KBIS Young Horse Semi-Finals: stars of the future shine bright at Port Royal
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The second KBIS semi-finals were held at Port Royal Equestrian and Exhibition Centre in Yorkshire (21 – 22 July 2022) and there was strong competition for a place at the finals, which are held at the LeMieux National Championships at Somerford in September.
Tom Goode presented five-year-old mare Iceland Girl PS (Ierland x Londonderry) - pictured above - to achieve the highest score across all age categories. Debbie Cunnigham’s exceptional young talent was awarded a total score of 93.00 from judges Steph Cooper and Paul Fielder.
“She’s an amazingly talented horse,” commented Tom. “She’s a tall, elegant type and she gives a great feel. Her canter especially is amazing - it feels like you’re taking off.”
Iceland Girl PS was found in Germany last September and bought by long-term friend Debbie for Tom to compete. “Debbie has been friends with Emile (Faurie) for many years and has driven (the horsebox) for us for a long time. We went to a yard in Germany and tried a load of young horses, but from the first moment we just clicked. She gave an incredible feeling."
In addition to her talent, the black mare who already stands close to 17.2hh certainly has the temperament to match, as Tom explains, “She really concentrated in the arena, and for a young horse is so focused and mature.”
Tom and Iceland Girl PS also competed in the BETTALIFE Novice Gold Regional Championship, which they won on a super score of 74.32%, to secure themselves a double appearance at the LeMieux National Championships in September.
The highest score of the four-year-olds came courtesy of Dutch mare Nancy I (Incognito x Florencio) - pictured above - who was ridden into first place, on a total mark of 90.20, by her owner Jade Whitelaw (26). “I really didn’t expect to get that score or be in the top three – it was an utter pleasant surprise,” said Jade who is based in Aberdeen and works as a process engineer for an oil and gas company. “I went to Hartpury (the first KBIS Young Horse Semi-Final) also, but she grew in confidence at Port Royal so could show herself better. I was delighted.
“The judges really liked the training, which was very pleasing,” continued Jade. “I train with Jennifer Johnston-Harman and keep my horses at her yard. She’s extremely helpful and the driving force in the training. I couldn’t do it without her.”
The talented dark bay Nancy was bought on impulse during lockdown, as Jade explains; “My mum bought her impulsively in an online auction. We call her our Covid purchase! I backed her last December with the help of Jennifer, and the two of us have produced her together. She has been really easy - she has such a good temperament - and I’ve noticed a change in her confidence since competing at the semi-finals. I’m excited about her.”
Jenny Martell rode Emma Blundell’s beautiful chestnut mare MSJ Gold Standard (Governor x Fürstenball) - pictured above - to win the 6YO semi-final on a super score of 87.20. MSJ Gold Standard, runner-up in the 5YO championship at Somerford last year, showed herself magnificently to take the class ahead of Sophie Wells and LJT Egebjerggards Samoa (84.60). Jenny stepped up to ride the mare while current rider Holly Woodhead, herself deputising for sister Amy who’s expecting her first child, was away eventing.
“It’s been quite a team effort with me filling in for Holly,” commented Jenny. “I always feel very privileged to ride MSJ Gold Standard. She’s always a very consistent mare gaining lovely scores. She has three gorgeous paces, and the judges are always very complimentary about her. She has a lovely swing in all three gaits, and just ticks all the boxes.
“She’s also an absolute angel with a lovely temperament and is lovely to have around,” added Jenny. “She goes hacking up the hills with Holly and rides on the beach, which the horses thoroughly enjoy.”
Winner of the 7YO semi-final was Soli Bella (pictured above) ridden by her owner Grace Slater (26) from Lancashire. The pair, who qualified at Field House in June, were unopposed to take the win but showed some good qualities to score 60.09 and give the young mare invaluable competition experience.
Results: top three
KBIS 4YO Young Horse Semi-Final
1. Jade Whitelaw and Nancy I, 90.20%
2. Mark Forrest and Ivicii RMD, 85.60%
3. Holly Woodhead and MSJ Viva Dannebrog, 85.20%
KBIS 5YO Young Horse Semi-Final
1. Tom Goode and Iceland Girl PS, 93.00%
2. Katie Owens and For Alondra, 82.40%
3. Melissa Chapman and Godietas Mind Over Matter TCE, 81.20%
KBIS 6YO Young Horse Semi-Final
1. Jennifer Martell and MSJ Gold Standard, 87.20%
2. Sophie Wells and LJT Egebjerggards Samoa, 84.60%
3. Christian Lovell and Total Impact II, 83.60%
KBIS 7YO Young Horse Semi-Final
1. Grace Slater and Soli Bella, 60.09%
Photo © JFI Photography