Petplan Equine Summer Area Festival Championships: day one
- Written By:
Day one at the inaugural Petplan Equine Summer Area Festival Championships was blessed with a beautiful sunny day, stunning tests and seven standout winners, with standard and freestyle tests on the agenda for the first time.
Petplan Equine Medium Bronze Summer Area Festival Championship
Winner: Megan Field with Bright Time FST, 70.29%
Young rider Megan Field shone brightly in the Petplan Equine Medium Bronze Summer Area Festival Championship lighting up the arena with Bright Time FST. The duo were the sole combination to top the 70% barrier, with judges Catherine Ellis, Alice Elliot and Karen Barker awarding 70.29% and the winners spoils.
“He was really good it was one of the best tests we’ve ridden,” Megan told us about her Medium test today on board ‘Harley’, “last time we rode it I just cracked the 70% mark so I was really happy that we could do it again. He felt really soft and nice. I was riding him properly, instead of not riding as well as I can when I have lessons – sometimes it goes a bit downhill but today it was really good and I was really happy.”
The 14 year old chestnut gelding by Breitling W oozes class and showed his paces off in the prize giving, Megan confirmed her winning partner’s highlights: “I love his extended canter and trot, they’re always the best to ride and he gets good marks for them. His paces are really good. He’s so chilled, he’ll stand in his stable for hours, just relaxed.”
BD Youth rider Megan, who’s recently started her final year of GCSEs, has experienced a little eventing and started dressage at the youthful age of seven. Training with Natalie Allen, Stephanie Toogood and Dan Greenwood, Megan aced her preparation in the run up to the championships – talking through her training goals ahead of the journey to Arena UK she said, “we’ve been working on quite a lot of accuracy, transitions and making sure I keep him in the right frame and how I want him.” Talking about her future aims in the arena with Harley she concluded, “Hopefully we can do a bit more and try and aim for Juniors, I’d love to get on the teams – that would be incredible.”
Petplan Equine Medium Silver Summer Area Festival Championship
Winner: Brendan Tegg with Foxcourt Solar Eclipse, 70.34%
A five-and-a-half-hour journey from Wales to Lincolnshire paid off for Petplan Equine Medium Silver Summer Area Festival Champion Brendan Tegg. With Sarah Jane Davies Foxcourt Solar Eclipse, the duo cleared the field by three percent with their winning score of 70.34%.
Speaking after his prize giving, with congratulations from Petplan Marketing Executive Sara Oram, Brendan spoke about his test: “I was pleased with him, he went well – there was just one mistake in the pirouettes as he was calling to his dad who’s back in the stables as he’s also competing tomorrow. He’s only six and he’s missed out on a lot over Covid-19 so it’s taken a while getting him confident in the arena again but he’s been good the last few outings and obviously had his brave pants on today!”
With two generations of Foxcourt superstars in situ at Arena UK ready to light up the Championships, Brendan spoke about his winning relationship with the British breeders. “This is the first baby from Sunset Boulevard at Foxcourt Stud, which is why they kept him. They’ve been supporting me with horses for nearly 20 years now, they’re really chuffed with this – he’s out of a mare that they bred by one of their other stallions too.”
“He did his Petplan Equine Area Festival in Beacons where he won,” the Welsh rider told of his route to success and future plans, “he went on to the Nationals at Novice level next before coming here. We’ll start his changes now and just carry on. They progress as quickly or slowly as they go, I don’t ever really have a set plan. He’s six and he’s big, we haven’t pushed him at all – he finds the lateral work really easy and he’s really supple but we’re not really getting proper collection yet because he’s not strong enough. We’ll see, I never have a plan I’ll quietly carry on and we go where we end up going!”
Brendan returns on day two at the Petplan Equine Summer Area Festival Championships with Foxcourt Stud’s 12 year old Sunset Boulevard. “He’s a stallion, he can be a bit tricky and is less consistent that his son,” the winning rider said of Solar Eclipse’s stellar sire, “he’s a super stallion and I love him to bits, probably too much! We’ll see how it goes tomorrow, he can do some beautiful work but if he’s got other things on his mind he can be tricky. We’ll see how it goes!”
Judy Hancock and Jo Weekes matched each others scores in the battle for the runners up spot, with Judy and Gornoeth Silver Lining edging ahead on collectives by just four marks.
Petplan Equine Prix St Georges Bronze Summer Area Festival Championship
Winner: Rhiannon Hinton with Quaikin Horatio, 68.33%
Doused in afternoon sunshine, the Petplan Equine Prix St Georges Bronze Summer Area Festival Championship saw a strong field come forward to vie for the title in front of Claire Ballantyne, Jane Critchley and Joyce Wood.
