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Winter Regionals: Merrist Wood

last updated on March 07, 2016 15:06

Winter Regionals: Merrist Wood

Team Lanning and connections proved unbeatable at Merrist Wood in Surrey, where rider, trainer and List 2a judge Sara-Jane Lanning claiming a trio of titles with two horses – Shadow Horse Elementary Open, Spillers Medium Open Freestyle, and Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle – and four of Sara-Jane’s pupils also winning their classes.

“It was amazing show – I’m still in shock,” said Sara-Jane, who is based at Meadow Farm Stud, Medstead, Hants. “Qualifying my two for Hartpury was fantastic, but for me the icing on the cake was seeing my pupils do so well, when I wasn’t riding, I was glued to the live scoring on my phone – seeing how well they all did was incredibly rewarding.”

Sara-Jane clocked up high scores with her 14-year-old 17.hh Danish-bred gelding Mi Amigo (pictured), by Zardin Firfod, who she owns with her “mega supportive” partner Andrew Griffin.

This combination won both the Spillers Medium Open Freestyle (73.667%)  and Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle (75.389%) with new highly technical floor plans accompanied by music inspired by British film and TV shows, which Sara-Jane put together herself just a week before.

“In the advanced medium freestyle I knew we had to do something clever with a high degree of difficulty to try and stand out, so we did extended canter on the diagonal with a flying change just in front of the judge, which luckily came off – I finished the rest of the test with a huge beam on my face,” said Sara-Jane who bought Mi Amigo (Zoa) at the end of 2013 and already won eight regional titles together. “Zoa is a flamboyant, big moving horse, but can also be difficult to keep in balance – we’ve only done a handful of advanced mediums so he’s still quite green at this level but I was thrilled with him.”

Sara-Jane’s 12- year-old British-bred gelding Furstano (by Fürst Piccolo), who she has owned with Andrew since May last year, won the Shadow Horse Elementary Open by a clear margin on 74.844%.

Furstano (Zebedee) produced some of his best marks in this test, including 9s for walk and halt and 8s for simple changes, medium canter and medium trot. Sara- Jane was especially pleased with the comment from judge Marian Bush who wrote: “A rare combination of intensity and relaxation”.

“We bought Zebedee for me to have some fun on and I liked his attitude when I first sat on him,” said Sara-Jane. “Because he’s quite small and compact, he’s easy to ride in an arena, although he feels like a big horse. He can be quite lazy at home, but he loves the show atmosphere and comes alive at championships. The arenas at Merrist Wood were beautifully decorated with flowers and banners which made it all feed extra special. In 28 years of doing dressage, this is the most fun I’ve had!”

Sara-Jane was justly proud of her four pupils who made their mark through the levels from novice to medium levels.

Twenty-three- year-old Hannah Bown from Steventon, Hants, claimed the highest score of the show riding her own seven-year-old British-bred gelding Sandro’s Storm (by Sandro’s Dancer) to victory in the Baileys Horse Feeds Novice Restricted Freestyle with 76.204%.

Fifty-four-year-old Sue Brougham from Guildford, Surrey, headed section A of the Shadow Horse Elementary Restricted with her 14-year-old British bred bay gelding Kittle Eclipse (by Libro ) scoring 68.49%.

Thirty-seven-year-old Stephanie Biscombe from Medstead, Hants, and her nine-year-old German- bred mare Donner Fantasia (by Don Laurie II), were the clear winners of the Spillers Medium Restricted Freestyle on 72.333% as well as runners-up in the Albion Medium Restricted, which was won by 42-year-old Jamie Broom from Windsor, Berks, and Georgina Broom’s 10-year-old British-bred gelding Fürst Impression (by Fürst Heinrich).

International  grand prix rider/trainer Hannah Biggs claimed three tickets to the nationals, including a one-two in the hotly contested Charles Owen Advanced Medium Open, winning the championship with her nine-year-old British-bred gelding Don Caledonia (by Don Schufro) with 74.07%, and runner up with her nine-year-old Dutch-bred mare Camarilla Calilmero (Cara).

