Petplan Equine Summer Area Festival Championships: day two
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Day two at the Petplan Equine Summer Area Festival Championships saw eight packed classes at Elementary and Advanced Medium level taking centre stage at Arena UK.
Petplan Equine Advanced Medium Silver Summer Area Festival Championship
Winner: Susie White with Seventh Heaven ll, 68.84%
There was not a dry eye in the house at the prize giving to celebrate Susie White’s win in the Petplan Equine Advanced Medium Silver Summer Area Festival Championship with her homebred Seventh Heaven II. The combination aced their test to score 68.84%, ahead of Sara Malpass and Keystone Dicaprio in second with Katie Lawrence and Donaulied rounding off the top three.
“You’re going to make me cry,” a delighted Susie told us through tears in her prize giving, “all the years of hard work, he’s homebred – it's literally been from birth to here. I was only ten when he was born out of my little mare that my sister and I evented and we imported out of Ireland over 20 years ago now, so it’s been a long haul of work to get him here. I feel like we’ve grown up together, I don’t have many memories without him in.”
Telling us about her winning test, Susie said, “Well it’s funny, I came out and said to mum ‘I don’t know if the judges will like it’, it was very quiet and I thought the judges might want a bit more oophm. Sometimes they can want a more more, he’s not the biggest of moving horses, but I said it was the nicest feeling test – I was just so pleased with it. Sometimes I can get a bit nervous and grab hold of him and be too strong in the contact and leg and today I thought I’m going to come here and ride how I want to ride and how I would be proud of myself for riding. We were just so soft and in tune, it was lovely – I looked to turn my circle and he turned, I thought medium and he went medium – it felt so easy which is what I always strive to have that harmony with him”
The twelve year old by Catherston Dance in the Dark adored the attention in his prize giving and oozed class in both test and lap of honour. “He’s like a big Labrador as you can probably tell – he mugs my mum for treats constantly,” proud owner and rider Susie continued, “one of my best friends Lizzie who looks after him when I’m away and helps on the yard, we joke and say she’s known as Aunty Treat Lady as he mugs he in the field every time she tries and gets her horses in as he thinks she’s got treats for him. Everybody loves him because he’s so friendly and easy, he thinks about food and the least work and the most food possible is good for him!”
“I really want to crack on with Prix St Georges now,” she spoke about her bright future and goals with a Petplan title firmly under her belt, “this was kind of my last hurrah with Petplan Advanced Medium, so I’ll still aim for Advanced Medium at Regionals and I’ll look forward to doing the PSG with Petplan at the Winters. I’ve just had PSG music done by Gaynor Colburn so I’m looking forward to getting out and about with that and having a go.”
It’s back to work now as a building surveyor for our latest Petplan Equine Area Festival champion: “I work a usual 9 to 5 job, it works well with fitting the horses in around it. I have a really lovely hob in a local office just five minutes away from where I live, that takes up my time and I’m doing a part time degree in my spare time too. My boyfriend is always killing me saying ‘what time is it you’ve just come in from the horses’ when it’s like 10pm, but it’s worth it for moments like these.”
Petplan Equine Advanced Medium Bronze Summer Area Festival Championship
Winner: Zoe Golding with Enzo SR, 70.29%
Longstanding partnership Zoe Golding and Enzo SR are proof that knowing each other inside and out pays dividends as faith in each other earned them a Petplan Equine title, sash and rug today! Working rider Zoe from Surrey explained; “He was so good, I was actually feeling a bit ill in the warm up so he really helped me out today – he didn’t take over but he knew what he had to do and just did it. He was like ‘it’s alright mum, I’ve got you.”
The San Remo-sired 12 year old certainly had his rider’s best interests today and a polished test earned them 70.299% from the judging panel of Richard Baldwin, Jane Critchley and James Rooney. Zoe commented; “My changes and medium canter were good, I love riding the changes, they’re always fun.”
Zoe works at Heathrow where she’s a Plant Heath Inspector. She makes great use of the shift patterns of four days on, four days off, expertly fitting in training with Damian Hallam and Matthew Hayes. “I get to ride loads on my four days off and on my four days off I have to squeeze him in. He’s quite a hot horse, I nearly fell off in the warm up! We’ve been trying to keep him really calm and steady and calm in his head and then his body can do the work. He goes out at night and sleeps all day, we’ve got to get him out of bed to ride him, he’s just such a dude,” beamed Zoe.
