NAF Five Star Winter Championships: Day Seven
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Seven magnificent days of action at the NAF Five Star Winter Championships culminated in a final day of Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships with five titles on offer. It's been a great celebration of dressage and thanks to everyone for playing their part. Everyone has worked together to produce a show like we've never experienced but with an amazing atmosphere and sense of camaraderie. Well done to everyone!
Petplan Equine Novice Bronze Area Festival Championship
Winner: Catrin John & Llancayo Danny Boy, 69.86%
The last day of the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships started in the NAF Five Star Arena with the Petplan Equine Novice Bronze Area Festival Championship, where Catrin John and Llancayo Danny Boy were crowned the winners. The duo scored 69.86% to top the class of 23, judged by Penelope Lang, Carole Thornton and Alison Duck.
Wales based Catrin said, “He started off really spooky! He was spooking at the flower pots on his way around but he just settled once he got into the arena and I was really pleased with him. He always makes everything look really smooth, he’s so rhythmical and makes it all look easy. We’re just working on his medium paces to have a bit more activity but he’s such a little star.”
And this wasn’t Catrin and Llancayo Danny Boy’s first trip to the Championships, “We’ve got here on a wildcard again! Last year we also qualified on a wildcard and finished second so it seems to be a good theme here – fingers crossed for next year!”
“I want to move up as much as I can, he’s fifteen now so as much as I can possibly do with him would be super – we’ll work on progressing through the levels.” On describing Llancayo Danny Boy, who’s a Welsh Section D native pony and 15 years old, Catlin told us “He is a little superstar, I‘ve had him since he was three and I’ve done everything with him. He likes dressage the best so that’s what we’ve been focusing on.”
The pair are back into the swing of full training after coming out of lockdown, “We’ve been plenty busy during lockdown as we’re on a farm, apart from not being able to get out competing and training I definitely can’t complain. I’ve not had my instructor Tom Buckland to whip us into shape throughout lockdown but we’re back training now and it’s going really well.”
The rest of the top three was made up of Steph Woolley and Freckleton Matador in second place, scoring 68.75%, with Andrea Kirby and Headmore Dramatica coming third on 68.61%.
Petplan Equine Elementary Silver
Winners: Rhiannon Hinton & Quaikin Horatio, 70.93%
Hartpury has proven to be a happy hunting ground for our Peptlan Equine Elementary Silver champions as for the second consecutive year they find themselves on the podium, but today was their first title. Drawn last to go of the second group, Shropshire’s Rhiannon Hinton riding her own seven year old Quaikin Horatio produced a very polished performance to please the judging panel of Andrea Smith, Helen Bradley, Sue Petty for a score of 70.93%, the only combination to break the magic barrier in the class.
Afterwards Rhiannon, mum of two boys aged nine and four, said; “It was a safe, relaxed not clear round. He’s a horse who finds it hard to relax in an atmosphere like this but the lockdown conditions here have really suited him as it’s quieter. I’m proud of how through he was and how with me he felt. His confidence is building all the time.”
Bought as a yearling from the Quaikin Stud locally in Ellesmere, Rhiannon has produced the sensitive Hotline x Dimaggio gelding herself from her small holding home where ‘Bob’ shares the yard with a companion horse and her Advanced ride which retired in 2015. A Regulatory Compliance Manager for BT, Rhiannon teaches a small group of riders locally alongside her day job. “I’m so passionate about training and the journey we have with our horses that I’m willing to do anything to make it work. Juggling everything is hard but it’s worth it,” she proudly declared.
Annabel Abell finished in second with her own Sheepcote Lets Go on 69.95%, an improvement on her third position in the Petplan Equine Area Festival Medium Bronze championship where an error of course cost her a place. Third spot was claimed by Suzanne Ashwell and Rhomantic on 68.38% which gives us a British bred one-two-three.
Petplan Equine Intermediate I Silver Area Festival Championship
Rebecca Baybutt, Hey Mambo, 68.64%
As the sun shone on the NAF Five Star Arena, the final combination of the Petplan Equine Intermediate I Silver Area Festival Championship rode to victory with 68.64% and claimed the coveted top spot in the class.
