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Day four: NAF Five Star Winter Championships

last updated on April 09, 2016 23:35

Day four: NAF Five Star Winter Championships

Cambridgeshire dressage rider Tracy Fall has made her championship debut a winning one on day four of the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire in the KBIS Preliminary Championship.

Tracy and Mount Pleasant San Lorenzo (pictured right), a promising six-year-old son of Sarkozy, showed what they’re made of by winning the KBIS Preliminary Championship against a strong field of national finalists. Fourth to go, the pair scored an impressive 72.95%.

“I came here wanting to get in the top ten,” smiled Tracy. “If you’ve done all you can, you’ve got to be happy so to win is a dream! He’s only young but he’s dealt with the experience so well.”

‘Jack’ came into Tracy’s life when he was a three-year-old. Due to a serious fetlock injury, his life was in the balance at the time.

“The prognosis was very poor but I liked him very much so asked his owner to give me a chance to save him,” said Tracy. “I managed to raise funds for his treatment and thankfully he came through. I think today must be karma!”

Tracy is trained by Stacey Munson who she credits for helping her get this far. “Stacey has really kicked my butt to get here!” she laughed. “And I’m now keen to progress. Looking at the long term, my focus has now changed to training and scaling the levels.

He’s naturally built for the job, has a really good brain and now I know that he can cope with the big stage.”
Tracy is a UKCC Level 2 coach and runs a livery yard at home in Cambridgeshire, riding her own horses for pleasure. Jack was bred by Sandra Tinker from the Fosshey Hanoverian Stud in Cheshire who was at Hartpury to support the pair.

Spillers Medium Open Freestyle

26-year-old Sadie Smith and River Rise Escarla are becoming an unstoppable force as they add yet another title to their growing collection. In a competition where nine out of the 22-strong class broke the coveted 70% barrier, Sadie and the seven-year-old Lord Leatherdale mare – owned by Sarah Tyler-Evans – scored a whopping 74.39% with a polished and confident performance.

“I wanted to win to be honest,” announced a delighted Sadie. “She’s been going really well and she got a really high score at the Regionals. She’s just an amazing horse and has done so well at every championship she’s entered, she’s an unbelievable horse!”

Sadie and ‘Maisy’ qualified for Hartpury at Addington Manor with a humongous score of 78.83%, the highest score of the Regional championship. Riding to a dramatic score which complimented the powerful bay mare perfectly, the test marked just their third Medium Freestyle ever.

“Other than one simple change where my aid was a little strong, the test flowed so nicely. I don’t really compete her a lot because she’s so good and she doesn’t need it. I don’t like to do loads of schooling with her, so we do a lot of hacking.

“I’ve actually got her stabled at Carl Hester’s this week as it’s just down the road, so decided to take her for a little hack yesterday and I got lost! Carl told me to go ‘right, right then right’ and ended up on a main road being overtaken by HGV lorries at 50mph. She’s never hacked in traffic before but she was so good – in the end, I had to pull over and have someone pick me up!”

Sadie, from now on it’s safe to say you should only follow Carl’s directions in the arena, not on the road!

There’s much to look forward to for the talented Hampshire-based rider, Maisy is ready to move up to Advanced Medium with the hopes of doing some ‘baby’ PSGs by the winter. Sadie also brought more fabulous news for the River Rise Escarla team, they’re hoping to have a foal by embryo transfer in the not too distant few future and is expecting a full sibling of Maisy in the summer – so watch this space.

Petplan Equine Medium Open Area Festival Championship

In a hotly contested class with less than two percent separating the top five, it was Shropshire-based Theresa Smyth who topped the leader board in the Petplan Equine Medium Open Area Festival Championship. Piloting Louise Danton’s nine-year-old Fontainbleau-sired gelding Brownscombe Francisco, Theresa scored 69.80% to not only earn the title but also a personal best.

“I’m over the moon! We compete him quite likely, so I didn’t have any expectations – although of course I wanted to win,” admitted a delighted Theresa “I went out last week to give him a run and he won both classes, so I was quietly confident. He definitely feeds off me, so I had to calm myself down a little bit so not to stress him out too much.

