Summer Regional Championships: Port Royal
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Some stunning horses danced down the centre line at Port Royal Summer Regional Championships (21-24 July 2022), with Heidi Hutchinson, Jodie Reay and Becky Moody going home with double wins and those sought-after tickets to the LeMieux National Championships.
BETTALIFE Novice Silver and Equitop Elementary Silver winners Jodie Reay and Jupiler (‘Jack’) - pictured above - are in their first proper competition season and Port Royal was their first Championship show. The eight-year-old Blue Hors Zack x Don Schufro gelding underwent kissing spine surgery last year and Jodie took his recovery slowly. “I had always felt there was something niggling him,” said Jodie who runs a livery yard in Louth, Lincolnshire. “His recovery was a slow process but he has a good temperament and has coped really well. Now I need to keep building on his strength and not rush him.
“He’s getting confident in the arena and shows himself off. He was really rideable in the Elementary and it was nice to feel you can ride the test the same as you can at home. He’s very trainable and I’d love to go as high as he can.”
Heidi Hutchinson and her Sandreo gelding Ellison won both the Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges (PSG) and Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I Silver titles. The pair previously went to the Winter Championships at Advanced Medium level.
The 13-year-old was bought as a five-year-old as ‘a bit of a project’. “He’s been a bit tricky but it’s been great fun getting him through the levels,” commented Heidi who combines her work as a dressage trainer with animal portraiture.
Heidi has trained with Paul Hayler for three years. “Paul gets the best out of us,” said Heidi. “Our tests were the best Ellison could do. He always picks up marks for his canter pirouettes.”
Becky Moody is no stranger to regional titles and added two more to her roster when Lancelot BS won Equitop Elementary Gold and TopSpec Medium Gold. Her Elementary score of 75.68% was the highest of the show (and her second place on Magic Dream with 74.11% wasn’t far behind).
Becky shares the ride on Jo Cooper and Anne Moody’s six-year-old rising star with her rider Anna Burns who is hoping for a wild card for the six-year-old young horse class at the Nationals. He was bred by Becky’s long-time supporter, Julie Lockey and is by Dream Boy out of a Lancet mare.
“He was very sharp and sensitive as a four-year-old but the more he’s doing, the better he’s getting,” explained Becky, who will have six rides at the Nationals. “These were definitely his best performances. He got super marks and even a couple of nines. I felt I could say ‘Go on and show what you can do’.”
The Centre Line Prelim Gold was the most heavily supported class with 36 riders going down the centre line. The eventual winner was Cat Dalton with Derrentique Bruce, a nine-year-old with unknown Irish breeding. He was bought as a four-year-old for Michael and Michelle Bainbridge’s daughter to ride but when he proved spooky Cat took on the ride. During lockdown Michael took over and last year qualified Bruce for the Prelim Silver class at the National Championships.
Cat was given back the ride in January this year and has been enjoying a brilliant summer with him. “We’ve been working hard on our training and building up our confidence as a partnership,” said Cat who trains with Steph Cooper. “He’s got a big personality and is very cheeky. He’s very sensitive to rider emotion and if I’m calm he picks up on that.”
The Centre Line Prelim Silver title was won by Lauren Thorpe on her five-year-old chestnut gelding For Alondra (For Romance I x Romanov Blue Hors) - pictured above. Of their 13 starts together, they have won every one! For Alondra has also had success in the young horse classes with Katie Owens and will be heading to the Nationals for the five-year-old young horse class.
After showjumping until she was 25, Lauren switched to dressage and has really got the bug for it. She bought For Alondra as a two-year-old and has backed and produced him herself with the help of Katie. “He’s an awesome horse,” said Lauren. “He learns quickly and is strengthening up. He’s got good manners but isn’t always the easiest ride. Katie has really helped us with techniques to improve.”
Second-highest score of the show (74.32%) was achieved by Tom Goode and Debbie Cunningham and Emile Faurie’s Iceland Girl PS (Ierland x Londonderry) in the BETTALIFE Novice Gold. Tom has been riding the five-year-old since September last year and rates the tall, elegant mare very highly. “She doesn’t feel like a big horse when you ride her. She’s got good natural balance,” he commented. “She feels older than her years. She won her age class three days before so had time to become super-relaxed in the show environment. She has the most incredible canter, it feels like you’re flying!”
It was one-two for Jess Parr in the TopSpec Medium Silver regional championship, winning with Foxcroft Juvat (‘Ellie’) on 72.39% and second with Gabber D. She owns half of Ellie with the Foxcroft Stud and has been riding the Fairytale x Animo mare for two-and-a half years. The pair has won their last nine outings together.
“She nailed it!” enthused Jess who is a BDCC Level 2 coach. “It was probably the best she’s ever been at a show – very relaxed for her. She’s very sensitive so I’ve been trying to get her to lots of busy shows. She enjoys learning and loves being in the school. She’s a lateral queen – loves going sideways!”
Patsy Bartram’s Andrews Bowen Advanced Medium Silver regional champion Greenacres Cadiz is showjumping bred but proving to be a talented dressage horse. She bought the British-bred Cador gelding six years ago when he was three.
“He’s definitely quirky – not an easy horse,” said Patsy. “He gets very frightened of other horses in the warm-up. I sent him showjumping for a while to see if it helped but it didn’t! He’s difficult in the car park but once he’s in the ring he’s a very good boy and focuses on me. I try to choose venues with a big warm-up arena. Fortunately at Port Royal the two people before me withdrew so the arena was not too busy.
