Summer Regional Championships: Scottish National Equestrian Centre
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The Scottish National Equestrian Centre in West Lothian hosted their Summer Regional Championships on the 29 - 30 July and homebred winners were very much to the fore.
First up was Jennifer Johnston-Harman with her homebred Nightlife, aka Nelly, who won The Centreline Preliminary Gold with 73.33%, the highest score of the show. Nightlife, pictured above, is an embryo transfer from MFS Caliana, a mare that Jennifer rode to small tour level.
“I bought Caliana as a four-year-old and was still competing her when I put her to Asgaards Ibiza on the recommendation of a friend,” explained Jennifer. “Once I started doing a bit with Nelly and realised just what a dude she was I bred two more from her!”
Nelly hasn’t had the most conventional dressage upbringing as Jennifer explained. “I’m not sure the young horse classes are always in their best interests so Nelly has been cross country and done a bit of everything and is only now starting to concentrate on dressage. To me she’s perfect, the right size, a great outlook on life and the best work ethic, I get more excited by her every day, I adore her!”
Jennifer’s second win came with Jazzman MFS who won the Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Silver. The horse was bought from the MFS Stud as a foal but two years ago damaged a suspensory and it was touch and go whether he’d return. “I walked him for months and just enjoyed riding him as at one point I wasn’t sure I ever would,” she said. “I started doing a bit more and he was so happy to be back working and then eventually out competing, he’s not a horse who enjoys doing nothing and he feels on top form now.”
Sadly the win has a very sad postscript. “He’d been feeling great and I was really excited for the upcoming Nationals and then the other day I went to get him in from the field and it was obvious he’d damaged the suspensory again but this time beyond repair,” said Jennifer. “It was a heart-breaking decision to make for me but absolutely the right one for him, he was such a kind horse and I will miss him.”
Kirstie Clarke had a great show taking two firsts and two seconds back to her Lancashire base, Nureno won the BETTALIFE Novice Gold with stablemate Negotiator I in second, Sport Horse Centre Sissily won the TopSpec Medium Silver and Powered By Fürst Impressions finished second in the TopSpec Medium Silver.
Nureno, a son of Blue Hors Farrell, belongs to Kirstie and was bought last year. “I got on him and within two circuits of the arena I knew he was what I wanted,” said Kirstie. “He moves, is so easy with it and he’s beautiful.” The horse is now licensed with the AES although Kirstie has no plans to use him as yet.
Sissily has been with Kirstie for 12 months and initially came to be sold. “Luckily for me Sue Sutton has decided to keep her for me to compete, ultimately she will be sold but not just yet!”
Jo Barry had tears of joy after her homebred Hidalgo, pictured above, won the Brett Wilson Dressage International Advanced Medium Gold following a difficult couple of years. The son of Rousseau was bought in utero. “He arrived big and has remained big, so much so that I daren’t put a stick on him” said Jo of the 11-year-old. “Luckily he’s not too wide so he’s still rideable.”
The horse competed successfully up to Prix St Georges before injuring his cruciate ligament in the October of 2021. “I really wasn’t sure he’d ever come back,” she said. “I spent a year hacking up and down the hills, we didn’t touch a school until relatively recently and even then my heart was in my mouth but everything progressed well. I thought we’d be making up the numbers today but the trot work went really well and then I did get excited and a couple of mistakes crept into the canter, but to win? I thought I’d never get to ride him again let alone compete!”
Another homebred, Susie White’s Seventh Heaven II, Catherston Dance In The Dark out of the pony event mare Heaven Eyes, comfortably won the Brett Wilson Dressage International Advanced Medium Silver. “I was hoping I might just sneak a wild card, to win is a dream come true,” said a delighted Susie of the gelding who was originally bred to event.
“Heaven Eyes came over from Ireland as a six-year-old for my sister and she evented her to Novice level,” she explained. “Mum decided to sell her then as she was a bit small to move up the levels but luckily everyone who came to see her decided she was too small or too big as she didn’t measure in as a pony. My sister went off to Uni and I was 10 so a bit small to ride her so she went in foal with the idea of breeding a future eventer for me, they say fools breed foals for wisemen to buy but we hit the jackpot!”
‘Dids’ started off eventing, Susie competing him in BYEH horse classes when he was four and she was fourteen, moved into the eventing field and was on the point of moving him up to what now would be 3* level in anticipation of competing him in YR. “The show jumping was always my downfall,” said Susie. “The horse was fine but as soon as the show jumps went up above Novice height my nerves would kick in. That year I’d qualified for the Pony Club Championships eventing and dressage and ended up entering the new music freestyle class which meant joining BD to get a music licence. I really enjoyed myself, came home, entered a few tests, qualified for the winter regionals and never looked back.”
Cat Dalton and another former eventer Derrentigue Bruce, pictured above, won the BETTALIFE Novice Silver. The 10-year-old is owned by Michael and Michelle Bainbridge who bought the Irish bred to event. “It turned out he preferred dancing to jumping,” said Cat who trains with Steph Cooper and was lucky to make it to the show.
