Stars shine bright at Equissage Pulse Para Bronze and Silver Championships

  • Written By: Helen Triggs
  • Published: Tue, 06 Sep 2022 08:50 GMT

Vicky Nurcombe, Veronica Bower and Hattie Spurling all shone with 70%-plus scores at the Equissage Pulse Silver and Bronze Para Dressage Championships at Hartpury in Gloucestershire (23 -24 August 2022).

Vicky Nurcombe and Celano V

Vicky Nurcombe triumphed in the Grade III Silver Championship with Celano V (pictured above) who she’s been riding for a year. The 15-year-old gelding had not done affiliated dressage before Vicky took him on. “He’s 17hh so he’s big for me but he is everything I need. He finds the tests easy, but I don’t!” commented Vicky. “He’s so patient. If I don’t get it right he stops and waits for me. He’s a lovely cheeky horse.”

Celano is owned by Aimee-Louise Rowbotham and he was bought from Holland as a five-year-old. Julie Rowbotham is Vicky’s coach and has trained Celano to Inter II level.

Veronica Bower won the Grade I Silver title with her Fürstenball mare, Game Over. She was found in Holland by Veronica’s daughter and BD Para Director, Tracy Ormrod who looks after her and trains the pair. Tracy brought her on to Elementary level before Veronica took on the ride in 2018.

“She’s my horse of a lifetime,” said Veronica who has multiple sclerosis. The combination won the Grade I Silver title at the Para Winter Championships in March. “She’s a superstar. The outdoor arena at Hartpury can be quite spooky but she was on a mission.”

Veronica is planning to crack on and ride in the gold section and doesn’t believe that her age of 76 should stop her achieving her goals. “I want to prove to myself that age doesn’t matter as long as you can still ride.”

Jason Inchley (Grade II) won with Rubin Ryella, a 12-year-old mare by Royal Edition. Jason rode ‘Ella’ in a gold class as a warmup before acing the silver championship, later reporting on Facebook that he was pleased with how Ella managed the two tests.

Fiona Maynard and Bedazzle

Fiona Maynard and 16-year-old Breitling gelding Bedazzle (pictured above) are in their first year of affiliated competition together. The ex-eventer has adapted brilliantly to a dressage career and Fiona’s friend takes him low-level eventing as well. In fact, Fiona didn’t have a lot of preparation time for Hartpury as Bedazzle was competing in the Riding Club Eventing Championships two weeks previously.

“He was a bit spooky and cheeky in his test the day before, so I warmed him up for longer before the championship test and I was very pleased with him,” said Fiona who has a visual impairment and uses a caller in the test. She has trained with Stephen Moore for 12 years.

Joanne Dagley Cleworth And Uptimistic

The Grade V title went to Joanne Dagley-Cleworth and her Uthopia 10-year-old, Uptimistic (pictured above). “I bought Jack just before lockdown so he had a fairly boring first couple of years,” explained Joanne who trains with Mark Townsend and Jess Thompson. “It took me a while to get it together with him because there were no lessons.

“He was tense in the warm-up and so the first part of the test was a bit fragile but then he settled. I was pleased with his pirouettes as he got them both right. At 17.2hh he’s massive but he’s polite and easy to handle. I can do everything with him on my own.”

The pair were second at the Silver Championships last year and Joanne will concentrate on the gold section in the future. Their next outing is the Equissage Pulse Para Gold Championships at the Nationals.

Hattie Spurling and Urrachree Prince have been competing in affiliated dressage since January and their win in the Grade V Bronze Championship was only their fourth test. Their 72.06% score was the highest of the show but couldn’t quite match the 78% they scored at Hartpury to quality earlier in the year.

Lily Hughes and Lauries Diamond

The Grade II winner, Lily Hughes has been competing Lauries Diamond (pictured above) since May, after the horse had a three-year competition break, having been produced to Advanced Medium by Annie Lloyd. “Larry’s a bit different and bigger than what I’m used to. This was our first stay-away show together,” said Lily. “On the first day he was a little bit spooky as it was a new outdoor arena to him and we got an unasked for walk to canter transition! He behaved very well in Sunday’s test.”

