Summer Regional Championships: The Cabin EC
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The Cabin Summer Regionals saw some small classes but tough competition for the coveted titles despite some terrible thunderstorms.
Jennifer Johnston-Harman’s Dance With Me Fürst MFS (pictured above) is the current Novice Freestyle Gold Winter Champion and her wins at Elementary and Medium Gold give her a chance at two more national titles.
Jennifer bought ‘Daisy’ (Follow Me x Del Piero) as a foal from breeder Moray Firth Stud and the seven-year-old chestnut mare has an impressive record of first places – out of 34 tests she has won 30. At The Cabin she added a score of 76.15% for the Equitop Elementary Gold and 72.48% for the TopSpec Medium Gold.
“She only did a couple of Medium tests to qualify but she finds all the work easy,” said Jennifer. “Her experience at the Winter Championships has matured her a lot. I genuinely enjoyed riding her Elementary test – I rode round smiling because it felt fantastic. She was there and ready for it. It’s so much more enjoyable when how it feels to ride the test is reflected in the marks.”
Jo Barry was the only other double winner with Hidalgo II and Goofy La Perle. Hidalgo (Rousseau x Donnerhall) - pictured above, who won the Andrews Bowen Advanced Medium Gold already has eight regional titles to his name, despite only being nine-years-old. ‘Humphrey’ is owned in partnership with Lady Hope and some help from Grand Prix rider Sara Gallop during lockdown has helped him to mature.
“We’ve never quite managed to do our best at the Nationals but I know he’s got it in him,” explained Jo. “My homework is to take him to more new venues – he’s a bit of a mouse in elephant’s clothing. In the test he was tense rather than nervous so I hope he’s progressing. The Advanced Medium keeps his mind occupied.”
Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges (PSG) Silver winner Goofy La Perle (Belissimo x Jazz) lived up to his name by going on a mission of self-harm in the field four weeks before the regionals. He had to have eight stitches under his tongue which was compounded by him chewing his tongue when it was numbed with the local anaesthetic. “He wasn’t eating or drinking for a while so it was great for him to recover and get to the regionals and do so well.”
“I qualified for the PSG thinking I had a month to prepare for regionals. We were a bit under prepared so I was really pleased he stuck with me and tried his heart out.” Goofy, who is owned by Gordon Grainger, was only attempting his fourth PSG so there is a lot more to come from this promising horse.
Linda Barnes, recovering from cancer treatment and cardiac surgery, proved she is back with a great win in the BETTALIFE Novice Gold. Her British-bred chestnut mare, Penhaligon Femme Fatale did her proud after she only got back out competing in June after a six months’ absence from the ring.
Linda says the six-year-old chestnut mare by Franklyn Sugar has been ‘awesome’ to train. “I’m still getting myself fit so I didn’t expect to do so well,” said Linda who is a coach and BD judge. “In the Novice she was a bit nervous - it was her first ‘stay-away’ show. In the Elementary Silver class she felt amazing and was more relaxed. We were second so hopefully might get a wild card.”
Kendal Bow’s Equitop Elementary Silver winner, DPUK Blue Moon (Bluebell), is a KWPN x Welsh section C who loves to compete. “He squeals when he sees the horsebox!” said Kendal who bought him eight years ago as a just-backed gelding. “We’ve grown up together and I’ve enjoyed every minute.
“He was a bit looky and went a bit tense in the trot but in the canter work I was able to relax him and get him forward.”
Kendal is studying Acting and the Performing Arts at Edinburgh University and trains with Debby Lush.
Laura Smith and Deliciosa nailed their test to secure their first visit to the Nationals at Prelim Silver. “I moved back to Scotland because of Covid and we bought ‘Delilah’ because my mum was fed up of me stealing her horse,” explained Laura who has swapped a job as airline cabin crew for one in the NHS and plans to go to university to study nursing.
“I wasn’t expecting to do so well. She was hot, hot as she had eaten a whole horse lick in a couple of hours the night before. So she was a little bit spicy!” The pair has also qualified for the Area Festival Finals at Novice Silver.
The Mobiliser Prelim Gold title went to corporate financial analyst Carmen Gammie and Lets Make An Opera M (Guardian S x Charmeur). She has owned the five-year-old 16hh pocket rocket since March 2020 and is training him with the help of Hannah Moody.
“It was only our fifth show together so a few moments could’ve been tidier but he tried hard and that’s all I can ask for,” said Carmen. “I’ll try and do a few local shows before the Nationals but he’s very rational so I think he’ll take Somerford in his stride.”
Hilary Cowie’s pony Shall We Dance II is a mix of Welsh section D, Hackney and warmblood but lived up to her name and danced to the top of the podium in the BETTALIFE Novice Silver. Hilary got ‘Polly’ in June 2019 and her beautiful head has always reminded her of Valegro.
Hilary has a showing background and Polly was bought so she could contest FEI pony classes, “I liked her spark and attitude,” said Hilary who trains with Eilidh Grant “and she’s a really nice person in the stable.”
