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Edwards and Lanning take Small Tour honours

last updated on December 16, 2017 09:18

Edwards and Lanning take Small Tour honours

The third running of the British Dressage Small Tour Championships took place last weekend. Held alongside Keysoe High Profile Show at The College Equestrian Centre in Bedfordshire, this year’s two-stage championship was compressed to one round only as a result of the heavy snow that gripped much of the UK.

The usual format of the competition is that the highest average score over each of the two rounds – Prix St Georges or Inter I on Saturday followed by the respective Freestyle Sunday – determines the winners. However, with snow forecast and the subsequent cancellation of Sunday’s competition, the championship titles were duly awarded to Saturday’s front runners.

The PSG was a close fought affair at the top but it was Lara Edwards who had the edge with a score of 68.50% with her young ride Jazzed Up (pictured), a Jazz son who was homebred by owners Tracey and Laura Milner. Nipping at her heels in second was Suzanne Lavandera aboard Janet Gee’s impressive Dimaggio-sired nine-year-old Keystone Daganay. The talented young stallion and his rider scored 68.24%.

Lara and ‘Felix’, who were runners-up in both the Albion Medium Gold and the PDS Saddles Elementary Freestyle Gold at this year’s NAF Five Star Winter Championships, remain unbeaten at PSG since their successful transition to the level in November. Lara, who’s expecting baby number two, due next spring, was delighted with the performance of the exciting eight-year-old; “His trot half passes were super, scoring 8.5s from all three judges which I was really pleased with. He had a little stumble behind in the three-time changes which was more of a strength thing and I rode the pirouettes quite large, more of a working pirouette as I didn’t want to stretch him,” she explained. “We’d competed earlier in the PSG outside so I didn’t want to over push him in the second test.”

Lara clearly thinks the world of this sporty black gelding; “He just gets better and better. I love him to bits! He’s still very sharp and at home will do a 360 in the arena when he’s fresh, but at a competition I can use that energy for me. He has more energy than everything else I’ve had and finds everything so easy.”

Felix entered Lara’s life in the October of his fifth year. “He was a little tricky to break in, then he came to me. It took about three or four months for him to learn to trust having a rider on him. He was genuinely scared, but within eight months he was competing and doing well and the following year won three regional titles.”

Looking forward Lara says; “I’ll keep riding into the new year as the pregnancy doesn’t affect my balance really. Because I ride all the horses myself, I want to keep them going for as long as I can. Then when I’m back after the baby, we’ll aim to do an international Small Tour – probably the middle to end of 2018. He’s a horse for the future definitely. We’re training piaffe and passage at home and it’s just 'there’.”

List 2A Judge and BD Accredited Coach Sara-Jane Lanning was the one to beat in the Inter I with her partner of eight years, Try Me Once. Theo, as he’s known, is a Montecristo-sired KWPN gelding who Sara-Jane co-owns with Andrew Griffin. They scored 68.94% ahead of Catrina Leckie and Adventure on a creditable 67.96% for second.

“I’m so happy with him,” smiled Sara-Jane. “I hadn’t had a good ride on my other horse in the PSG as he was so fresh in the cold, so I made some changes to my warm-up with Theo. He felt amazing, and great fun! We had a mistake in one of our pirouettes – he changed then got himself out of trouble – but the rest of the test was clean and I was very pleased with the changes.”

Theo, at the age of 17, has been in the Lanning stable since 2009. “He came to me as a troubled horse, from a jumping yard in Holland. He was scared of other horses so the warm-up has always been traumatic for him. This weekend though, we managed to pass left-to-left which was a bit of a breakthrough.”

Sara-Jane has recently started to train with British Olympic rider Spencer Wilton who she says has been a ‘huge help’ with her horses. “Theo’s an older horse but he’s feeling the best he’s ever felt,” she said before heading off to write for Australian judge Susan Hoevenaars in the FEI World Cup Qualifier at Olympia.

Small Tour Championships - top five places
Prix St Georges
1st Lara Edwards with Jazzed Up, 68.50%
2nd Suzanne Lavandera with Keystone Daganay, 68.24%
3rd Fenella Ross with Creatzo, 67.50%
4th Joseph Bright with JBD Wodan, 66.97%
5th Anne-Marie Bork Eppers with Zeilinger Firfod, 66.92%

Intermediate I
1st Sara-Jane Lanning with Try Me Once, 68.94%
2nd Catrina Leckie with Adventure, 67.96%
3rd Debbie Poynter with Keystone For Real, 67.10%
4th Charlotte Dicker with Sabatini, 65.78%
5th Jane Chatterton with Cranswicks Monopoly, 63.48%

For full results click here.

Photo c Tanja Davis.