Lily has help from Fay Bedford and Jo Lloyd and with their support hopes to get international classification in the future.

Elan Williams and WSH Something Borrowed

Elan Williams had a super win in the Grade I section, with a score of 68.02% with 13hh pony WSH Something Borrowed (Erfforch Dewin Diredus x Lechlade Quince) - pictured above. ‘Trinny’ is on loan from Elan’s trainer, Sara Jones-Williams and Elan has been competing her since early 2019. Thirteen-year-old Elan who has quadriplegic cerebral palsy has been riding since she was two. “As soon as she saw a pony she wanted to ride,” said Cerys, Elan’s mum.

“Their confidence together is increasing. They’ve improved their score by 4% since the Myerscough Winter Para Dressage Championships and she was also third in the Silver section at Harpury. We’re just hoping she doesn’t have another growth spurt and grow out of her!”

Jess Pritchard and Cochrane

Grade III winner Cochrane (pictured above) had an illustrious career before turning his hooves to para dressage. This illustrious show cob, owned by Lucinda Freedman, has graced the cover of Horse & Hound, been to the Horse of the Year Show several times and won at Windsor Horse Show. After he retired from the show ring, he hunted for a couple of years and led out racehorses.

He is now the steed of 15-year-old Jess Pritchard, who has cerebral palsy. Her mum Shelley is a show rider and breeds show horses, so Jess was probably always destined to be a rider. In fact, her mum’s latest project is to breed her a para dressage horse.

Jess has competed Cochrane four times now since grading in 2021 and has won every class. “We’re very grateful to Lucinda for giving Jess the ride, her coach Sarah Jones-Williams and Sarah Morland who helps us on show days.”

Isabella Benfield and Cookies And Cream II have competed twice before at the Equissage Para Dressage Championships but this was their first win. Together the pair has racked up 25 wins in their career together. The skewbald gelding is still only 11 so hopefully they can continue to progress together.

Congratulations to all competitors and support teams on your achievements.

Results – top three
Silver Novice Test A2017
Grade I
1. Veronica Bower and Game Over, 70.17%
2. Tegan Vincent-Cooke and Stolen Kiss, 68.33%
3. Elan Williams and WSH Something Borrowed, 66.33%

Grade II
1. Jason Inchley and Rubin Ryella, 66.38%

Grade III
1. Vicky Nurcombe and Celano V, 71.27%
2. Vicky Earnshaw and Aldo MW, 70.33%
3. Roseanne Knox and With Love JM, 64.73%

Grade IV
1. Fiona Maynard and Bedazzle, 69.68%
2. Georgina Maton and Despereaux, 65.63%
3. Isabella Benfield and Cookies and Cream II, 65.11%

Grade V
1. Joanne Dagley-Cleworth and Uptimistic, 68.96%
2. Sarah Oram and Tamrik Captain Jack Sparrow, 64.11%
3. Dan Bates and Zion, 63.96%

Grade I Test 3
1. Elan Williams and WSH Something Borrowed, 68.02%
2. Felicity Marriott and Serafina Hit, 62.92%

Grade II Test 10
1. Lily Hughes and Lauries Diamond, 64.41%

Grade III Test 21
1. Jessica Pritchard and Cochrane, 66.02%
2. Danielle Smith-Turner and Barravalley Breeze, 64.91

Grade IV Test 31
1. Isabella Benfield and Cookies and Cream II, 67.08%
2. Georgina Maton and Despereaux, 66.75%
3. Dawn Singleton-Mosey and W Daramorquin, 63.50%

Grade V
1. Hattie Spurling and Urrachree Prince, 72.06%
2. Julie Furber and Rastafari, 67.46%
3. Lisa Michell and Call Me Heaven, 67.14%


Photo © Kevin Sparrow