Summer Regional Championships: Port Royal
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Despite an unexploded World War II bomb closing the M62 resulting in traffic chaos, the excellent Port Royal organising team made sure the championships (23 – 25 July 2021) ran smoothly, with some high scoring combinations securing their golden tickets to the LeMieux National Championships.
Emma Jablonski and Becky Moody both took home three titles with their two rides.
Emma won the Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I and Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges (PSG) Silver classes with Higgens Van De Uilenhoek (pictured above), her recent Area Festival Championships winner at PSG silver.
Emma has owned ‘Hugo’ since he was three and the nine-year-old Connoisseur gelding is relatively new to small tour level. “He did his first PSG in October last year,” recalled Emma who bought Hugo from Holland. “He’s still building his strength but he gave me his energy today. He got all his changes and the pirouettes came off. He found the Inter I a bit harder so I will work on building his confidence at the level.”
Her third title was at the opposite end of the difficulty spectrum. With Multivision (Dreamboy x Negro) she won the Mobiliser Prelim Gold on 73.79%. She bought the British-bred four-year-old as a six-month-old foal. “It’s his first regionals so super to come home with a sash!” said Emma, who is based in Nottinghamshire and trains with Rhett Bird. “He’s a cheeky chap and gets himself into mischief at home but he’s an absolute gem to ride. He’s very level-headed. You ask him a question and he gives you the answer. I’d like to clone 12 of him!”
While his dad, Dante Weltino, was strutting his stuff at the Tokyo Olympics, Becky Moody’s homebred Jagerbomb nailed the Andrews Bowen Advanced Medium Gold with a super score of 75.04%, four per cent ahead of the next competitor. ‘Bomba’ hasn’t placed lower than third in any of his competitions since April 2019 and he’s had good wins at Premier League shows and regionals this year.
“It was a neat and tidy test,” said Becky modestly. “The horse’s forte is his rideability so I can present an organised test. He’s getting stronger all the time. He’s a really big horse so can’t quite sustain the extensions all the way across yet.”
Becky’s double winner, in the Equitop Elementary Gold and TopSpec Medium Gold, was seven-year-old Jack Diamond who is owned by Becky with Jo Cooper and Pat and David Webster. ‘Legs’ has only 13 results on his BD record, demonstrating Becky’s policy of producing the seven-year-old slowly to give him time to develop his strength and balance. His score of 78.02% in the Elementary Gold was the one of the highest of the show.
“He’s an incredibly talented horse but can’t always maintain his balance in the test,” said Becky who bought the Electron x Diamond Hit gelding from Holland as a three-year-old. “He’s still super-green. He has oodles of natural ability and incredible movement but struggles to let go in his body.”
Legs qualified for the Shearwater seven-year-old young horse final at Hartpury Premier League and will join Bomba, who qualified at Port Royal, in the class.
Team Moody had another good win when their rider Anna Burns won the Mobiliser Preliminary Silver on Magic Dream with the very high score of 76.78%. Port Royal was only ‘Shroom’s’ sixth show and the chestnut mare (by Governeur) has already qualified for the young horse final at the National Championships.
Shroom is owned by Becky and Jo Cooper and was imported as a just-sat-on three-year-old. Anna has helped Becky to produce her and schools and hacks her. Originally a show jumper, Anna has been working for the Moodys for a year and this is her first BD competition season.
“She’s an amazing horse and it’s a privilege to have the rider,” enthused Anna. “She has a great attitude to her work. The trot always feels amazing and her canter and transitions are getting stronger. She had a babyish spook at the start but I was able to get her back together.”
The highest score of the show was achieved by Stena Hoerner who won the BETTALIFE Novice Gold with Scottish-bred Faside Got The Love on 80.74%. Chasing hard was Paralympian gold medallist Sophie Wells with LJT Egebjerggards Somoa on 80.68%. The judges obviously loved (and rewarded) what they saw.
Stena is training ‘Jax” (Grey Flanell x San Amour I) as the eventual ride for para dressage rider Georgia Wilson who won team and individual silver and freestyle gold (grade II) at the European Championships 2019. The five-year-old is an exciting prospect for the future to follow on from Georgia’s current horses.
“He’s got such a good attitude to life,” said Stena. “He takes it all in his stride. Despite only having done two shows in his life before, he was super-cool. The test was balanced and consistent and he has three fabulous paces.”
Hannah Esberger-Hancock’s Fairfax Saddles PSG Gold winner, Iggy Pop BEK (pictured above), was found in Holland for her by Henry Boswell.
“He’s not been easy,” recalled Hannah. “He was a beautifully behaved three-year-old and when he was four turned into a devil who was tricky to ride!” (Maybe he was channelling his namesake, the bad boy punk star?)
Iggy has only been lightly competed and, in fact, a year ago was still competing at Novice level. Hard work training during lockdown concentrating on the basics has paid off and the Dream Boy eight-year-old danced down the PSG centre line for the first time in May.
When Hannah bought him he was 15.2hh and seemed destined to be a small horse. However he has grown to 17hh – a big horse for Hannah who is 5’ 1”. “We’ve got a real partnership now,” said Hannah. “He’s still green in the arena but getting more confident with every test. I was really thrilled with him. My trainer Carl Hester thinks he’s the best horse I’ve ever had and I’m excited for our future.”
Charlotte Cundall has achieved one of her dreams in being selected as reserve for the British para dressage team for the Tokyo Paralympics with the Lady Joseph Trust’s LJT Simply Red. Another milestone is a ticket to the Nationals at Advanced Medium Silver, to add to the qualification she has already won to the Equissage Pulse Para Championships.
