Stanley, for five and a half years and together they’ve gone from Elementary to Inter I. “I know him inside and out,” she says. “He’s so naughty but so happy. He has to be the centre of attention all the time but he loves his job and he really tries his heart out. In the early days of our partnership he was a little bit wanting to do his own thing, but he’s now on my side and is super.
“With Aachen cancelled, the Europeans next year will be the main aim.”
Young Rider Second went to Charlotte Snape and Camelot III with Rebecca Bell and Nibeley Union Hit completing the top three.
Friday 30 November
FEI Young Rider Team Test
1. Caitlin Burgess and Chocotof, 71.75%
2. Charlotte Snape and Camelot III, 69.69%
3. Juliette Lindsay and Highcliffe Apollo, 68.20%
4. Rebecca Bell and Nibeley Union Hit, 67.63%
5. Jessica Hickey and Ziezo I, 65.26%
6. Charlotte Lutener and Full Fusion BS, 64.69%
7. Chloe Naylor and Karisma, 61.79%
FEI Junior Team Test
1. Holly Kerslake and Extasia, 70.22%
2. Annabella Pidgley and Belafonte, 69.68%
3. Claudia Davis and Fergus RT, 69.18%
4. Soraya Rogers and Evita I, 68.37%
5. Annabella Pidgley and Dibert L, 67.11%
6. Ellie Roberts and Zante, 66.62%
7. India Durman-Mills and Escade, 66.30%
8. Charlotte Neal and Walter’s Fable, 66.08%
9. Gracie Catling and Tsjebe Fan ‘e Vesta Hoeve, 66.03%
10. Sophie Taylor and Jerrydale, 63.55%
11. Eliza Ireson and Calva la Cornilliere, 62.20%
12. Emily Coller and Flabbergasted II, 61.09%
FEI Pony Team Test
1. Sofia Games and Mister Snowman, 70.85%
2. Mette Dahl and George Clooney BS, 70.64%
3. Beatrice Butterworth and Carlsson, 69.06%
4. Lauren Geraghty and WS Jackson, 68.16%
5. Demi Howard-Cartwright and Fin C We, 66.92%
6. Scarlett John and BKS Grand Design, 66.83%
7. Ronni-Mae Morgan and DST Carluccio, 66.32%
8. Evie Daniel and Brouwershavens Viceroy, 63.88%
FEI Children on Horses Team Test
1. Ruby Hughes and Classic Bee Gee, 73.35%
Saturday 31 November
FEI Young Rider Individual Test
1. Caitlin Burgess and Chocotof, 71.57%
2. Rebecca Bell and Nibeley Union Hit, 69.78%
3. Charlotte Snape and Camelot III, 68.77%
4. Juliette Lindsay and Highcliffe Apollo, 66.79%
5. Jessica Hickey and Ziezo I, 66.27%
6. Charlotte Lutener and Full Fusion BS, 66.18%
7. Chloe Naylor and Karisma, 65.78%
FEI Junior Individual Test
1. Holly Kerslake and Extasia, 71.14%
2. Annabella Pidgley and Dibert L, 70.83%
3. Annabella Pidgley and Belafonte, 69.64%
4. Claudia Davis and Fergus RT, 69.47%
5. Soraya Rogers and Evita I, 68.37%
6. Sophie Taylor and Jerrydale, 66.27%
7. Ellie Roberts and Zante, 66.27%
8. Charlotte Neal and Walter's Fable, 65.83%
9. Gracie Catling and Tsjebe Fan ‘e Vesta Hoeve, 65.30%
10. India Durman-Mills and Escade, 64.60%
11. Emily Coller and Flabbergasted II, 62.58%
12. Eliza Ireson and Calva la Cornilliere, 62.14%
FEI Pony Individual Test
1. Mette Dahl and George Clooney BS, 69.55%
2. Sofia Games and Mister Snowman, 68.65%
3. Beatrice Butterworth and Carlsson, 68.33%
4. Demi Howard-Cartwright and Fin C We, 66.42%
5. Lauren Geraghty and WS Jackson, 66.34%
6. Ronni-Mae Morgan and DST Carluccio, 66.13%
7. Scarlett John and BKS Grand Design, 65.89%
8. Evie Daniel and Brouwershavens Viceroy, 63.98%
FEI Children on Horses Individual Test
1. Ruby Hughes and Classic Bee Gee, 72.27%
BD U21 National Champions
1. Caitlin Burgess and Chocotof, 143.32
2. Charlotte Snape and Camelot III, 138.46
3. Rebecca Bell and Nibeley Union Hit, 137.41
4. Juliette Lindsay and Highcliffe Apollo, 134.99
5. Jessica Hickey and Ziezo I, 131.53
6. Charlotte Lutener and Full Fusion BS, 130.87
7. Chloe Naylor and Karisma, 127.57
1. Holly Kerslake and Extasia, 141.36
2. Annabella Pidgley and Belafonte, 139.32
3. Claudia Davis and Fergus RT, 138.65
4. Annabella Pidgley and Dibert L, 137.94
5. Soraya Rogers and Evita I, 136.67
6. Ellie Roberts and Zante, 132.89
7. Charlotte Neal and Walter’s Fable, 131.91
8. Gracie Catling and Tsjebe Fan ‘e Vesta Hoeve, 131.33
9. India Durman-Mills and Escade, 130.90
10. Sophie Taylor and Jerrydale, 129.82
11. Eliza Ireson and Calva la Cornilliere, 124.34
12. Emily Coller and Flabbergasted II, 123.67
1. Mette Dahl and George Clooney BS, 140.19
2. Sofia Games and Mister Snowman, 139.50
3. Beatrice Butterworth and Carlsson, 137.39
4. Lauren Geraghty and WS Jackson, 134.50
5. Demi Howard-Cartwright and Fin C We, 133.34
6. Scarlett John and BKS Grand Design, 132.72
7. Ronni-Mae Morgan and DST Carluccio, 132.45
8. Evie Daniel and Brouwershavens Viceroy, 127.86
Children on Horses and Overall Champion
1. Ruby Hughes and Classic Bee Gee, 145.62
Photo © Fenwick Photography