Summer Regional Championships: Bury Farm
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A mix of first-timers and established combinations will be heading to the LeMieux National Championships after successful runs at Bury Farm (25 – 27 July 2023). Iberians made their mark in the Prelim classes, two riders went home with two sashes and a top international rider continued his successful return to the competition hotspot.
Kirsty Farren, winner of the The Centre Line Preliminary Gold with stunning four-year-old PRE stallion Zorzal DN (Solano DN x Valero XI), pictured above, has ridden warmbloods for most of her professional career but after a ride on a friend’s PRE became a convert and now has five (all greys – that’s a lot of washing!).
“He’s got an amazing temperament. I brought him the day before as he’d not been to Bury Farm before and he went straight in and didn’t look at anything,” commented Tracey who trains with Matt Frost. “He’s got the biggest heart and just wants to please.”
“When I got Zorzal he had just been backed. I’ve given him an easy time – he loves being out in the paddock and going hacking.”
The Centre Line Preliminary Silver winner, Lusitano Mediterraneo (Distinto x Fogoso) is a seven-year-old who originally came to Rozzy Prior on sales livery where she fell in love with him. After a false start with a new owner, she bought him and is really enjoying the journey with this buzzy gelding.
“He was brilliant in the test,” recalled Rozzy who trains with Jacqui Campbell. “I felt I could sit there and smile and enjoy every second. He’s a real showman and loves doing anything where people are watching.” Last year ‘Medi’ was fourth in the Novice Bronze at Vale View Area Festival and this was his first Regionals and first visit to the Nationals. The pair will be participating in the Inter County Championships and the Associated Championships later in the year.
Sarah Turner won both the BETTALife Novice Gold and HorseQuest Elementary Gold with her and Michele Wyat’s six-year-old Mowgli S (Spielberg x Carlton Hill VDL) who she bought just-backed three years ago. “He hasn’t done a great deal as he was very sharp as a young horse,” explained Sarah who has trained with Emile Faurie for 15 years. The pair were in the top 10 in the Novice Gold and Novice FSM Gold at this year’s Winter Championships. “I kept him at home to give us time to build a relationship. He’s starting to build a competition career and see a bit more of the world. He’s very exciting for the future – the best horse I’ve ever had.
“On day two I arrived with 15 minutes to spare because of closures on the M25 and I had to plait in the lorry. When I got on he felt like there was nothing in the tank but in the ring he tried his heart out.”
Melissa Richardson has had a rough couple of years and it has been her partner of eight years, Gravgaards Sir Dundee (Sir Donnerhall x Blue Hors Future Cup), pictured below, that has kept her going. He stepped up to the plate once more with two fabulous wins in the Bret Willson Dressage International Advanced Medium Silver and Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Silver. “I got him as an unruly six-year-old stallion who was fairly unrideable!” recalled Melissa who trains with Dan Greenwood and has recently had valuable help from Matt Cox. “Mick’s finally grown up, although he still has a wicked sense of humour.”
“We started small tour last year but I didn’t feel he was quite right in the right to left change. He was scoped and found he had a glandular ulcer and then contracted squamous ulcers travelling to the vet. Since he’s been treated, he’s turned around completely. I really enjoyed both my tests and got 8s for my four and three-time changes. I’d felt he was drawing his tongue back so rode him in his snaffle and got the comment that ‘a nice contact was well-maintained’ from one of the judges.”
Roland Tong had a five-year break from competition after selling his top Grand Prix horse but is back with a vengeance with Caroline Watson’s CHS Fonteyn, known as ‘Fancy’. The eight-year-old mare has won 10 out of 12 of her competitions with Roland and was Reserve Advanced Medium Freestyle Gold at the Winter Championships.
“We had her mother who had been scanned not in foal so Ben (St John James) was prepping her for the six-year-old classes when we found she was in foal,” explained Roland. “She was amazing despite the fact I’d been up sick all night. She came out firing on all cylinders and only got 7s, 7.5s, 8s and 9s. She hasn’t done many shows. I planned to do more after the Winters where she felt a little under-exposed but she qualified really quickly. I’ve been having help from [GP rider] Nicola Buchanan who is a good ‘eyes on the ground’.