He was a little bit conscious of the trade stands but settled down really nicely and about halfway through the test he took a breath and was really good,” continued Theresa. “The mediums and half passes were definite highlights for me, his walk pirouettes weren’t great but other than that he felt so secure and I feel like I have so much more time now between movements.”

Theresa and ‘Sisco’, who train with Maria Eilberg, have been a partnership for almost four years after Louise bought him as a five-year-old and didn’t quite gel as a combination.

“I’ve spent the winter training him and making him more secure in his work,” stated Theresa. “We’ve already qualified for the
Summer Regionals at Medium, next we’ll move him up to Advanced Medium, then PSG.

“We’ve got a secure bond now, he understands what I want and vice versa – he even follows me around the arena, which Louise finds hilarious. We’re in a good place at the moment. I’m trying not to get too excited but I have high hopes for him!”

Charles Owen Advanced Medium Open

Hampshire-based Sonnar Murray-Brown (27) made an emphatic return to championship level dressage today when he took the competitive Charles Owen Advanced Medium title riding his own Erlentanz with a stunning mark of 73.95%.

Sonnar was tipped for the top as a young rider but a car accident in 2009 left him with career threatening crush injuries to his legs. A broken femur on the left side and virtual break of every major bone on the right left doctors questioning his ability to walk again. But Sonnar took the necessary time for careful rehabilitation and returned to competing last February.

It was his the horse today which inspired him back into the competitive saddle. The dark, elegant gelding by Trakehner Latimer was owned by a friend of Sonnar’s in Germany. “I was looking for something about six and went over to ride him a few times at the national Trakehner championships and just loved him, so bought him,” explained Sonnar.

“He’s gone straight out at Advanced Medium and some young horse Prix st Georges classes. He’s very low mileage as he hasn’t done a lot of competing so he can still sometimes get a bit nervous going into the arena. Today he was really confident in there and really took me which was a real positive,” he continued.

Sonnar last rode at the winter championships in 2008 where he took the Elementary Restricted title but a year later, that accident put his aspirations on hold. He’s back with a bang now.

“I’m lucky enough to do it professionally again and now based at the Loriston-Clarke’s Catherston Stud with five horses of my own. I’ve been out of it a while but it’s good to be back, and even better to win again. I really feel like I can kick on and go for it now,” said a very happy Sonnar.

The class is the perfect star potential show case with some top names with their young prospects but Sonnar and Erlentanz showed them all how it’s done. “I’m chuffed to bits; really happy with the horse and my test. He performed really well and that was the main thing in such a tough class. It was the best the horse could go at this stage of his training and was mistake free. I couldn’t have done much more than that; our last centre line of medium trot felt like he was flying!” exclaimed Sonnar.

Petplan Equine Area Festival Novice Restricted

At her first ever British Dressage Championships, 17-year-old Olivia Sealy impressed with a win on Miranda Beaufort’s A Leonidas, as the only combination to break the 70% barrier, on a top score of 70.32% in the Petplan Equine Novice Restricted Area Festival Championship. Second place went to Shannon Amesbury on Sarah Drinkwater’s Lionheart III, following closely with 69.95%.

Run as a two round competition, Olivia rode tactfully in both of her tests but wasn’t expecting such a result, “It was a massive surprise! I’m very, very excited, really thrilled.”

“My first test was pretty safe and to just get him in the arena. For my second test I worked hard to ride every single movement, it paid off, I came out smiling so I knew it was good!”

Olivia, from Chippenham in Wiltshire, currently loans the ten-year-old, Dutch gelding that was found by her trainer Jo Lees, the British Dressage BYRDS representative in the South West region. “I’ve had him for around a year and a half. He’s quite tricky but we’re starting to gel now. He’s very spooky, at home he’s quite settled but he stresses going to competitions and finds everything scary. We hate the warm up because he doesn’t like other horses!”

The combination are relative newcomers to affiliated dressage having only started last March whereas Olivia had previously evented and done tetrathlon. The main focus is now dressage, particularly after today’s exciting win, “I’d love to qualify him for Elementary at the summer Regionals,” said Olivia, who is a keen BYRDS rider in the South West, “I’d like to go to the BYRDS Home International this year and try a bit of Medium if we can.

Photos -

For full results - click here