New format Nettex Championships cheer up November blues

  • Written By: Helen Triggs
  • Published: Mon, 11 Nov 2019 14:56

In the midst of gales, torrential winds and some very difficult conditions, the Associated Championships proved just how indomitable dressage riders are. From Intro to Prix St Georges, the competition was fierce but the camaraderie among competitors was equally as strong. There were over 500 entries for this four-day show at Bury Farm in Buckinghamshire (31 October - 3 November), with 70 championship titles up for grabs.

While the native, draught and traditional gypsy cobs were most numerous, the Arabs, PREs and Lusitano breeds were well-represented with some very successful combinations. Competitors came from the farthest reaches of the British Isles to have their chance to show off their horses alongside their peers. There were 12.2hh natives and 18hh Irish Draughts and every size and colour in between. The prize givings, which often combined a number of classes, showed the exciting variations in breeds.

Arab Associated Championship
Joy McLean’s homebred horses did her proud. Her purebred stallion Rashah (pictured) won the Novice championship and was runner-up in the Elementary division, while her part bred mare, Arktic Ayres, won the Novice part bred title.

Joy has a small stud near Edinburgh and has four generations of bloodlines for these horses. It was the first time 12-year-old Rashah had been at the championships and Joy admitted he had been a little bit disturbed by the flags in the outdoor arena and was ‘cheeky’ in the canter. “He loves his cross-country and jumping in the summer,” she said. “His mother raced so he’s got lots of energy.”

His mother raced so he's got lots of energy.
Joy McLean Arab Novice winner

From the other end of the country, Cornwall, Natalie Tindall and her mare Darees made the eight-hour journey to become Elementary champions. It’s the mare’s first season at Elementary and she will move on to Medium now. “She took to the big occasion very well,” commented Natalie, who has a stud of Crabbet Arabians.

Elementary part bred winners, Scarlett Darling and Cholido, deserved their title for two reasons. Firstly, for their score of 66.91% and, secondly, as a reward for their determination to get to the Championships from the Isle of Wight. Their early morning ferry broke down with engine problems and they had to wait while the ferry drifted into the harbour. This meant that they were delayed and hit the M25 on a Friday. Fortunately the Bury Farm team was able to find them a withdrawal slot so they could take their rightful place on the podium.

British Native Pony Associated Championship
These classes were so well supported that the Prelim and Novice classes were split and two titles awarded in each. Top scorer in this championship was Prelim B winner Sarah Wall and her chestnut gelding Llangybi Deio (by Pantyfrown Deio) with 73.43%.

In the part bred Advanced Medium championship, Lynwood Crofter and Susan Bullock were victorious, while in the Medium class, Catherine Tristram’s Lynwood Formula beat him into second. Both horses are by Lynwood Braint. Both competed at the 2017 Championship and their owners have become friends.

Three palominos headed up the Novice A championship, with Kate Hewson and the diminutive 12.2hh Welsh section B, Laithehill Flute, winning the title. He is Kate’s second dressage pony and she has owned the eight-year-old for three years. “He’s a real showman and has a stand-out personality,” she said. Flute has also qualified for HOYS in the junior mountain and moorland class. “He was a good boy considering it was the worst conditions I’ve ever ridden in. He was lively but manageable.”

The other Novice class was won by Rebecca Pocock and her chestnut mare Atinas Bela. Rebecca lives in Hemel Hempstead and is a manager and lecturer in animal and equine studies at Capel Manor College. “The conditions in the test were horrendous but all the training we’ve done was in place and she tried her heart out for me,” said Rebecca, who was at the Associated Championships for the first time.

The conditions in the test were horrendous but all the training we’ve done was in place and she tried her heart out for me.
Rebecca Pocock Native Novice section B winner

Madeleine Coope’s Rupert At Random, winner of the part bred Novice title, is a sensitive soul who hates travelling and had only stabled away from home once before. He is by a section D stallion out of a mare of unknown breeding. “He’s got a lot of natural ability and physically finds it easy,” explained Madeleine who has tried many different therapies and remedies to try and alleviate his nerves. “It was wet and windy and he halted at 45° to X but I made him put his head down and get on with it.”

Eden Powell lives in Jersey and has recently moved his pony Glasson Lad to the UK to make competing easier. After a competitive score in the Medium, they improved to 70% to win the Elementary title. Eden is 15 and hopes to contest some FEI pony competitions this year.

Draught Associated Championship
The draught horses produced some of the highest scores of the show – Dawn Barnardo and Ballycoog Silver Bells achieved 73.33% in the part bred Prelim and Kate Wallett and Cassanova King had 72.81% in the purebred Preliminary. But the accolade for the highest score of all the championships went to Irish visitor, Niamh Nolan and her five-year-old Irish Draught, Toberpatrick Tom Boy with 73.96% in the Novice championship.