“She’s very exciting and super-talented for piaffe and passage.” Roland’s score of 74.49% was the highest of the Regional Championship.
Roland’s pupil Patrick Troddyn made his Regionals debut with Jane Stearn’s Wi-Fi Hotspot (Wavavoom x Rotspot) who he’s been competing since June. His was the first score to go up in the TopSpec Medium Silver class, so he had to wait for the whole class to make sure the title was secure.
“They qualified at their first show together, at Addington” said owner Jane. “It wasn’t the plan to qualify so early! We did the warm-up class at Bury earlier in the week and it didn’t go well as he’s talented but a bit ring shy. Patrick hadn’t experienced him like that before so was able to correct it before the Regional class. He’s hoping to do some Advanced Medium classes by the end of the year but we’ll put the changes on hold until after the Nationals.”
Janette Frost has been competing Millenium seven-year-old Loves Black STH since June last year and the pair’s 70% performance was enough to fight off competition from Hannah Gadsden and Moet D’Cantos and take home the BETTALife Novice Silver regional title.
Bury Farm’s youngest winner was Youth rider Flora Hayes with Machno Excalibur (Rossgold Sunstar x Llansantffraed Saracen) who won the HorseQuest Elementary Silver regional title. Earlier this year the pair were Medium Bronze Champions at the Petplan Equine Area Festival Winter Championships and were in the top 10 in the Elementary Silver Winter Championship classes.
Flora has been riding the Sclater family’s 11-year-old former event pony, known as ‘Scally’, for two years, retraining him as a dressage contender. “This was the best test we’ve ever ridden,” commented Flora who was helped warm up by international GP rider, Nikki Barker. She also trains with Jacqui Campbell and Helen Babington-Smith. Flora and Scally produced a smooth and harmonious test to score over 71%. “He felt excellent. I could ride each movement because he was really listening to me. I qualified last year and it was an amazing experience. It’s great to be going again.”
Louise Gallavan left Bury Farm with two tickets – one for her win in the TopSpec Medium Gold and one for third place in the HorseQuest Elementary Gold. Faberge TF (Fürst Wilhelm x Don Romantic) was bred by Lois Allard and has been very successful coming up the levels with Louise.
“The Medium test felt amazing – everything clicked into place. He was so soft and uphill. He’s finding new gears in his paces. I’ve taken my time with him and it’s paid off. He’s the most reliable horse I’ve ever had – he’s Mr Awesome. I saw him as a foal and couldn’t not buy him. Every night he would practise his canter pirouettes – just having fun playing. He’s very special.”
British-bred Fred Astaire WD (Fiderbach OLD x Benvenuto) won the Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Gold with a fabulous 72.5% personal best score on only his fourth attempt at the level. Dan Sherriff co-owns him with his breeder Lindsey Roberts of Windmill Dressage Stud and the pair are in their second season together. “I saw him in his stable at Lindsey’s and he wasn’t for sale. I told her I’d give my back teeth for him,” said Dan. Fortunately that wasn’t necessary and Fred became available and the rest is history.
“He’s getting stronger every time he goes out. He felt great. I only got back from Alaska five days before the show and he’d had over two weeks off. He spent time on the water treadmill which kept him working over his back. He felt very confident in the ring. His canter still needs some work and I’m just starting to get control of the changes. He’s very promising for the higher levels.”
Tahley Reeve-Smith and Vitalis 10-year-old Woodcroft Valentino have a strong record of success at Regionals and Bury Farm was no exception, with a solid win in the Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I Gold. This was only his third Inter I as Tahley has been focusing on the PSG at Premier Leagues.
“I withdrew from the Inter Is at the Premier League as we hadn’t quite got to grips with it. Once we’d qualified for the PSG I was able to focus on it and get my head around how to set him up for the movements,” said Tahley, who has benefited from sessions with sports coach Karen Croft from Outward Success to boost her own confidence. “I was very pleased with him. I had no expectations as there were some really nice horses in the warm-up. You just have to stick to what you can do and hold your own confidence in yourself and your horse. He’s very consistent and has gone to the Nationals at every level since Novice.”