“He’s still quite new to this level. At the start he cantered off from halt rather than trotting but then settled. I was so chuffed to get 8s for his walk pirouettes.”
Patsy trains with Paul Fielder and recently has had help from Isobel Wessels.
BDCC Level 3 coach Victoria Maw bought her Andrews Bowen Advanced Medium Gold winner, Benito Donato, as a foal, picking him out from a photograph. It was a wise move as ‘Benny’ has proved to be Victoria’s most successful horse to date, picking up his eighth title at Port Royal, adding to a list which includes national titles at Novice and Elementary Gold.
“Benny is like a Labrador puppy,” commented Victoria, who has younger and older siblings of this talented gelding. “He’s the kindest soul and interesting to train. He’s dyslexic like me and I have to find four or five different ways for him to get something. Once the penny drops, he’s away. He’s only 16hh but he has huge movement. It’s taken him time to understand he can come together and be quick and doesn’t have to have a big move every time.
“Our highlight in the test was getting eights for his flying changes, He’s one of those horses you always dream of. He wants to work with you.”
Fiona Brennan and her super De Angelis II (pictured above) have been on good form all summer and were rewarded with a 71+% score to win the Fairfax Saddles PSG Gold regional championship. The 11-year-old Decamerone x Regazzoni gelding has been very successful at Premier League shows and recently stepped up to Inter II.
“I have found it a bit hard to go back to PSG as it now feels that the lines are so long. He enjoys his work and every time I ride him it’s such good fun,” said Fiona, who trains with Gareth Hughes. The pair has a direct qualification to the nationals at Inter I Gold.
Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I Gold winners, Emma Jablonski and Higgens van ve Ullenhoek, have a raft of regional titles under their belts. At this year’s Winter Championships they were in the top 10 in the Inter I, having won the regional title at Vale View.
Emma has owned ‘Hugo’ since he was a just-backed three-year-old and has trained him up the levels with the help of Amy Woodhead. “He’s quite a chilled horse and settles quickly at a show as long as there’s food!” commented Emma. “He’s not the spooky type and it’s nice to go in and be confident that what you’ve been working on at home, he’s going to give you in the ring.”
“He doesn’t really have a weakness – I just need to keep building his strength and suppleness. I hope to get him to Grand Prix and we’ll spend the winter working on his piaffe, passage and tempi changes.”
Congratulations to all the competitors and thanks to the organisers and their team for their hard work in making the regional championships run smoothly.
Results - top three
Friday 22 July
Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Silver
1. Heidi Hutchinson and Ellison, 63.33%
2. Tracy Rabone and Garfield, 60.54%
3. Nina Prosser and Zorro IV, 56.62%
Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Gold
1. Fiona Brennan and De Angelis II, 71.62%
2. Hannah Esberger-Hancock and Iggy Pop BEK, 70.98%
3. Charlotte Lutener and AB Barroco, 70.29%
Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I Silver
1. Heidi Hutchinson and Ellison, 65.05%
2. Tracy Rabone and Garfield, 55.93%
Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I Gold
1. Emma Jablonski and Higgens van de Uilenhoek, 69.26%
2. Charlotte Lutener and Full Fusion BS, 68.87%
3. Hannah Esberger-Hancock and Iggy Pop BEK, 67.50%
Andrews Bowen Advanced Medium Silver
1. Patsy Bartram and Greenacres Cadiz, 67.72%
2. Sarah Chipman and Hocus Pocus II, 66.10%
3. Step Crowther and Huevo, 65.70%
Andrews Bowen Advanced Medium Gold
1. Victoria Maw and Benito Dorato, 70.13%
2. Vikki Pengilly and Indianna, 67.41%
3. Mary Pritchard and Koeka Matcha JCS, 67.28%
TopSpec Medium Gold
1. Becky Moody and Lancelot BS, 71.94%
2. Charlotte Cundall and FJ Veyron, 71.94%
3. Tom Goode and Margot, 71.58%
Saturday 23 July
BETTALIFE Novice Silver
1. Jodie Reay and Jupiler, 71.36%
2. Cat Dalton and Derrentigue Bruce, 69.38%
3. Lauren Crowe and Scout, 69.07%
Equitop Elementary Silver
1. Jodie Reay and Jupiler, 72.08%
2. Sophie Wilson and Midnight, 71.15%
3. Jessica Griffiths and RS Fürst Love, 71.09%
Equitop Elementary Gold
1. Becky Moody and Lancelot BS, 75.68%
2. Becky Moody and Magic Dream, 74.11%
3. Tom Goode and Margot, 71.46%
TopSpec Medium Silver
1. Jess Parr and Foxcroft Juvat, 72.39%
2. Jess Parr and Gabber D, 69.37%
3. Sarah Edmondson and Kyaro, 68.96%
Sunday 24 July
BETTALIFE Novice Gold
1. Tom Goode and Iceland Girl PS, 74.32%
2. Angharad Harries and Jack Brown, 73.15%
3. Anna Burns and Giselle, 72.65%
The Centre Line Preliminary Silver
1. Lauren Thorpe and For Alondra, 71.21%
2. Rebecca Carver and Byrneshill Toby, 69.94%
3. Megan Bainbridge and Harry’s Silver Fox, 69.43%
The Centre Line Preliminary Gold
1. Cat Dalton and Derrentigue Bruce, 72.59%
2. Emma Jablonski and Knight Vision, 72.53%
3. Josh Mellor and Once Over, 72.36%
Photo © JFI Photography