For their superb test earning 68.33%, the win would go to Rhiannon Hinton on board Quaikin Horatio. “The test went really well considering how upset he was yesterday for the arena walk! We chose not to do one this morning to try and keep him calm,” Rhiannon told British Dressage after taking the reins for her prize giving, “the test had tension in it but it was a clear round, I was really really pleased with it considering the circumstances yesterday. It’s only his fourth Prix St Georges ever, he’s eight years old and I’m absolutely over the moon with him. He’s so talented, he’s a pleasure to train even if he can be a hot head at times.”
Quaikin Horatio, Hotline x Dimaggio, has been with Rhiannon for his entire career and the strength of their partnership showed today. “I’ve had him since he was a yearling and backed him myself. He’s been very slow to mature physically, but he is very talented for actually doing the moves. He’s a pleasure to ride, he can be high maintenance to look after but a total joy he makes up for it when you get that feeling of togetherness in the saddle. He’s amazing and there’s so much more to come from him, he needs to get stronger but it’s just time and experience.”
Bred by the Quakin stud, Oswestry, British breeding is the winning way for our Prix St Georges champion who told us about her journey and her future hopes too – “I bought him straight from the stud and I’ve been back since and bought another youngster from there. He’s two now and I hope he’ll follow in his footsteps.”
Away from the saddle Rhiannon works at BT as a compliance consultant as well as being a mother to her two boys and married to husband Anthony who “isn’t particularly horsey but is incredibly supportive”. The winning team have a long trip home ahead of them with three hours on the road but will look forward to celebrating over the weekend before working on a return to the arena. “He’ll have some well-earned time out to relax and hopefully we can think about qualifying for the Winter Championships. He’s almost ready to do an Inter I but I don’t want to push him too much - I want to level off and let him get stronger. We may do the winters, we may not, but we’ll be back soon!”
Josie Kent and Serious Black scored 67.10% to take the runner up position, with Sian Nash and Woodcroft Dream Boy in third on 65.39%.
Petplan Equine Prix St Georges Silver and Freestyle Silver Summer Area Festival Championship
Winner: Jane Littlejohn with Urban Knight, 68.28% and 70.45%
Double day one winner Jane Littlejohn tasted success twice with her champion ride Urban Knight, taking both the Petplan Equine Prix St Georges Silver and the Freestyle Silver Area Festival Championship titles.
Speaking after her prize giving a thrilled Jane said, “It feels amazing! I always wanted to win a rug and now I’ve got two!” About her winning Prix St Georges test she continued, “I thought he was a bit lazy but obviously he wasn’t, he must’ve been much more forward than I realised. I came out looking a bit like a beetroot and thought I had to work a bit hard for it. He was really accurate, he was calm, he did everything I asked him to do – I couldn’t ask any more I just thought it needed a bit more oomph but it didn’t! He knows his job, he went down that centre line and thought ‘I know what I need to do’, it was amazing”
Up next would be their spin in the Prix St Georges Freestyle, on the first occasion that freestyle classes have been offered as part of the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships. “I’m a dancer, I’ve danced all my life so doing music to me is such a passion,” Jane told us, “we’ve done all the levels and I couldn’t wait to do a PSG. I wanted Disney music - My daughter is Disney mad, so I picked the tracks and Music in Motion mixed it so well. Because of being a dancer I like to show all the differences in the rhythm, pace and movements, half passes, medium trots and canters etc. I could tell you what I’m doing just by listening and not by being on the horse. I really enjoyed riding it, he loves doing the music – his little ears go up and he was really up for it. I thought he might be tired but he was amazing for the second test, I think he realised what we had to do.”
Jane’s journey with ‘Herbie’ hasn’t always been plain sailing, with his early days bringing a little excitement. “When I bought him as a three year old he was quite a challenge...I hit the deck quite a few times! I stayed on one day and he never did it to me again, he’s just such a character – he knows when he’s done right.” Speaking about her champion at home, with the airs above the ground behind him, she continued, “at home he’s just cheeky, he’s not naughty in any way – my little girl rides him, she walks, trots and canters around and my niece has done a walk trot test on him locally! He’s a really good boy, it’s been a long way to get here.”
Jane and Herbie return in the Petplan Equine Intermediate I Bronze Championships later this week and have a bright future to look forward to: “We’ve got the Inter I on Saturday – I’d like to do an Inter II to be able to do the Middle Tour Championships before we have a go at a few Grand Prix tests.”
With plenty of strong scores in this section and a close finish for the podium places, the top three was completed by Jenny Ainscough with Showstar (68.15%) and Antonia Brown with SJL Duuk (68.11%).
Petplan Equine Medium Bronze Freestyle Summer Area Festival Championship
Winner: Megan Field with Bright Time FST, 73.61%
It was a double win for young rider Megan Field on her fourteen-year-old gelding, Bright Time FST, with her great day at the Petplan Equine Summer Area Festival Championship continuing as she added the Medium Bronze Freestyle Area Festival Championship title to her name.