The TopSpec Medium Silver title was won by Aimee Aspinall who rides Dominica DL (by Damon Hill) - pictured above - for Dedi Leech and Emma Thomas Olsen. Aimee moved to Scotland three years ago, taking the then four-year-old chestnut mare with her.
“She’s like a Labrador and would be happier living in my house,” said Aimee after the mare’s first regional win. “She’s the most trainable horse I’ve ever had. She’s perfect, she just wants to please. I’m really proud of her, she’s an incredible horse with so much more to come. Although she’s competing at Medium she’s been quite sheltered.”
Aimee and Dominica will visit the Scottish National Championships before heading to the BD Nationals.
Samantha Turpitt has owned her Andrews Bowen Advanced Medium Silver winner, Bali Dancer (Barclay x Del Piero) since she was two and they are the current Area Festival PSG Silver title holders.
“She was tricky and tested me as a young horse but has come good in the last couple of years and become much more reliable. Given the circumstances I was really pleased with the test. The heavens opened as I got on and I was soaked before I got to the warm-up. We hack a lot so she’s used to the weather. There was no real weakness in the test and she produced nice expressive mediums.”
The small tour classes were not well-supported at Inter I Silver and PSG Gold levels but both winners had qualifying scores and deserved their Nationals tickets.
Despite living not far away, a 4.30am alarm call was required to get Eilidh Grant and Doornroos II trotting down the centre line at 7.30 am in some of the worst of the rain. A 70%+ score was reward for their efforts for the Fairfax Saddles Prix St Gold sash.
“Despite the rain, she did a super test and carried on perfectly.” Eilidh trains regularly with Nicola Buchanan on-line and is heading down to Carl Hester’s yard for some additional tips before the Nationals.
Victoria Gladwyn and Sonnersted added a second place in the Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Silver to their uncontested Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I Silver win. “I’ve had Sonny since he was weaned and I never imagined he’d be the horse he’s turned out to be,” said Victoria who has produced the Stedinger x Donnerhall 11-year-old herself. “He’s the most kind-hearted, quirkiest soul on the planet. He likes to work and tries his hardest. He also show jumps and events up to BE100.”
Sonny made a remarkable recovery from a foot issue eight weeks ago. “At one time I didn’t think we’d be able to come. In the past he’s got anxious but he came out really relaxed. It wasn’t the best he’s ever done but I went for a clear round.”
Victoria is considering combining her trip to the Nationals with a trip to North Yorkshire the day after to take in an event. That’s really making the most of her weekend!
Mobiliser Preliminary Silver
1. Laura Smith and Deliciosa, 71.67%
2. Karen Campbell and Balhagarty Shady, 67.70%
Mobiliser Preliminary Gold
1. Carmen Gammie and Lets Make An Opera M, 71.49%
2. Jade Whitelaw and Late Night, 69.83%
3. Julie Scott and Brodnants Diamond Bracelet, 67.47%
BETTALIFE Novice Silver
1. Hilary Cowie and Shall We Dance II, 71.67%
2. Aimee Aspinall and Shadow Samurai, 69.57%
3. Joanna McIntosh Sim and The Longhouse Floridonna, 67.41%
BETTALIFE Novice Gold
1. Linda Barnes and Penhaligon Femme Fatale, 69.63%
2. Eilidh Grant and Charming Duke, 69.26%
3. Jade Whitelaw and Late Night, 66.17%
Equitop Elementary Silver
1. Kendal Bow and DPUK Blue Moon, 70.47%
2. Linda Barnes and Penhaligon Femme Fatale, 69.43%
3. Sue Duncan and Gideon II, 66.67%
Equitop Elementary Gold
1. Jennifer Johnston-Harman and Dance With Me Fürst MFS, 76.15%
2. Fenella Quinn and Der Kleine Lord I, 69.79%
3. Scott McLellan and Daimler II, 69.43%
TopSpec Medium Silver
1. Aimee Aspinall and Dominica DL, 69.19%
2. Mhairi Niven and I Love You Too PC, 68.15%
3. Fiona Maxwell and St Antine, 66.94%
TopSpec Medium Gold
1. Jennifer Johnson-Harman and Dance With Me Fürst MFS, 72.48%
2. Fenella Quinn and Der Kleine Lord I, 68.15%
3. Claire Moore and EV Amore Mia, 66.17%
Andrews Bowen Advanced Medium Silver
1. Samantha Turpitt and Bali Dancer, 69.12%
2. Claire Moore and EV Amore Mia, 69.12%
3. Alice Pullem and High Fashion MFS, 66.71%
Andrews Bowen Advanced Medium Gold
1. Jo Barry and Hidalgo II, 71.40%
2. Jo Barry and Goofy La Perle, 70.61%
3. Fenella Quinn and Ghita Fille de Zita S, 69.47%
Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Silver
1. Jo Barry and Goofy La Perle, 66.78%
2. Victoria Gladwyn and Sonnersted, 65.86%
Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Gold
1. Eilidh Grant and Doornroos II, 70.39%
Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I Silver
1. Victoria Gladwyn and Sonnersted, 66.89%
Photo © Gracie Hardie