Rebecca Baybutt and Michelle Swire’s Hey Mambo, who are based with Tracy and Amy Woodhead in Grimsby, impressed judges Sandy Phillips, Jenny Ward and Nick Burton to finish in first place.
This was only BD Youth rider Rebecca and Hey Mambo’s second outing this year, “I was really pleased with him today. He was a bit spooky and fresh but at 18 he knows his job. His changes, medium trot and pirouettes were good – I’m especially happy with the pirouettes as they’re still a green area for him. Through lockdown we worked on keeping things fun for him to maintain his interest with plenty of hacking but bringing him on for the next level.”
18 years young Hey Mambo is proving there’s no such thing as being too old to learn new things as the duo are currently working on reaching Grand Prix level.
Rebecca, who has aspirations to make dressage her profession and own a yard, produce horses and teach clients, ended 2019 on a high when she won the Prix St Georges title with Hey Mambo at the BD Small Tour Championships in December.
Jane Morris and Quinet Du Buisson Z scored 66.798% to finish second, with third place going to Diana Barley and Nirvana Celestial with a score of 65.92%.
Petplan Equine Medium Silver Area Festival Championship
Winners: Danielle Rhodes & Tiger Tim, 68.23%
It was first place for Danielle Rhodes and Tiger Tim in the Petplan Equine Medium Silver Area Festival Championship as the Championships came to a close for the Petplan Equine Arena this afternoon. In the class of 23, judged by Jane Mcgarel-Groves, Penelope Lang and Helen Clark, the pair scored 68.24% in a closely contested battle for the top spot.
The places had to be decided on the collective mark as Danielle and Tiger Tim scored the same percentage as second place Hannah Jones and Replica II. Katie Lawrence and Donaulied were just 0.25% behind the leaders, scoring 67.99%.
Danielle, based in Somerset, said “He was really consistent today and kept more energy – there was a bit more about him than usual. We’ve done a couple of Advanced Mediums now but he’s the sort of horse that needs to go and do the tests to know what there about. I’m looking forward to bringing him on at the level. He’s very laid back but we’ve been covering a bit with him recently and that’s sparked him up a little bit! He does a little bit of everything at home, he enjoys his jumping – we work hard to keep him athletic."
Owned and bred by Denise Kersley, 15 year old Tiger Tim is a traditionally bred gypsy cob and is no stranger to a championships, having finished fourth in the Elementary Silver class of the LeMieux National Dressage Championships in 2018.
Petplan Equine Advanced Medium Silver
Winner: Josie Kent & Serious Black, 68.50%
Andrea Smith, Alison Duck and Helen Bradley duyl awarded the win in our final class of the Championships to local youth rider Josie Kent and her Hercorose son Serious Black, with a winning score of 68.50%.
Speaking about her championship performance a delighted Josie said “It was a safe consistent test – my halts were probably the worst part – but there were no major mistakes. My medium canter to the change on the corner felt really good and the lateral work was more supple than usual.”
Gloucester based Josie’s been riding her champion horse for six years, “At 15, we work on keeping him supple and enjoying his work with plenty of hacking and pole work.” The striking bay gelding clearly has a lovely bond with his rider and the future looks bright for the well matched pair, “He’s cheeky but you have to make friends him before he’ll trust you but then he’s lovely.”
Josie currently juggles two jobs in the property industry, teaching piano and her two horses, and looks forward to continuing her progress with Serious Black on whom she’s recently completed her first Prix St Georges tests.
Finishing second on collectives was Scotland’s Carmen Gammie with her pint-sized powerhouse Champagne Bubbles. The vivacious native pony is no stranger to success at major events, this being his 17thNational Championship appearance though his first at Advanced Medium level. Third place went to Warwickshire based Madeleine Gardner with her eventer turned dressage star Whatapallaver.
Photos © Kevin Sparrow