NAF Five Star Winter Championships: Day Four
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The rain clouds of Wednesday were replaced by warm August sunshine to bathe the Hartpury equine centre for day four of the NAF Five Star Winter Championships. Six titles were on offer and after ten hours of competition, six champions were crowned.
Petplan Equine Preliminary Silver Area Festival Championship: revised copy
Winners: Penny Graepel & Amour Just Cruising, 71.6%
The original winner of the Petplan Equine Preliminary Silver Area Festival Championship has been retrospectively disqualified, therefore the 2020 title has been awarded to Penny Graepel and her talented piebald performer, Amour Just Cruising with a score of 71.6%.
“I was delighted with him” said Penny, who celebrated her 60th birthday at the show with not only this performance but also fourth in the Novice Bronze. “The first half of the test I managed to produce what we do at home; the second half of the test he dropped behind my leg a little - but the fact that he’s relaxed is also one of his strengths. He’s completely unfazed by any environment.”
Ten year old ‘Cruise’ was purchased three years ago by Penny who’d spotted him advertised on Facebook. “He belonged to somebody locally and when I’d seen him out competing I thought ‘that’s the horse I want to buy’, then I saw his ad. Facebook exploded with interest but luckily I managed to get in first to buy him,” Penny explained proudly.
“He’s a really special horse - a complete saint but he’s got some quality about him. He’s out of a cob mare and by Amour G who is renowned for a good temperament,” said Penny who trains with Brendan Tegg. “He really is perfect for me, especially being an older competitor – I couldn’t wish for more.”
The Carmarthenshire rider rode up until her early 20s but took it up again only recently. “My career and having children took over. I supported my daughters with their riding – they did showjumping and dressage – then when they went away to do their own thing, I was left ‘holding the horses’. I was fit as I was running half marathons at the time, and now I do a lot of power walking – about 30 miles per week – plus Pilates, which is invaluable for dressage.”
Laura Wright riding Chilternview Elite Star (71.25%) has been promoted up to the runner up spot.
Photo © Hoof Prints Photos
KBIS Preliminary Silver Championship
Winners: Owen Davies & Bali SD, 76.43%
Hampshire rider Owen Davies (21) was the runaway victor in this morning’s KBIS Preliminary Silver Championship. Aboard his talented six year old Westphalian mare Bali SD (by Belissimo M), Owen knocked it out of the park with a score of 76.43% for plus four percent lead.
“I’m just so pleased with her,” said Owen. “She’s a very calm, relaxed horse anyway and not a lot seems to bother her, but to cope with a championships with so much maturity is very pleasing. I’m really happy with her.
“I was particularly pleased with my trot work today because she has been feeling a bit backwards recently. I’ve been working on keeping her forwards, doing plenty of transitions and keeping her supple, so I’m really pleased she came out feeling good today.
Owen clearly adores Bali who he bought from Dannie Morgan in 2019. When talking about how the partnership began, he explained, “I was working for Jezz [Palmer] and Lucy [Pye], Dannie [Morgan] had her and asked if I’d like to view her. I just loved her straight away, so I bought her and she’s the first horse I’ve had to progress me for the future. I’m excited to see where things go.”
“She’s the sweetest mare. She’s the first mare that I’ve had as I normally go for geldings as I just love horses with a good temperament, but I’ve been really lucky as she’s so chilled and relaxed."
Hartpury University student Emily Dove claimed the runner-up spot with her mare Epetry (72.70%) and Amanda Troniseck with Sunshine’s Dream claimed a super third (71.89%) despite getting stung on the face by a wasp immediately before her test!
Petplan Equine Novice Silver Area Festival Championship
Winners: Samantha Jimmison & Daria-I-Noor, 71.52%
Samantha Jimmison, an eventer and young horse producer based in South Yorkshire, claimed today’s Petplan Equine Novice Silver Area Festival Championships.
Riding Sally Iggulden’s Daria-I-Noor, a six year old British-bred son of Diamond Hit, she earned the winning score of 71.52% from the judging panel of Judith Harris, Debbie Wardle and Carole Thornton.
Samantha said “It went really, really well, I was really pleased with him, he stayed with me the whole way. He was a little bit scared of the banner but he got over himself and I couldn’t have asked him to go any better. I was really pleased with him.”
When asked about any highlights of the test, Samantha said “his mediums felt really, really nice and then when I watched it back on the video I thought oh he really did look nice! I just love riding the horse, he’s one of those horses from being 3 he’s put a smile on my face every time I sit on him. Even when he’s naughty I laugh at him because he’s funny - he’s a proper diva! Every time I go in the ring I feel lucky to ride him.”
Samantha produces horses full time and is based near Doncaster. She produces for all disciplines but is probably best known for producing young event horses.
She said “the dressage and these classes are fantastic for giving the young horses something else to do away from jumping, it gives them a really good education to come to these shows.”
Stacey Escrig and Goldfrapp R, a combination from Devon, earned the runner-up spot with 71.38% and Sam York with Oakring Santino completed the top three (70.41%).