Niamh is a secondary school maths teacher and qualified during a week’s road trip to the UK in the summer. They are already successful at home in Ireland and are the current Irish winter Prelim champions and were reserve at the summer championships at the same level.

Filling the eye in the arena was legal executive Heather White’s impressive 18hh dappled grey Irish Draught, Hawklands Echo, known as Cedric. Last year the pair were Elementary champions and returned to nail the Medium title.

The British-bred Cedric (Avanti Amorous Archie x Silver Jasper) is currently working at Advanced Medium so he managed to pop in a cheeky flying change during his Medium test. “He’s very bright and learns quickly which can be a bit of a problem,” said Heather. “I was anticipating him doing a flying change and when he didn’t I breathed – so that’s when he popped it in!”

He’s very bright and learns quickly which can be a bit of a problem. I was anticipating him doing a flying change and when he didn’t I breathed – so that’s when he popped it in!
Heather White Draught Medium winner

The part bred Medium title was won by Helen Airey and Moonshine II, owned and bred by Chris McGrann. Helen, who is a part-time chartered accountant and full-time mother of two, has been riding the 13-year-old for two years.

Moonshine retired from eventing after an injury and has had a lot of success in the show ring. They won the Novice and Elementary titles at the Championships last year so are building up quite a collection of sashes. “He’s a very generous horse,” said Helen, who plans to move him up to Advanced Medium next year.

Lisa Richardson and Corntown Bismark, winners of the part bred Novice title on 71.67%, had a good performance after an unsettled night in the stable the first day they arrived. “He was next to a stallion and had to move as they were fighting all night!” said Lisa. Lisa backed the 10-year-old when he was four and snapped him up three years ago when he came up for sale. They are qualified for the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships at Elementary.

Lusitano Associated Championship
Emma Pewter and San Rafael finished off a successful year, taking the PSG (Prix St Georges) and Advanced Medium titles. Emma had been in Paris a few days earlier, competing for Britain at the MCI European Championships (a competition for Iberian horses).

Stallion San Rafael is 21 years young and is still loving his work. Emma is a List 3A judge and lecturer at the College of West Anglia. She recently moved Rafael to her home and has found it has made a great difference as she has more time for him. Rafael recently won an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Lusitano breed society. “I thought he might be tired after his Paris trip but he was very lively,” commented Emma.

I thought he might be tired after his Paris trip but he was very lively.
Emma Pewter Lusitano PSG and Advanced Medium winner

The Elementary and Novice titles were won by Natalie Coles and John and Pami Nixon’s 17.2hh grey gelding, Del-Rei, who was bred in Portugal and bought as an un-backed three-year-old. Natalie has been riding the 10-year-old for 18 months and she had the highest score in the Lusitano championship of 68.08% in the Elementary class. “He felt fantastic in his tests, despite the weather,” said Natalie.

PRE championship
Zade Shakeshaft’s 11-year-old gelding, Entendido LIX was the highest scorer of the PRE Championship, winning the elementary title with 68.67%. Two years ago Entendido suffered a serious cruciate ligament injury which required surgery and nine months’ box rest. “This year he feels better than ever," she said. “He wasn’t very good in the medium class – he bolted down the last centre line!” said Zade. “But he was loads better on the second day. He was a bit of a superstar.”

Zade imported the eleven-year-old as a four-year-old stallion, had him gelded and has produced him herself.

Megan Rigg won both Advanced Medium and Medium titles on the lively 11-year-old Isleno XCV. “He’s a great character,” said Megan, who runs a small livery yard. “I’ve been taking him swimming and it’s made a great difference to his fitness.”

I’ve been taking him swimming and it’s made a great difference to his fitness.
Megan Rigg GB PRE Advanced Medium and Medium winner

The part bred Novice winner, Brookhouse Rioja, is no pampered dressage pony. Homebred by Claire Griffiths, she lives out 24/7 in a herd and works in Claire’s riding school. Showing some stylish lateral work in the warm-up, Claire confirmed that the mare she bred from her own PRE stallion is very trainable and has a ‘wonderful brain’. “She was a bit tense as she’s never stayed away and slept in a stable before,” said Claire. “She’s not really seen or done anything. My ambition is to go up the levels with her and ride in a top hat and tails.”

Tracy Hawkins notched up wins in the Novice and Prelim with Duke X, a nine-year-old black gelding by Neclipse JH. Later, on social media, Tracy thanked her trainer Rachel Skeffington for all her help.

Traditional Gypsy Cob Associated Championship
The muddy conditions weren’t very kind to these beautiful horses’ flowing feathers but they didn’t let that dampen their spirits. Top scorers were Helen Thomas and Fluffy in the part bred Intro A with 70.76% and Zena Dewhurst and The Wizard Of Oz who scored 70.72% in the purebred Prelim.

