Rose and Wray go top at Forces Equine Champs
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The fourth running of the Forces Equine Associated Championships took place on Saturday 5 October at Arena UK in Lincolnshire where a day of competition and camaraderie was enjoyed by all.
Designed for riders in HM Forces, Government Services, Public Services and their dependants, the Championships continue to grow in success year on year with the support of the dedicated team at Forces Equine.
Twenty year old Amy Wray, whose grandfather was in the RAF and uncle in the police, was triumphant in the Elementary 53 with a winning score of 69.26% aboard her 10 year old Belgian bred skewbald mare, Sara, with whom she also achieved third in the Medium.
I’m so happy with her. It’s taken a few years to get where she is and this is her first year at Elementary, but it’s one of her best Elementary scores to date.
Amy, who is studying pharmacology at Leeds University, trains with Hannah Moody and gives her mare a varied, enjoyable working life. “The hunting season has started so I thought she might lose her head on the day,” said Amy. “But she put her mind to the job and gave me a lovely ride.
“She can be unpredictable and excitable, it just depends on how she’s feeling - some days she’s very good, some days I just have to sack it off as a bad job,” she smiled.
“But she’s really improved. She’s not always the flashiest but when she’s on side, she’s super. In the Elementary test, I was pleased with the leg yields, which felt very nice. She used to get her legs in a knot but she understands what I’m asking now. They’ve really come on.”
Amy bought Sara three years ago having spotted her advert on Preloved. “She was local, in York. I was looking for a horse that had ability for dressage but also the temperament to hack, hunt and jump.”
Another top scorer was Inspector Tracey Rose with her gorgeous gelding Hero Harvey R (pictured below). Tracey, from Bedfordshire Police, posted a score of 68.54% to head the Novice final with the Danish bred seven year old ahead of runner up, Jim Revilles. Jim, formerly of the RAF but now Technical Support Manager at Ideal Saddles, scored 67.29% with nine year old Fuchur (by Fiderstep), a nine year old Westphalian gelding owned by Jennifer Reville.
The win was all the more emotional for Tracey, who has served for more than 28 years, as her story is truly one of triumph over adversity. “I bought him [Hero Harvey] as an unbacked three year old and, proving a little tricky when I backed him, I came off and fractured six vertebrae. Then in 2016, after he’d qualified for the British Eventing Young Horse Championships at Osberton, he damaged his stifle in the field and was given only a 50:50 chance of recovery. I was absolutely devastated.”
Nonetheless, Hero Harvey rehabbed successfully, going on to compete BE Novice with, at the time, plans to go 2*. “As he’s so sensitive though, I wasn’t sure whether to continue eventing or not, so decided to do some dressage, registered BD and later contacted Debi Heath French [CEO and founder of Forces Equine] who introduced me to the Forces Equine Championships."
Describing Hero Harvey, Tracey said. “He can be sensitive, he can have tension, but he’s really starting to mature. Although he can be obstinate, he’s a clever horse and he’s quick to learn. He learns by repetition and praise, you cannot pressure him. He likes everything ‘just right’ and of the all the horses I’ve had over the years, he’s the one who has taught me the most.
“I was chuffed to bits with him at the Championships,” continued Tracey, who trains with Charlotte Lassetter, Kim Darlow and Daryl Ware. “He was calm, relaxed and did everything that I asked of him. I was pleased with his attitude and pleased with the whole test."
It’s the highlight of his career so far and it means so much to me, especially after everything that’s happened.
The defending Forces Equine Medium Champion, Lesley Wheatley, wasn’t yet ready to relinquish her crown. Twelve months on from her inaugural Forces win, the neighbourhood policing inspector at Northumbria Police once again triumphed with her towering 18hh-plus Fürst Lazlo, knowns as William. Lesley and the eight year old chestnut son of Fürst Nymphenburg earned a score of 67.05%.
Congratulations to all the riders who took part, particularly the winners, and thanks go to the team at Arena UK and everyone involved for running a successful Championships.
1. Kim McGee and Corporate Colours I, 63.69%
1. Keeley Tongue and Taraakum, 65.20%
2. Charlie Curtis and Holme Grove Flame, 59.16%
3. Caroline Vine and Diamond Buffet, 57.70%
1. Tracey Rose and Hero Harvey R, 68.54%
2. Jim Revilles and Fuchur, 67.29%
3. Samantha Chiappini and Viper Priba, 66.43%
4. Andrea Ellis and Sirnunn Golden Guinness, 65.62%
5. Caroline Vine and Diamond Buffet, 64.16%
1. Amy Wray and Sara, 69.26%
2. Natalie Anderson and Double Black Diamond, 66.32%
3. Andrea Ellis and Sirnunn Golden Guinness, 63.52%
4. Kim Petley and Walden Fusilier, 60.88%
1. Lesley Wheatley and Fürst Lazlo, 67.05%
2. Becka Brennan and Rizwan BK, 66.47%
3. Amy Wray and Sara, 63.82%
4. Natalie Anderson and Double Black Diamond, 62.35%
Photo © Equipics