Hannah, who retired her grand prix stallion and much loved “horse in a million” Weltzin at the age of 16 last Christmas, was also runner up to Sara-Jane with Don Caledonia (Archie) in the Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle

Following the event, she shared the news on her Facebook page: “My horses are officially now mega-superstars! Cara produced some beautiful work but got a little exuberant in the canter for 70%. Archie held it together after his antics in the freestyle the previous night to score a massive 74% and gained this very lovely comment from the even lovelier judge Mark Ruddock! 'I love him and I want him!' A freezing evening and we didn't get home till 2am, but all worth it for two more tickets to the Winter Championships! Good ponies!”

The KBIS prelim title went to regional first timers Georgia Whelan and Jo Day’s striking 14.1hh “gypsy cob” Tyke That (Ted), who also won the prelim title at the TGCA championships (Traditional Gypsy Cob Association) last year.

Georgia, who runs her own medical billing business, has been riding since early childhood and previously enjoyed success eventing until an accident while competing in a pre novice section at Aston Le Walls horse trials in 2010 put cross-country plans on hold.  Georgia’s crashing fall, which resulted in multiple fractures and a bleed to her brain, meant a return to the saddle hung in the balance for several months.

“I spent a month in hospital and up to six months recovering so it was a bit touch and go if I would ever ride properly again,” said Georgia, who admits she is a now huge fan of the gypsy cob breed. “Luckily, once I was well enough to try getting back in the saddle again, Jo offered me the ride on her super-reliable coloured cob called Fred, and I moved on to riding Ted four years ago. He’s the kindest, most sensitive soul and is so chilled, you can take him anywhere without any hassle. I’d never ridden this breed before; previously it was mainly Irish Sports horses and warmbloods, but now my heart is with cobs. I can’t thank Jo enough for her kindness and generosity in helping me back into the saddle – these days we ride out together and enjoy going to different places, including Windsor Great Park and the local gallops. Ted is incredibly special, he’s bright, has a lovely nature, huge ability, is extremely trainable and most of all great fun!”

 

Merrist Wood regional winners

KBIS PRELIMINARY
Georgia Whelan with Jo Day’s Tyke That 72.436%

BLUE CHIP NOVICE RESTRICTED
Christiane Oakley with her own Probono ll 72.011%

BLUE CHIP NOVICE OPEN
Ben St John James with his own Pro Johnson 74.08%

BAILEYS HORSE FEEDS NOVICE RESTRICTED MUSIC FREESTYLE
Hannah Bown with her own Sandro's Storm 76.204%

BAILEYS HORSE FEEDS NOVICE OPEN MUSIC FREESTYLE
Martin Schleicher with Philippa Geddes‘s Tom Cruz 74.259%

SHADOW HORSE ELEMENTARY RESTRICTED
Sec A: Sue Brougham with her own Kittle Eclipse 68.49%
Sec B:  Jessie Kirby with her own Grayswood Orlando 73.438%

 SHADOW HORSE ELEMENTARY OPEN
Sara-Jane Lanning with her own and Andrew Griffin’s Furstano 74.844%

PDS SADDLES ELEMENTARY RESTRICTED MUSIC FREESTYLE
Beverley Voller with her own Rocky Lane 72.179%

PDS SADDLES ELEMENTARY OPEN MUSIC FREESTYLE
James Burtwell with his own Burlington B 73.333%

ALBION MEDIUM RESTRICTED
Jamie Broom with Georgina Broom’s Furst Impression 68.423%

ALBION MEDIUM OPEN
Daniel Watson with Barbara Marceau’s Butterfly IV 70.586%

SPILLERS MEDIUM RESTRICTED MUSIC FREESTYLE
Stephanie Biscombe with her own Donner Fantasia 72.333%

SPILLERS MEDIUM OPEN MUSIC FREESTYLE
Sara-Jane Lanning with her own and Andrew Griffin’s Mi Amigo 73.667%

CHARLES OWEN ADVANCED MEDIUM RESTRICTED
Molly Key with her own and Charles MacDonald’s Charter Party 70.877%

CHARLES OWEN ADVANCED MEDIUM OPEN
Hannah Biggs with her own Don Caledonia 74.079% 

NUPAFEED ADVANCED MEDIUM MUSIC FREESTYLE
Sara-Jane Lanning with her own and Andrew Griffin’s Mi Amigo 75.389%

MAGIC PRIX ST. GEORGES MUSIC FREESTYLE
Claire Moir with her own and Anne Haydon’s Davonport Bewes 74.917%

For full results, click here.



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