With Bright Time FST, known at home as Harley, Megan rode to 73.61%. Having only been together since January of this year, the pair have come a long way, especially with the support of trainers Natalie Allen, Stephanie Toogood and Dan Greenwood. “I didn’t expect to do anything like this let alone get a double win!” A thrilled Megan said after prize giving, “it’s my first time doing anything like this, so it’s really cool to have won.”
Speaking about her freestyle test she said, “He was getting quite tired towards the end, but he still felt really good. We do the medium trot across the long diagonal which we love doing. His extended canter is just so powerful and just goes, it is so much fun.” The pair love dancing their way through the arena and showing off what they can do. “He is so chilled when he’s at a show, he looks after me.”
Looking ahead to the future, Megan concluded “I would love to train with Louise Bell, I really look up to her. We want to try and get on the Junior teams too.” Alexzandra Houldcroft and Cavallina Herself alongside Morgan Kent with Kolstein's Don Amigo finished off the podium.
Petplan Equine Medium Silver Freestyle Summer Area Festival Championship
Winner: Lucie Stokoe with Dolores II, 71.27%
The Petplan Equine Medium Silver Freestyle Summer Area Festival Championship produced a shock win for Gloucestershire based Lucie Stokoe, scoring 71.27% with her mare Dolores II to take the title.
“We went in the Medium Silver which was a bit of a disaster,” Lucie said, “but we came out again for the music and she just performed which is quite unusual for her, so I am absolutely delighted with her.”
Lucie and Dolores have been competing together since 2016 but are regulars to the Petplan Equine Area Festival scene. “If we came anywhere near the top ten, I would be delighted so this was not expected at all, we have done the Petplan’s for a few years now but it’s just incredible.” The thirteen-year-old dark bay is a character but loved dancing to music today in the Arena UK sunshine.
Talking about the Summer Championships Lucie enthused, “everyone is just so friendly, and the venues are great. We have just had a great day, but we’ll be back tomorrow for the Advanced Medium.” We wish them good luck for tomorrow.
In the 26-strong class judged by Cherry Elvin, Jo Swain and Linda Waller, Erin Denney with Rafferty I and Sarah Ward with Saffron XII completed an accomplished podium.
Petplan Equine Prix St Georges Bronze Freestyle Summer Area Festival Championship
Winner: Fiona Stryjewski with Devon B, 66.91%
With freestyles on the card for the very first time at the inaugural Petplan Equine Summer Area Festival Championships, the first of the small tour level music classes would prove a close affair as Fiona Stryjewski posted the winning score of 66.91% on board her own Devon B.
"The test was interesting as we very nearly didn’t make it into the arena, it was a true freestyle!” Fiona told us about her winning test with a thrilling start, “he objected to a flower pot so the entry music was nearly finished and I just made it in to halt, I had to really think on my feet but fortunately I managed to get everything in...very nearly forgot my canter pirouettes and a shoulder in but we got it! He was quite sparkly because he was a bit spooky – I was very pleased with him – I know people say it all the time but he’s a horse of a lifetime. The scores came up and changed three times! It’s been a real rollercoaster; I didn’t dare believe it and no part of me thought I’d be coming here and coming home with a title.”
Fiona brings the story of the day for music choice, created for her by Pegasus music, “so this is random and down with the kids, I’ve been watching a TikTok video of a roller disco – it had Brother Louie by Modern Talking in the background, I loved it and thought I have to use this for my music! We also have a bit of Kim Wilde in there too, it fits brilliantly. It’s very different but it’s toe tapping.”
Speaking about her quirky but fabulous dancing partner Fiona said, “His old groom nicknames him the shopping trolley...because you’re never quite sure of what direction he’s going to go off in at any point! He’s a pest but a loveable one! He’s cheeky with a sense of humour, he’s a good boy on the whole with not a bad bone in his body.” The duo are currently training with Denise Shawns and Clive Halsall, “I’ve had lots of help through the years, Jo Barry helped me early on, I’ve had some amazing influences and people who had helped – a lot of people have been involved in our way up the ladder.”
For Fiona, dressage is a hobby and love which she balances her riding alongside her career, “I’m a Business Development Manager for Renewable Energy Consultancy,” she told us, based in Dumfries and Galloway, it’s a great job but most of all it funds what I love to do”.
Speaking about her Championship experiences she concluded, “It’s been a good five hours to get here but where we are to go to a normal BD competition I have to travel nearly 3 hours to get to a PSG test. It’s the geography of where we are, what’s another couple of hours down the A1. It’s been amazing being here and the Petplan experience in general. I’ve done Petplan from Medium with Devon, I love it. It’s well pitched for us one horse owners – Petplan allows us to go out at Bronze with the chance to have a championship experience, we’ve had a bit before but for a new level it’s great.”
Josie Kent and Serious Black take the second step of the podium with Sara Malpass and Pitingo II the third placed combination in our final class of the day.