And what’s next for the devoted duo who’ve been together for six years? “I’ve got some PSG music which I’d really like to try, I’ve got it I just need to practice! I’d like to do the PSG winters,” she said.
Second place went to Gareth Bulley who gave up a seat on a plane to the sunshine to be at Arena UK with his gamble paying off with Hannah Lebon’s Lorentina scoring 69.106%. Fiona Newall completed the podium with a score of 67.778% aboard Fendy VCG.
Petplan Equine Advanced Medium Bronze Freestyle Summer Area Festival Championship
Winner: Fiona Newall with Fendy VCG, 74.11%
The first of the freestyle today at the Petplan Equine Summer Area Festivals was in the Advanced Medium Bronze. Kicking off the morning in style, in the outdoor arena, Fiona Newall and Fendy VCG were successful in winning the title with an impressive score of 74.11%.
Fiona is a previous NAF Five Star Winter Novice Champion but it this is Fendy VCG’s first big win, “We’ve had a few goes at the Advanced Medium but we were new to the level and things didn’t go out way, but we kept chipping away at it and I was really determined this time to give it everything, so that’s what we did.”
Talking about her winning test, “I was really pleased with it, she was forward and really with me, I was really pleased she gave it everything.”
Eleven-year-old dark bay mare has been competing with Fiona for five years, after previously coming third in the Medium at the NAF Five Star Winter Championships, they want to continue with their success, “I’ve had her since she was a four-year-old and we’ve come on this journey together. I am really excited to be doing our first PSG at the end of this month, so I am very excited about that. To come off the back of this to go and do that and have some fun with it.”
Her trainer of ten years, Kate Cowell pushes Fiona out of her comfort zone, “I love training with Kate, she makes training really fun, she lets me get away with nothing, which is brilliant and important as that’s obviously where you improve.”
Finishing off the podium is Elice Willett and Gerento with another fabulous score of 73.11% and Zara Griffiss and Allegro III on 69%.
Petplan Equine Advanced Medium Silver Freestyle Summer Area Festival Championship
Winner: Sofia Jankiewicz with Boularouz, 68.5%
The end of the second day at the Petplan Equine Summer Area Festivals, under the beautiful sunshine, was the Advanced Medium Silver Freestyle. The watchful eye of the judges, Kate Hancox, Debbie Wardle, and Helen Copeland saw riders dance their way to gain the title.
The champions, Sofia Jankiewicz with Boularouz took the title with a magical test ridden to a programme created using Hans Zimmer’s Gladiator, gaining the score of 68.5%. “I was really pleased, he really likes the music and so do I, the song really suits him. He tends to come more alive to the music, so I’m really pleased.” Bred to be a show jumper and has previously evented, the fifteen-year-old grey gelding by Untouchable, who has been with Sofia for seven years didn’t have a great start to their partnership, “The week I got him I fractured my back, so it’s been quite a journey, He has been quite tricky to teach his changes too but it slowly paying off now.”
24 year old Sofia, who recently moved to Lincolnshire last year, has her own livery yard, where the teaches and rides, “I’m really lucky to have the facilities that I have got.”
It was a close finish on the podium Toni Gormley and Serendipitous going home with second place on 67.88%. Zoe Haigh and Ceejay completed the placings with 67.66%.
Petplan Equine Elementary Bronze Freestyle Summer Area Festival Championship
Winner: Rebecca Mcnab with Bunteeichen Nivaro, 73.52%
Pony power took the spoils in the Petplan Equine Elementary Bronze Freestyle Summer Area Festival as Scotland’s Rebecca Mcnab rode her German Riding Pony Bunteeichen Nivaro to success on a supreme 73.52%, making the five and a half hour journey from Glasgow well worth while.
“The test went really well, normally he’s really spooky and its only over the last month that he’s started to settle and not be spooky,” Rebecca told after her spotlight moment in prize giving, “we have finally done a true freestyle rather than making it up. We stuck to the floorplan which was good. I was surprised to get the mark I did but I had packed up ready to and my friend said look at your scores!”