Jo Freeman won the Medium and Elementary titles with Chalk II. She bought the 13-year-old from a riding school seven years ago. “He’s clever and very enthusiastic about life,” said Jo, who works in conveyancing. “I went wrong in one test so I’m pleased I carried on and won.”

He’s clever and very enthusiastic about life.
Jo Freeman TGCA Medium and Elementary winner

Alysia Matravers took both the Elementary and Novice part bred titles with related horses. Ten-year-old mare, Fancy Pants won the Elementary and her nephew Tiger Mazerati won the Novice, relegating his aunt into second place. Mazerati is homebred by Alyia’s successful dressage stallion, Tiger Tim, out of a Hanoverian mare.

Leanne Bailey headed up a 15-strong Novice class on the 10-year-old mare, Fairytale III, who she rides for Moira Johnson. “It was hammering it down so I didn’t expect anything, although she did a brilliant final halt,” said Leanne who won the Preliminary title at last year’s Associated Championship. “We were first to go so had to wait right until the end to know if we’d won.”

The winners:

Arab Championship
Part bred medium
Jen Smithson and Prescoed Solomon, 63.6%

Natalie Tindall and Darees, 65.58%

Part bred Elementary
Scarlett Darling and Cholido, 66.91%

Joy Mclean and Rashah, 66.56%

Part bred Novice
Joy Mclean and Arktic Ayres, 66.25%

Prelim 19
Kirsty Scotland and PS Silvern Rose, 69.37%

Part bred Prelim
Niki Bown and Kynworth Casablanca, 66.56%

Intro A
Lyndsay Hutson and Crystal Inspiration, 59.78%

British Native Championship
Advanced Medium
Martin Greet and Watling Shakira, 63.68%

Part bred Advanced Medium
Susan Bullock and Lynwood Crofter, 66.25%

Nicola Byam-Cook and Twyford Salamander, 68.23%

Part bred Medium
Catherine Tristram and Lynwood Formula, 65%

Eden Powell and Glasson Lad, 70%

Part bred Elementary
Anne Clark and Malvolio, 67.42%

A: Kate Hewson and Laithehill Flute, 69.79%
B: Rebecca Pocock and Atinas Bela, 69.06%

Part bred Novice
Madeleine Coope and Rupert At Random, 69.17%

A: Jessica Clarke and Kilfenora Thunder, 70.83%
B: Sarah Wall and Llangybi Deio, 73.43%

Part bred Prelim
Darcy Marcus and Heavenly High Jinks, 71.35%

Intro A
Grace Brighton and Brockabye Pharoah, 72.5%

Draught Championship
Heather White and Hawklands Echo, 67.2%

Part bred Medium
Heather Airey and Moonshine II, 67.35%

Chyna Savage and Indigo Dainty, 66.61%

Part bred Elementary
Patricia Smith and Helios, 67.05%

Niamh Nolan and Toberpatrick Tom Boy, 73.96%

Part bred Novice
Lisa Richardson and Corntown Bismark, 71.67.

Kate Wallett and Cassanova King, 72.31%

Part bred Prelim
Dawn Barnardo and Ballycoog Silver Bells, 73.33%

Intro A
Lucinda Starling and Irish Sapphire, 70.65%

Lusitano Championship
Emma Pewter and San Rafael, 60.78%

Part bred PSG
Fiona Harter and Diumo, 62.89%

Advanced Medium
Emma Pewter and San Rafael, 64.86%

Natasha Read and Eloy De Almeida, 63.82.

Natalie Coles and Del-Rei, 68.08%

Natalie Coles and Del-Rei, 64.27%

Alex Sales and Heron, 58.22%

PRE Championship
Part bred PSG
Suzanne Holt and Vinas II, 61.11%

Advanced Medium
Megan Rigg and Isleno XCV, 61.51%

Megan Rigg and Isleno XCV, 64.04%

Zade Shakeshaft and Entendido LIX, 68.67%

Part bred Elementary
Caroline Frank and Charo, 65.80%

Tracy Hawkins and Duke X, 65.62%

Part bred Novice
Claire Griffiths and Brookhouse Rioja, 65%

Tracy Hawkins and Duke X, 64.89%

Part bred Prelim
Alia Cooper and Brecknock Killer Queen, 65.41%

Traditional Gypsy Cob Championship

Jo Freeman and Chalk II, 64.41%

Jo Freeman and Chalk II, 66.39%

Part bred Elementary
Alysia Matravers and Fancy Pants, 66.69%

Leanne Bailey and Fairytale III, 67.08%

Part bred Novice
Alysia Matravers and Tiger Mazerati, 69.27%

Zena Dewhurst and The Wizard Of Oz, 70.72%

Part bred Preliminary
Hollie Atkins and Murphy XIII, 66.66%

Intro A
Joanne Woodward and Uptown Girl IV, 70.32%

Part bred Intro A
Helen Thomas and Fluffy, 70.76%

Full results

Photo © SBM Photographic