Matt Frost’s Summerhouse Delano (Dayano x Jazz) gave Georgina Day a super ride to clinch the Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I Silver. Georgie works in the family business producing and selling young horses so was looking for an established horse to give her experience at the higher levels. “Matt invited me to sit on him and it was like putting a glove on. We’ve been together about six months. He has so much power it’s taken a few tests to establish how to ride him. You have to set him up for everything,” said Georgie. “He’s the biggest character – a gentle giant but a self-harmer! He has to sleep in over-reach boots or he gets his shoes off. My dream is to compete abroad with him.”
Congratulations to the hard-working team of organisers, scores, stewards and judges at Bury Farm and thanks to the sponsors who make it all possible.
Top three places
The Centre Line Preliminary Silver
1. Rozzy Prior and Mediterraneo, 70.81%
2. Grace Smith and Mochaccino, 70.11%
3. Keighly Spraughton and Ballyengland Princely, 69.66%
The Centre Line Preliminary Gold
1. Kirsty Farren and Zorzal DN, 70.75%
2. Ben Franklin and V’Angelis, 70.46%
3. Thomis Bobis and Don Omino, 70.23%
BETTALife Novice Silver
1. Janette Frost and Loves Black STH, 70.00%
2. Hannah Gadsden and Moet D’Cantos, 69.14%
3. Ella Horner and Valencia II, 69.07%
BETTALife Novice Gold
1. Sarah Turner and Mowgli S, 72.15%
2. William Roberts and San Tropez, 71.11
3. Eleanor Darling and No-Limit, 71.050%
HorseQuest Elementary Silver
1. Flora Hayes and Machno Excalibur, 71.41%
2. Caroline Wright and Faside My Way, 69.91%
3. Rebecca Townsend and Feedmark’s Fandango, 68.33%
HorseQuest Elementary Gold
1. Sarah Turner and Mowgli S, 70.00%
2. Jayne Turner and Penhaligon Freiheist, 69.43%
3. Louis Gallavan and Faberge TF, 69.27%
TopSpec Medium Silver
1. Patrick Troddyn and Wi-Fi Hotspot, 70.09%
2. Charles Davis and Quenta B D, 68.69
3. Rebecca Townsend and Feedmark’s Fandango, 68.6%
TopSpec Medium Gold
1. Louise Gallavan and Faberge TF, 71.08%
2. Alice Oppenheimer and Headmore Flintstone, 69.23%
3. Amy McLean and Falcone, 69.05%
Bret Willson Dressage International Advanced Medium Silver
1. Melissa Richardson and Gravgaard’s Sir Dundee, 72.02%
2. Gracie Catling and Qwinton, 71.01%
3. Chris Hammond and Exclusive Gem, 69.74%
Bret Willson Dressage International Advanced Medium Gold
1. Roland Tong and CFS Fonteyn, 74.21%
2. Harriet Williams and Joe Cocker B, 73.51%
3. Darren Hicks and Kinnear, 69.21%
Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Silver
1. Melissa Richardson and Gravgaard’s Sir Dundee, 70.29%
2. Marsha Webb and Ivanhoe, 69.52%
3. Nathalie Tsuchiya and Don King II, 68.97%
Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Gold
1. Daniel Sherriff and Fred Astaire WD, 72.50%
2. Ros Collins and Filligran, 69.76%
3. Hermione Tottman and Exquisito, 69.66%
Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I Silver
1. Georgina Day and Summerhouse Delano, 68.04%
2. Louise Gallavan and Sandro’s Fire, 65.07%
3. Sara Malpass and Keystone Dicaprio, 63.73%
Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I Gold
1. Tahley Reeve-Smith and Woodcroft Valentio, 70.39%
2. Ros Collins and Filligran, 70.01%
3. Jayne Turney and Fortunas, 68.92%
Photo © SBM Photographic