Summer Regional Championships: Mount Ballan
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As always the Summer Regionals at Mount Ballan didn’t disappoint, with three days of riveting competition. Although there were withdrawals from some top names like Charlotte Dujardin, Henriette Andersen and Paul Friday, there were plenty of exciting combinations making their mark.
The highest scorer of the competition was Laura Wollen who travelled from Herefordshire with Anne Seifert-Cohn’s lovely six-year-old, Ivan Carlos (Ampere x Jazz). The pair notched up 75.26% to win the Childeric Elementary Gold. ‘Blackie’ is also known as ‘Mr Consistent” and will be off to his first summer National Championships.
“He’s a clever horse who we’ve not had to push much and is such a delight to ride,” enthused Laura. “We didn’t have a great start to the test as he stumbled into the halt but then he trotted away and did his job. His simple changes were brilliant and he got four nines for them.”
Blackie was also fourth in the Top Spec Medium Gold so fingers crossed for a wild card.
The Childeric Elementary Silver title went to Louise Berry and Woodcroft Daisy Duke, ahead of Cath Creemer and Floris. They scored 70.89%, very close to their personal best. Louise has owned the Don Frederico eight-year-old since he was three and Louise believes, “She’s the most accident prone creature on the planet!” Accidents in the field, getting her leg through a stable partition and jumping over the stable door are just some of her antics. Fortunately, she seems to have put these ways behind her and has been consistently in work since February 2018.
Louise, who is an instructor at Summerhouse EC, trains with Tessa Thorne, with whose help the pair are learning changes in anticipation of moving on to advanced medium. “The elementary test felt fantastic, she felt like she loved it,” said Louise who admitted to having a little cry when she won. “It’s our first ever sash!”
“At the winter regionals I forgot my test so my whole goal was to remember it this time!” said Louise.
Melissa O’Brien Shawcross followed up an elementary win at Moreton Morrell Petplan Equine Area Festival in July by taking the Dodson & Horrell Novice Silver title on Rubatino ML. In the gold section, international young rider Lucy Pincus was victorious with Johnson homebred, Sheepcote Just Daisy.
Although she’s seven, Daisy is only lightly competed and this was her first regional and first stay-away show. “I wasn’t quite sure how she would cope but she behaved really well,” said Lucy. “She’s quite a brave mare, with lovely energy.” Lucy and Daisy scored 73.02% - not surprising when you look at her record; she’s won 11 out of her 12 starts.
Male riders took all the sashes in the Top Spec Medium and Advanced Equine Construction Medium classes. Welsh rider Brendan Tegg had to contend with Sarah Davies’ breeding stallion Sunset Boulevard’s testosterone levels. ‘Springers’ took his mind off the ladies long enough to squeak into the Top Spec Medium Silver title position in front of Maisie Hodge and Garant H.
“It’s not the easiest time of year for us,” said Brendan. “He took a little bit of riding but he’s a kind horse who says ‘yes’. He’s getting more established and his rhythm stayed good. It was a clean test. Hopefully I’ll be able to ask for more pizazz at the Nationals in September when the testosterone levels are lower!”
Rob Barker was the only double winner at the show. He won the Top Spec Medium Gold on Christine Kirk’s Hamlet and Equine Construction Advanced Medium Silver on Alison Haste’s Woodlander Romance.
Rob won the Dodson & Horrell Novice Silver national summer title on Hamlet (Uthopia x Jazz) in 2017 and he was sixth in the Elementary Silver at the 2018 winter championships. Sonnar Murray-Brown, Rob’s partner, took over the ride, notching up a fifth in elementary gold at last year’s summer championships. When Sonny broke his leg in February this year, the ride reverted to Rob, who’s very enthusiastic about the seven-year-old.
“He’s a really good horse – very powerful and talented,” said Rob. “He can get hot in the bigger atmospheres (at shows) but he was very rideable in the test. I was able to braver in the mediums and still able to collect for the simple changes. He was able to travel up and down the gears.”
Woodlander Romance has been Rob’s ride since the seven-year-old Rousseau mare was four. He reported on social media that they had some miscommunication issues in the Medium which led to an eventual seventh place but these were ironed out by the time of the Advanced Medium championship. “She’s still very green at the level,” commented Rob. “But she gave it her all. She tries very hard in training and at shows and is always thinking ‘what’s next?’. She just needs to get stronger and more confident.”
They won the class ahead of another Woodlander horse, Woodlander Rhythm ‘n’ Blues, ridden by Maddy Frewin.
Two out of the three judges gave Calum Whitworth and Fernando (pictured) 74% and that was enough to win them the Equine Construction Advanced Medium Gold victory ahead of Abi Lyle and Suspension Giraldo. The United x Special D nine-year-old, owned by Sue and Rob Fearis, has been winning Premier Leagues at PSG so was stepping down a level at Mount Ballan.
“You never quite know what you’re going to get with him,” said Calum, “but he seemed to like it in Wales and we had a calm day. He did a really nice consistent test and felt confident in all the work.” Fernando is also heading to the Nationals to contest the Fairfax PSG class.
A mark of 71.45% from one judge was enough to win Debbie Childs the Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I title and give her 13-year-old Stedinger gelding his first regional win. “I was thrilled as I didn’t expect it,” said Debbie whose goal is Grand Prix. “He’s been improving all year and it’s the icing on the cake to be going to the Nationals. I’ve been working all year trying to get his tests clean and correct – and this test was. Now I need to work on getting more power and expression. I’ve been training with Roland Tong for a couple of years and he’s really turned us round.”
Hannah Dovey’s Eagle Nouvelle has also been improving all year with Katie Bailey. Their Fairfax PSG Gold win follows a win at Magic PSG freestyle at the Winter Championships and placing fourth in the straight PSG. Eighteen combinations went down the centre line and judges Richard Baldwin, Christian Landolt and Carol Thornton were unanimous in picking Katie and ‘Eddie’ for their champions with a super score of 73.29%.
“His trot work was some of the best I’ve had in a test,” Katie said afterwards. “He was a little bit tight in the changes but in the main the test was free-flowing with no major mistakes. He’s been getting more confident in the arena since we started working on the Grand Prix movements at home. He’s a very sweet horse and tries his hardest.”
BackinAction Prelim Silver champion Katie Byam-Cook rode her Dimaggio mare, Diminutive, into the lead with 71.95%, just ahead of Katie Robotham and My Lady Myfanwy. The seven-year-old is British-bred by UK Hanoverians.
British Dressage thanks the team at Mount Ballan as well as the National class sponsors for their generous support. Congratulations to all competitors and good luck to those heading to the LeMieux National Championships at Stoneleigh Park.
Backinaction Preliminary Silver
Katie Byam-Cook with DiMinutive 71.95%
Dodson & Horrell Novice Silver
Melissa O’Brien Shawcross with Rubatino ML 71.89
Dodson & Horrell Novice Gold
Lucy Pincus with Sheepcote Just Daisy 73.02%
Childéric Saddles Elementary Silver
Louise Berry with Woodcroft Daisy Duke 70.89
Childéric Saddles Elementary Gold
Laura Wollen with Ivan Carlos 75.26%
TopSpec Medium Silver
Brendan Tegg with Sunset Boulevard 69.91
TopSpec Medium Gold
Rob Barker with Hamlet 71.62%
Equine Construction Advanced Medium Silver
Rob Barker with Woodlander Romance 71.75
Equine Construction Advanced Medium Gold
Calum Whitworth with Fernando 73.73
Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Gold
Katie Bailey with Eagle-Nouvelle 73.29
Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I Gold
Debbie Childs with Berrifield Stuntman 68.29.