Inaugural titles for Croxford and Hole
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The debut British Dressage Middle Tour Festival was a great way to end a unique year for some of the country's most talented combinations at Inter A, B and II levels. The first titles were claimed by Steph Croxford and Mr Benn II in the Gold section and Clare Hole and Pro-Motion in the Silver.
The British Dressage Middle Tour Festival is a new championships which replaces the Small Tour championships of recent years and aims to fill a gap left by the removal of Inter II classes from Area Festivals. It incorporates Inter II, Inter B and Intermediate A/B Freestyle classes with sections for both Gold and Silver combinations. Those who managed to qualify in this pandemic year enjoyed a high-class competition, a great way to end a difficult year.
Steph had planned the outing as an opportunity to give Mr Benn some exposure to a high profile show so the win was an unexpected bonus. The boisterous Irish cob part-bred, affectionately known as ‘Thug’ can be rather opinionated. “The first thing he did on arrival was nearly take out the lovely stewards,” said Steph. “He’s arrogant and single-minded and would rather go through you than round you! But if you get him on side, you’re away. Everyone else’s horses were getting tired over the three days but not Thug!”
“My game plan was to get round and stay alive! The goal is always to try and get in the arena what we can get in the warm-up and training at home.
“Because he didn’t know the Intermediate B test, he couldn’t anticipate the movements. I was pleased with how the Freestyle rode – I’d had to cut 30 seconds out of his Grand Prix programme.”
“I’ll miss Olympia this year, so this was my Olympia. It was lovely to have something to finish off the year.”
Clare Hole’s 17-year-old Pro-Motion (by Pro-Set) made the move up to Grand Prix this year and also competed internationally in the Young Rider classes at Le Mans. Clare took on the ride three years ago from long term owner owner and staunch supporter Lynne Jackson, bringing him on from Junior level.
“’Titch’ hasn’t been to a stay-away show for ages. He loves competing, especially the music,” said Clare. “He’s a joy to ride and puts everything into every test. In the Freestyle, I enjoy his extended canter. He comes round the corner and takes off like an airplane! It was nice to be able to put piaffe and passage into the Freestyle.”
Clare secured the championship title with wins in the Inter II and Inter A-B freestyle. Next year she hopes to compete Titch in U25 Grand Prix classes.
Congratulations to all who took part – and thanks to Keysoe for hosting. A full report on the Keysoe High Profile will follow soon.
Middle Tour Festival results
Inter B – Silver
1. Mark Walters on Iceblue Valentino 64.88%
Inter B – Gold
1. Steph Croxford on Mr Benn II 68.21%
2. Sara-Jane Lanning on Try Me Once 67.22%
3. Sara-Jane Lanning on Sigurd 67.14%
4. Tamsin Vaughan on Casse-Cou 66.11%
5. Sally Bell on State Secret 65.79%
6. Rebecca Tilton on Valliant 63.57%
7. Sammy Page on Ronaldo IV 58.13%
Inter II – Silver
1. Claire Hole on Pro-Motion 64.74%
2. Nanette Spence on Karma Cuba 62.5%
3. Mark Walters on Iceblue Valentino 60.18%
Inter II – Gold
1. Ellie McCarthy on GB Londero Von Worrenburg 71.97%
2. Lucy Amy and Rudy 71.14%
3. Angus Corrie-Deane on Tiny Tempur 69.87%
Inter A-B Music Freestyle - Silver
1. Claire Hole on Pro-Motion 67.33%
2. Mark Walters on Iceblue Valentino 64.25%
Inter A-B Music Freestyle – Gold
1. Steph Croxford on Mr Benn II 71.13%
2. Tamsin Vaughan on Casse-Cou 68.38%
3. Sally Bell on State Secret 67.29%
4. Sara-Jane Lanning on Sigurd 67.04%
5. Sara-Jane Lanning on Try Me Once 68.75%
6. Rebecca Tilton on 64.92%
1. Steph Croxford and Mr Benn II
2. Tamsin Vaughan and Cassecou
3. Sara-Jane Lanning and Sigurd
1. Clare Hole and Pro-Motion
2 Mark Walters and Iceblue Valentino