Riding to well matched Disney tunes, the winners routine was a hit with the judges panel of Karen Barker, Lotte Olsen and Fiona Wilson: “Steph Croxford does my floorplan and I actually put together the music myself. It’s Disney theme but all the judge's seam to really like it, it really suits him.” “Bear-necessities and you’ve got a friend in me.”
Bunteeichen Nivaro known as ‘Nico’, by Bunteeichen Nicato and out of a Navajo mare, came to Rebecca just over a year ago, “I got him last year, just less than a year ago from Holland, it was a lockdown purchase, unseen, just seen a video. It’s worked out better than expected.”
Balancing horses alongside her job as a structural engineer, Rebecca trains with Charlie Hutton “I am a structural engineer as a full-time job and this is our hobby I guess.” Looking ahead to her future with Nico, she continued, “we are hoping to keep working on the changes and hopefully do some Advanced Medium next year.”
Boogie Knight danced into second place for rider Helen Taylor on 70.64%, with Julie Wattie and Golden Boy II hot on their heels in third scoring 70.12%.
Petplan Equine Elementary Bronze Summer Area Festival Championship
Winner: Hayley Ford with Crimson Gold, 69.80%
In the 31-strong Petplan Equine Elementary Bronze Summer Area Festival Championships, Hayley Ford and the nine year old Thoroughbred Crimson Gold struck gold with their 69.80% test topping the tables. The duo placed second in their Summer Area Festival at Bicton to gain their qualification ticket and despite their success to date the win was still a shock to new champion Hayley, “it was awesome, it’s such a surprise! I didn’t expect it all but I was so pleased with her test, people like us don’t win things like this.”
“She was really good, she didn’t actually miss a beat – she was really on song,” Hayley said about her winning ride inside the white boards, “She even hates rein back with a passion and she did that too. We were delighted with it, she didn’t do anything wrong.”
Crimson Gold is an ex-racehorse who’s turned her hooves to another discipline in style with a win at Arena UK. “She was given to us by some friends a couple of years ago, point-to-point trainers Lisa and Lesley Jefford, they bred her and she hated racing. They caught us when we went to see them and they asked us if we wanted a horse. We thought a freebie sounds good and we’d see how she went with a view to selling her, but now she’s staying.”
Hayley credited much of her success to trainer Anna Ross, “She has been imperative in getting her she gets us both totally. Anna has been a massive turning point in my confidence, not just with riding but as a person. She’s been nothing but supportive about the fact that she is an ex-racehorse, she’s a bit tricky – but she likes that she’s a bit tricky.”
“She isn’t easy, I can’t get on her without prying her with treats,” Hayley spoke proudly about her challenging but talented mare, “There’s a lot that we have to do to keep her happy. She can be laid back and she does love life. We don’t hack her, we long rein her instead! She’s just very much her own person, she likes to get her work done in the morning – she'll be sociable then – and you’ll go to see her in the evening and she’ll quite literally stick her hooves up at you...and her teeth!
You bring her to a competition and she loves people looking at her, and it being all about her, she’d rather it was all about her always. She tends to save her best for competition, we’re thrilled with her.”
Advanced Medium is on the horizon for the combination, “hopefully that’ll go well and we’ll keep working towards the Nationals, Winter or Petplan Championships next year. We’ll just have fun with her, Anna wants her to be the highest trained ex-racehorses in dressage, that’s Anna’s aim!
Both Hayley and her husband James, based in glorious Devon, feature on the start lists at the Petplan Equine Summer Area Festival Championships, “We don’t really have a life away from horses! We work with adults with learning disciplines and my husband James works with a racehorse trainer. We work to pay for the horses and enjoy the days we get like this."
Second place went to the eye-catching Godin Linda with Alicia Roberts in the saddle, with youth rider Abigail Gray and her British-bred Godrics Campeggio (Caesar 171 x Apslau) taking third spot.
Petplan Equine Elementary Silver Summer Area Festival Championship
Winner: Jade Whitelaw with Late Night, 73.72%
A long day and a late night were more than worth it for Scot Jade Whitelaw and her young star Late Night, who excelled in both of their Elementary starts taking home a reserve title in the Petplan Equine Elementary Freestyle Silver and going one better in the Petplan Equine Elementary Silver Summer Area Festival Championship to land the top spot. Their winning test was duly rewarded 73.72% by Claire Ballantyne, Martyne Galland and Linda Waller.
