Petplan Equine Summer Area Festival Championships: day four
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It was the turn of Novice riders in the October sun on day four of the Petplan Equine Summer Area Festival Championships.
Petplan Equine Novice Bronze Freestyle Summer Area Festival Championship
Winner: Rachel Moore and Djaikeh, 74.537%
It was girl power in the Novice Bronze Freestyle as Rachel Moore took the win with her elegant black mare Djaikeh; the combination impressed Moira Richardson (E), Linda Pearce (C) and Sandra Smith (M) with their compilation of modern pop earning 74.537%.
Rachel achieved plenty of 8s throughout her performance, with the high marks coming for both of her accurately ridden circles – the 15m circle in working trot and 20m in working canter. “It went really great,” the 22 year old rider told of her test, “I was really happy with her, it’s our first time ever doing that music because I changed it last minute and I did the floor plan last week. So it was all last minute but it really came together and she was such a good girl in there, so I couldn’t be happier.”
Rachel’s music stood out, with great rhythm and an upbeat mood; speaking about her choices she explained, “I had it for my Friesian who I brought here last year, I thought I would be a bit young and funky, so I went for Nikki Minaj and Doja Cat.”
“She has got a really good medium trot, I love her medium canter, she’s like gone! But everything about her is amazing,” Rachel, who hails from Hertfordshire, added about the temperament of her winning mare. “She is like a dope on a rope, honestly she is just amazing. She is such an angel to do anything with. She is six but she was never shown in Germany, so she has come over here and I have taken her to all these shows and she is just happy to do it. She has got such a great temperament, for a mare as well, she is not mare-ish at all, even in her seasons she is more like a gelding all year round, which is really great.”
“It has been so great, everyone has been so lovely and it just feels amazing to be here,” she concluded, talking about her experience at the Petplan Equine Summer Area Festival Championships and the reason behind choosing music classes, “she has really loved it too. I only got her from Germany in February so it is all new to her.”
“I did the Area Festivals last year with my other horse and I loved it so much, I wanted her to be able to experience it as well, before she went to anything bigger, I think it is such a great show for them to get experience at and enjoy.”
Hannah Folkard and her own skewbald gelding Kipekee Wakati danced to 73.241% in second, whilst Rose Punchard stepped into the third spot with Anita Punchard’s 20 year old Spot Awole on 72.778%.
Petplan Equine Novice Silver Summer Area Festival Championship
Winner: Isabella von Mesterhazy and Kincooley Cruising, 72.153%
In the Lincolnshire sunshine the Novice Silver class was on full display in the outdoor arena, with Sue Petty, Jenny Ward and Andrew Fletcher making up the judge's panel. It was the fourteen year old gelding Kincooley Cruising and Isabella von Mesterhazy who took the top spot with 72.153%. Dancing in the dressage only earlier this year, it’s the pairs first national title, “I came in on a wildcard, after I came third in one of my qualifiers, so to make it here and be part of this amazing experience is incredible.”
Director at Petplan UK, she has always been familiar with the series and decided to give it a go for themselves, “I have come to support in the past and look but I have never come as a competitor, so it was a bit magical. It’s been an exciting journey, I was learning the whole way through and I have met a whole bunch of people and friends who I’ll keep in touch with."
Isabella went on to tell us how she has found her Area Festival experience, “There has been so much support and kindness all the way through and everyone looking after one another. Because it is an amateur sport and we all have our lives outside of horses, it has been really interesting to meet so many people with so many stories.”
After a three hour journey to Arena UK, it was finally their moment to shine, “I went up the centre line and it was the most exciting moment ever, so when I came out it was a huge buzz. I think the highlight was how Minnie’s ears were always forward and smiling, and halfway through I realised how much I was enjoying myself and I had a cheesy grin the whole way through.”
The pair used to event so they would like to get back jumping in the new year now they have a national championship title under their belt. They stopped due to having her son a few years ago and they have been supporting him in his Pony Club journey, “I think it is time for mommy to have a go at doing her stuff and today is the start.”
And for anyone wanting to give the Area Festival a go, Isabella has this to say, “I suppose as an amateur your day job might take over, making the journey trickier but enjoy every single moment, I loved the qualifiers, I loved trying to get the scores. If you are lucky enough to make it to the championships, come with an open mind and enjoy every single moment.”
Vicki Hancox and Curious George placed second alongside Laura Bennett and Kanjer II who finished off the podium.