“We broke down on the way but quite close to the venue who were fantastic,” she explained. “They came out and found us and shadowed us as we limped there and then changed the prizegiving for us on the Sunday after we’d won. We didn’t expect to do that well and booked the transporter for before it was due to take place!”
Cat was also full of praise for their breakdown insurance. “We only hear the bad stories but SEIB and the RAC were absolutely brilliant,” she said.
Eilidh Grant’s homebred pony Charming Duke won the HorseQuest Elementary Gold with a mark just shy of 72%. Charming Duke is by former British team pony Caesar 171 out of a Painted Black mare that came from Julie Lockey who has so much success with her horses ridden by the Moody sisters. “Due to a field injury the mare never competed but she’s bred some fantastic youngsters including this year’s foal, a full-sister to Duke,” said Eilidh.
Karen Campbell, a sports therapist for both humans and horses, won The Centre Line Preliminary Silver with Monstar, pictured above, setting herself up for a ten-hour journey to Somerford. Monstar, De Niro/Rubicell, actually came out of Andrew Hamilton’s showjumping yard 12 months ago. “I’d mostly ridden ponies and decided to get a horse,” said Karen who trains with Charlie Hutton who himself picked up a couple of placings at the show.
“I went and tried him and he was cool as a cucumber, super chilled with this amazing attitude but when I got him home he was not quite so chilled and a bit greener than I thought so I’ve taken him slowly. He’s really settled to it now although we have a bit of a yo-yo record, last week I retired half way through a test after freestyling in the working in - I quit before we had to canter!”
Other wins came from Emily Sutherland in the HorseQuest Elementary Silver with Genson Blue, Jade Struthers in the TopSpec Medium Gold with Suarez, Alexandra Snape in the Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Gold with Da Vinci 299, Samantha Turpitt in the Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I Silver with Bali Dancer and Darcas Lever in the Gold equivalent with Dee Jay Asgard who was also second in the Brett Wilson Dressage International Advanced Medium with Clara Withers in the saddle.
Results - top three placings
The Centre Line Preliminary Silver
1. Karen Campbell and Monstar, 68.68%
2. Fiona Menzies and Cullenbay Heaven Sent, 68.28%
3. Sheila Rodgers and Hotshot III, 68.16%
The Centre Line Preliminary Gold
1. Jennifer Johnston-Harman and Nightlife, 73.33%
2. Gillian Parker and Moriana, 71.55%
3. Kirstie Clarke and Negotiator I, 70.75%
BETTALIFE Novice Silver
1. Cat Dalton and Derrentigue Bruce, 69.81%
2. James Oakden and Cooley Cormint, 67.84%
3. Mary Pearson and Seilrencio, 67.72%
BETTALIFE Novice Gold
1. Kirstie Clarke and Nureno, 71.79%
2. Kirstie Clarke and Negotiator I, 70.93%
3. Eilidh Grant and Lebora, 70.37%
HorseQuest Elementary Silver
1. Emily Sutherland and Genson Blue, 72.76%
2. Morgan McCartney and Kiento WH II, 70.52%
3. Karen Dewar and Kianca, 69.64%
HorseQuest Elementary Gold
1. Eilidh Grant and Charming Duke, 71.88%
2. Robyn McDonald Smith and Gentle Caledonia, 71.77%
3. Charles Hutton and MSJ Faricio, 70.47%
TopSpec Medium Gold
1. Jade Struthers and Suarez, 71.40%
2. Kirstie Clarke and Powered By Fürst Impressions, 69.64%
3. Charles Hutton and MSJ Faricio, 68.70%
TopSpec Medium Silver
1. Kirstie Clarke and Sport Horse Centre Sissily, 68.79%
2. Georgina Chalmers-Gray and Jekaterina, 68.33%
3. Lea Gray and Hopefull B, 67.39%
Brett Wilson Dressage International Advanced Medium Silver
1. Susie White and Seventh Heaven II, 67.81%
2. Clara Withers and Dee Jay Asgard, 66.93%
3. Linda Barnes and First Miss Sunrise AS, 66.27%
Brett Wilson Dressage International Advanced Medium Gold
1. Joanna Barry and Hidalgo II, 69.04%
2. Alexandra Snape and Da Vinci 299, 68.68%
3. Jennifer Johnston-Harman and Jazzman MFS, 68.68%
Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Silver
1. Jennifer Johnston-Harman and Jazzman MFS, 67.79%
2. Samantha Turpitt and Bali Dancer, 67.79%
3. Chrissie Havis and Beckhouse Piano Blue, 65.00%
Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Gold
1. Alexandra Snape and Da Vinci 299, 64.95%
2. Harry Payne and Umbongo, 62.60%
Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I Silver
1. Samantha Turpitt and Bali Dancer, 67.94%
2. Fiona Stryjewski and Devon B, 65.49%
3. Joanna McIntosh Sim and Don Pasco, 65.05%
Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I Gold
1. Darcas Lever and Dee Jay Asgard, 63.38%
Photo © Dave Cameron Photography