Charlotte calls Red ‘the horse that keeps on giving’ and he pulled out the stops with a clean accurate test. As Charlotte points out, Red spends a lot of time being asked not to do a flying change as they are not required in her Grade V para tests and she doesn’t practice them a lot at home so not to confuse him.
“At the Winter Championships our changes were a bit fluffy, but here he nailed them all. We had one tiny moment when I went on autopilot and started a half circle which is in the para team test and had to hastily get back to the track!” said Charlotte who was also third in the Medium Gold with her other ride, F J Veyron.
Jessica Ely has transformed her medium weight hunter Formidable I into a dressage star to win the TopSpec Medium Silver. Since the Vivaldi x Inspekteur gelding 11-year-old changed career he has had a top 10 placing in the Elementary Silver at the National Championships in 2019 and won two regional titles at Keysoe in the same year.
“We’ve been concentrating on training at home and moved up to Medium this year,” said Jessica, who trains with Becky Moody. She has a showing yard which also includes some young dressage horses. “He’s got an amazing temperament. As a show horse he went to the Horse of the Year Show and Royal International so he’s seen everything and is nice and confident in the ring. He’s just so trainable. He never gets upset and doesn’t take offence if I get anything wrong.”
Jade Struthers’ Equitop Elementary Silver win with Suarez means a second visit to the National Championships for the pair. They already have four regional titles under their belts.
Jade was disappointed to miss this year’s Winter Championships when Suarez became lethargic in June and was diagnosed with a low red cell blood count and had to receive a two-week course of treatment. Although the cause was never determined, thankfully the seven-year-old is now back to normal and was on top form at Port Royal to score 71.67%.
After leaving school, Jade worked with horses for a few years but after the ‘Beast from the East’ winter, decided on a change. She is now studying for a degree in Rural Business Management and will be starting her fourth year in the Autumn.
“He’s just come back into form in the last week or so,” commented Jade, who trains with Jill Grant. “I’ve been working on his overall way of going and now he’s better in the frame.”
Sixteen-year-old Musa Husain is an eventer at heart but has taken on the ride of former intermediate event horse D Grand Spiel (pictured above) very successfully. At their first regionals, they nailed the win in the BETTALIFE Novice Silver regional championship.
“D has mainly been relaxing and hacking recently,” explained Musa who was also fifth in the Elementary Silver. “I ride him once a week for Sue Cliffe who looks after him for his owner Claire Thomas. Sue suggested I did some dressage competitions. The win came as quite a surprise as I didn’t go with any expectations. He’s a very nice horse, big and loose moving and I really like riding him.”
Mobiliser Prelim Silver
1. Anna Burns and Magic Dream, 76.78%
2. Michael Bainbridge and Derrentigne, 75.98%
3. Andrew Ellis and Medoc Calvert, 73.22%
Mobiliser Preliminary Gold
1. Emma Jablonski and Multivision, 73.79%
2. Jordan Kavanagh and Legolas I, 72.79%
3. Georgie Roden and Powered By Grand Gesture, 71.61%
BETTALIFE Novice Silver
1. Musa Husain and D Grand Spiel, 70.56%
2. Sam Jimmison and Jorvik Star, 70.00%
3. Emma Mounfield and Colin II, 70%
BETTALIFE Novice Gold
1. Stena Hoerner and Faside Got The Love, 80.74%
2. Sophie Wells and LJT Egebjerggards Somoa, 80.68%
3. Anne-Marie Cowan and Lumiere L, 79.20%
Equitop Elementary Silver
1. Jade Struthers and Suarez, 71.67%
2. Jessica Parr and Gabber D, 71.15%
3. Jessica Parr and Foxcroft Juval, 70.83%
Equitop Elementary Gold
1. Becky Moody and Jack Diamond, 78.02%
2. Jezz Palmer and Ketcher B, 71.35%
3. Anne-Marie Cowan and Lumiere L, 70.63%
TopSpec Medium Silver
1. Jessica Ely and Formidable I, 71.49%
2. Claire Johnston and Sensation, 68.96%
3. Olivia Wrennall and Don De Luxe, 66.89%
TopSpec Medium Gold
1. Becky Moody and Jack, 73.15%
2. Calum Whitworth and Damaris, 70.72%
3. Charlotte Cundall and FJ Veyron, 70.68%
Andrews Bowen Advanced Medium Silver
1. Charlotte Cundall and LJT Simply Red, 69.78%
2. Angharad Harries and Classic Bee Gee, 68.38%
3. Lisa Clarkson and Giannova, 68.07%
Andrews Bowen Advanced Medium Gold
1. Becky Moody and Jagerbomb, 75.04%
2. Victoria Maw and Benuto Dorato, 71.93%
3. Hannah Esberger Hancock and Iggy Pop BEK, 71.49%
Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Silver
1. Emma Jablonski and Higgens Van De Uilenhoek, 70.31%
2. Samantha Bloor and Elason, 63.94%
3. Tracey Rabone and Garfield, 61.54%
Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Gold
1. Hannah Esberger-Hancock and Iggy Pop BEK, 71.10%
2. Mellissa Chapman and TCE Jubilant Al Sno, 68.11%
3. Ryan Todd and Woodcroft Dancing Queen, 67.76%
Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I Silver
1. Emma Jablonski and Higgens Van De Uilenhoek, 68.68%
2. Heidi Hutchinson and Ellison, 64.65%
Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I Gold
1. Jessica Dunn and Woodcroft Ferdinand, 71.54%
2. Lindsay Hancock and Barachiel, 68.68%
3. Anne-Marie Cowan and Woodcroft Royal Charter, 67.06%
Photo © JFI Photography