Petplan Equine Novice Bronze Summer Area Festival Championship
Winner: Sophie Lee-Amies and Kjango, 68.889%
Two years ago Sophie Lee-Amies took part ownership of Kjango alongside her mentor, Jill Wise who bred him. A stallion until he was four, the now gelding was backed two years later by Sophie, “He was the first horse I ever backed from scratch, he’s had quite a late start. He’s eight now so I’ve been working with him for two years and Jill is really supportive of our journey.”
It was the 68.88% score that put them into first place in the Novice Bronze by judges Kate Hancox (E), Gillian Peters (C) and Joyce Head (M). “It was really good, we had a couple of mistakes on my part but he’s been such a good boy in the test he really listened to me, so I’m really proud of him,” Sophie told us during the afternoon prize giving.
Talking about her highlights, “The medium trot are really coming on now, we have been working on them at home. The medium canter is getting there in the circles, keeping the suppleness. He’s quite a big strong horse, so that’s been quite hard for us.” Training with Sadie Smith, who they are based with she is thankful for all of her help. At home the gelding is known as the ‘surfer dude’ due to his relaxed personality, “He’s easy to deal with and considering he was a stallion for so long he’s so good on the ground.”
However the Arena UK atmosphere brought out a new side to him, “The first day we came here, he was quite wild, it’s a lot to take in and I thought ‘what’s he going to be like’ but the second day he was so good and felt really nice going into the test after the warm-up. I just thought we’ll see what we can do and do our best and I was really happy but I never expected this result.” A very proud moment for Sophie to be wearing the sash and rug in the prize giving. They're now aiming for Elementary at the Winter Area Festival but will take their time over the winter training at that level.
It was a very close top ten with eight riders all producing over 68% scores, and with the top three having less than 0.008% between them. Emily Avery and KGB Sandro took second place with Holly Rogers and Calcourt Florentine 0.001% behind her in third.
Petplan Equine Novice Silver Freestyle Summer Area Festival Championship
Winner: Looby Marsden and Essentially Small Change, 71.574%
The 6-hour journey to Arena UK was totally worth it for Looby Marsden, winning the Novice Silver Freestyle on the delightfully petite mare, Essentially Small Change, with an incredible score of 71.574%. Overwhelmed with emotion Looby spoke to us about how much their win means to her, “more than you would know, I got emotional when I got told, she just deserves it so much I am so proud of her.”
The 14.2hh has an incredible story, being a rescue pony she had not had the easiest of beginnings to her life, making today even more special, “I have ridden her for a few years for the lady who previously owned her, she was a hunting pony for her daughter. But prior to that she was a rescue, she had a foal and we don’t really know a lot about her history. She hasn’t had a very nice time before being rescued, she has got a scar on her tongue and back leg.”
With no prior experience of dressage, ‘Foxy’ as she is known at home, impressed the judges today, “she has never done dressage or anything, she is just amazing.” Depsite their amazing partnership the stars had to align for them to be here today, “she did pony club for a few years and then Molly her owner who was eleven at the time decided she didn’t want to ride anymore, so they asked me to take her on. I said at the time she is not what I am looking for and I am going to try and find something else. Then she told me to just have her for a while and give her back to me or sell her in a year. I have had her more than a year and she is not going anywhere.”
Foxy has not had the easiest road to the championships, “she has had a lot of problems even though I have had her just over a year, she has actually had at least six months of that out of work. When she came to me she was quite stressy and very girthy and I thought she had ulcers. We got her scoped and she had grade 4 ulcers and then she also had some problems with her coffin joints.”
Looking towards the future, “she has had a lot of time off and even the vet was not sure what she would be able to do in the future, so I have got to be careful how far I push her. I would like to get to elementary but to save her I don’t think I will push her beyond that because she doesn’t owe anyone anything.”
Winning your class at your first Area Festival championship was not what Looby expected from her experience, “my aim was top ten, I just am so delighted I can’t believe it really, it just doesn’t seem real. Especially with those beautiful horses, how did she beat them.” The hard work and training with Sally Bell, who also helped with the floorplan, really paid off, “I have ridden a couple of horses for her in the past and she has helped me, credit to Sally for my floorplan and she is a little bit more inventive and helps me show fox off really. She can do her counter canters quite well so we did lots of that and she just smashed it today.”
The combinations upbeat music also played a huge part in their rise to the top of the result sheet in the freestyle class, “I love things with a beat, I love music anyway, I guess anyone doing the freestyle loves music and she is quite punchy with her actions, it was quite fitting with her as well, so I am happy with my choice.”
It was incredibly closely fought for the top three placing, all within 71%, Hayley Sykes and Nuit Noir came in second place with 71.204%. With Lucy Dickin and Downton Abby closely behind in third with a score of 71.111%.
Photos © Kevin Sparrow