Petplan Equine Prix St Georges Silver Area Festival Championship
Winners: Shelley Reeve-Smith & Sinderella, 67.85%
Hertfordshire’s Shelley Reeve-Smith put a bit of last minute ‘mum advice’ to her advantage today to take the title in the Petplan Equine Prix St Georges Silver Championship. Riding her homebred 15 year old bay mare Sinderella, Shelley put up a fault free performance to post 67.85% in front of the panel comprising Penelope Lang, Sarah Leitch and Nick Burton.
“I’m really pleased with her today, it was pretty much a clear round,” beamed Shelley. “I sent mum a video of me working her and she said go with the softer spurs – and her advice paid off, she gave me a really nice feeling.”
Based at her family equestrian property Sharola Stud, she and her sister Thaley have horses in their blood. Both she and Thaley rode Sinderella’s grand sire, Sharola Rainmaker who had a promising career as an eventer but a lesson with Emile Faurie changed that when he said take up dressage, and stop eventing in case he broke!
The family have bred a number of successful horse and this talent mare, by Sir Oldenburg, looks set to continue the breeding tradition – but not before Shelly has had a crack at getting her all the way to the top. The pair is already successful at Inter I having finished as runners up in the BD Small Tour Championship last year.
Second place went to Gemma Moss and Don Dino who was pleased with her score and placing on 67.45% as she ‘had no expectations, just didn’t want to be last”. The final competitor of the class, Charlotte Blain, snuck a place on the podium riding Donatella IV with 66.59%.
Petplan Equine Inter II Area Festival Championship
Winner: Nicky Jennings & Bodelicious, 69.254%
As the sun continued to shine, so did the riders competing in the Petplan Inter II Area Festival Championship! With a 20-strong class, Nicky Jennings & Bodelicious came out on top, impressing judges Sandy Phillips, Isobel Wessels & Andrea Smith, and winning the championship title with an impressive score of 69.254%.
Nicky, based in Cambridgeshire, told us, “It was brilliant, fantastic, I am gob smacked I have won it & I’m so proud of my horse, I did she’d a little tear in my lorry! I’m super pleased with him.”
Nicky continued, ‘The whole test went really well, he listened to what I wanted him to do, he’s a bit of a hot head when it comes to championships. A bit like me! I’ve been working for about three years on one time changes and today, I got 11 of them. That was the highlight for me.”
Nicky’s day job is a McTimmoney chiropractor, working on both people and horses. Nicky told us that, “this is a hobby for me, so to do this and achieve this...I could not be happier. I’m so excited!”
Looking forwards, Nicky now has big ambitions with her eyes set on Grand Prix and has started training towards that, with a hope of being out and competing at that level soon.
Second place in the Petplan Inter II Area Festival was Susan Dunlop with Dancer RV scoring 66.096% & third place was claimed by Jane Morris with Quinet du Buisson Z scoring 65.132%.
Spillers Medium Freestyle Silver
Winners: Camille Peters & SL Lucci, 76.44%
The Spillers Medium Freestyle Silver Championship proved to be a fantastic family tale when Warwickshire’s Camille Peters piloted her sister Phoebe’s SL Lucci to an emphatic win. ‘Lucci’ and Phoebe will be familiar to many as the history making gold medal duo at the FEI Pony European Championships in 2013 and 2015 but when university beckoned, Millie took over the reins.
Qualification for Hartpury was always the aim when they started their competition journey together – one last shot at a championship before the Danish bred pony potentially retires from competition. A win at their regional secured their Winters ticket but they had to wait a few extra months for their shot at the title.
Drawn mid-way through the first group, they firmly threw down the gauntlet with a stunning 76.44% with a mistake free, technically challenging performance set to music from Disney’s Ratatouille in only their fifth BD test together. Then the wait began.
Elice Willett and Gerento posted a 71.336% to go second before Scottish combination Samantha Dawn Turpitt and Bali Dancer came in and produced a superb test – they were at their best today. Now the agonising wait for the score…73.88% not quite enough for the win, but second place made the journey well worth it. Bali Dancer hasn’t been an easy horse and amateur rider Samantha produces her with no arena facilities at home add to that a journey down which involved a break down, adding extra time to the already 12 hour journey, that second place rosette shines very bright tonight.
So it was a win for BD’s Marketing & Sponsorship Officer with the pony who has given her family so much joy – and the experience of a life time for Millie.
“It was amazing! He just such a pro; you go in to the arena, halt and then he just takes you the whole way round with a smile on his face. He just loves being out. I was very pleased with my extensions today – trot and canter – as it’s not something he finds naturally easy but today we really got those right. It’s all a bit of a learning curve for me!” said a delighted Millie.
When asked if she felt the pressure as a member of BD staff and taking on the ride of such a legend; “I can honestly say there’s no pressure at all. It’s not something I’ve felt in any of the shows or training. I’ve learnt so much from him, and from Phoebe. I’m so incredibly lucky to be able to compete him and it’s been an amazing experience, I’ve loved every second.”
So what’s next for Lucci? “He’s 18 and we keep saying we’ll do one more championship, bring him back to where it started as Phoebe won the Medium Gold with him here in 2013. We thought we’ll do one more, call it a day but he just bounds off the lorry and loves it! We’ve tried to slow him down but I’m not sure he’ll go with it!”
Photos: © Kevin Sparrow