“I’m just so happy with him, he’s only five and I hadn’t planned to be here!” Jade spoke about her two top tests on board the Dutch bred Late Night, Gunner KS x Rousseau: “I took him to the AFs because it was running alongside the regionals, he was going to do Prelim and Novice regionals and Petplan Elementary to get him in the arena one more time. He was naughty in the Prelim and Novice but amazing in the Elementary so here we are! I had no expectation, he’s young and can be silly but he was really really good.”
At just five years old, the chestnut gelding impressed his rider, the judges and the crowd gathered for an evening prize giving round of applause. Continuing on the experience for her champion, Jade said, “I think he found the arena outside for the Elementary 53 quite scary but he managed to hold it together and did a really nice test. He’s got a really nice canter and I was just delighted with him for getting around. He’s a good boy.”
Having produced her star herself, Jade spoke about the journey from the early days to Petplan Equine Area Festival Champion: “I got him when he was three, we went to holland and tried 17 horses – he was the favourite so he came home. He threw me off a lot when he was three but he’s redeemed himself now.”
Training with fellow BD Scotland rider Jennifer Johnston Harman, Jade praised the expert help and support, “she’s been a huge part in the training and success with him. I couldn’t have done it without her, even like on the first day I was terrified of him, she's been really supportive and has helped me to ride him. He’s something I'm not used to, I've had an easy horse before him and she’s really really helpful – I've got a lot to thank her for.”
I want to keep going up the levels I don’t have any solid plans – he's a horse and they don’t let you have plans like that. I think he's a pretty nice horse, we’ll see how we get on moving up the levels, he’s done some age classes this year and maybe we could go for the Regionals at Elementary next time. I’m just really enjoying riding him, he’s fun and we’ll see how we get on.”
“It’s been really nice,” Jade concluded speaking about her experience here at Arena UK, “they’ve done a good job making it a championship and the prize giving was really nice – he's found it a bit scary but it’s been really good for him to grow up a little hopefully!” Aberdeen based Jade now has an 11 hour journey ahead, to which she smiled “it’s all worth it!” Plenty of time to admire her new Petplan Equine winners rug on the way home!
Second and third spots went to Bryony Jones with Northcliff Fairoak NE, 70.88%, and Alexa Palmer with Global Super Nova just a whisker behind on 70.68%.
Petplan Equine Elementary Silver Freestyle Summer Area Festival Championship
Winner: Emma Chinn with Bally Blackjack, 75.06%
It has been a busy day for the Elementary riders, and we continue the success crowning new Petplan Equine Elementary Silver Freestyle champion Emma Chinn with Bally Blackjack. Dancing their way in the atmospheric indoor arena to tunes from the Sound of Music, Emma and ‘Snip’ proved a few of the judges' favourite things as they claimed the title with 75.06%.
After flying through their test 18 year old Emma was proud with her's and Snip's super effort, “I was just really happy with him, he’s such a good boy. He is really good at the leg yields, he quite good at his simple changes but we’ve got better at those.” Their music choice was a treat for musical theatre lovers, “How do we solve a problem like Maria is our trot tempo and Edelweiss is my walk music.”
The Herefordshire based duo have worked hard in the run up to the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships and their diligence under the guidance of a super trainer paid off. “We train with Serena Pincus, and we’ve been working on his straightness to help with his Medium canters. It’s been a really good process, I went to Kings for my Regional Finals and for my qualifier.”
“He’s very chilled," Emma continued speaking about ex-Eventer Snip who came to the family 18 months ago, "he'd always done a good dressage test, so that's how I ended up with him! He’s quite easy to look after, go out in the mornings, come in and have some lunch.”
Speaking about life away from horses, Emma told us about her future plans having secured a spot at the Royal Agricultural University to read Read Estate, “I am currently doing a gap year, I am not really sure what I am going to be doing for my gap year, probably playing with ponies a bit and before hopefully going to university next year.”
An outstanding day for Jade Whitelaw was worth an early start and a late-night finish with her aptly named Late Night, they added a reserve champion ribbon to their Elementary Silver winners' spoils from earlier in the afternoon. Hilary Cowie and Shall We Dance waltzed to third, completing a top-quality top three with scores all well clear of the 73% mark.