Summer Regional Championships: The Cabin Equestrian Centre
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Jo Barry stamped her authority on The Cabin regionals (30 – 31 July 2022) with four wins and a fifth qualifying ticket. While the classes may not have been large, the standard of competition high.
Jo and Gordon Grainger’s impressive Goofy La Perle (pictured above) won both the Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges (PSG) Gold and Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I Gold with 70% scores. The 11-year-old Bellissimo M x Jazz gelding is the current National PSG Silver Champion so will be stepping up to the gold section this year. He has been a very successful horse for Jo, with a number of national, regional and Scottish national titles to his credit.
“I was really pleased as earlier in the year we had a phase where we weren’t on the same page,” explained Jo. “Luckily I managed to get some training sessions with Carl Hester and it helped put us both back in the right mind-set. Goofy needs everything to be right or it doesn’t work. He’s more mareish than any of my mares! He has a huge movement and I’m trying not to squash it but at the same time making sure it works for me too.”
Jo’s Equitop Elementary Silver winner, Karisma II (Darcy), is a homebred and is half-sister to Jo’s successful horses Vivaldi V and Hidalgo II. According to Jo, the seven-year-old San Amour mare is a ‘self-harmer’ specialising in injuring herself in the stable so has only limited mileage. “She was off for 18 months so I’ve been concentrating on getting her fit and strong,” said Jo. ‘She’s feeling great. She fights your corner and takes herself down the centre line and presents herself to the judge.”
Karisma and Jo’s BETTALIFE Novice Gold champion Headmore Bella Luce are co-owned with Mary Hope. ‘Betty’ was bred by the Oppenheimer’s Headmore Stud and is a six-year-old by Belissimo M out of a Damon Hill mare. She also qualified for the Equitop Elementary Gold despite never having done the qualifying Elementary 59 test before.
“Sometimes nervousness can make her hide herself away but on the big occasions she comes into her own. She pleasantly surprised all of us. She’s a tiny little horse and we didn’t expect her to do so well.
“All three horses tried really hard and that’s the most you can ask for. Winning and qualification is just the cherry on the top of the cake!”
Niamh Meehan was a double champion with Sue Duncan’s 11-year-old Apache gelding, Gideon II. The pair aced the TopSpec Medium Gold and the Andrews Bowen Advanced Medium Silver sections.
Sue has owned Gideon for five years and Niamh has helped her train him. “At the beginning of May, Sue asked me to give him some competition experience to give him more confidence in the arena. We were delighted with him at The Cabin,” said Niamh who is a freelance instructor and trainer. “I was chuffed with the good marks and there are some areas where we can improve. He loves his flying changes, and we are working on his lateral work – the advanced medium half passes are steep.
“We’re training the PSG movements at home and are excited what the future holds for him. Training him is a team effort between me and Sue and getting us to the show was another as I had two horses and a two-year-old in tow!”
The small tour silver titles both went to Jennifer Johnston-Harman and her event-bred horse Jumble. The pair scored over 68% in both the Fairfax Saddles PSG and Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I.
“He’s by Jumbo out of a mare I used to event,” explained Jennifer. “He’s 100% not built for dressage. He’s incredibly obliging and very trainable and has just done his first Grand Prix.
“He’s taught me a lot because he’s not got huge amounts of natural talent and expression so everything has to be correct. I can pretty much count on Jumble to do a clear round.”
Jumble, who events at intermediate level, has just completed a successful season with Wills Oakden and earned the most points of any Scottish-bred horse last year.
Ria Petrie will be off to the National Championships for the first time after scoring an impressive 74.77% to win The Centre Line Preliminary Gold with Aesopica Texel MFS. The six-year-old Ferguson x Krack C mare is Scottish bred by Caroline Ironside at MFS Studfarm. It was the first time assistant accountant Ria had been to a regional championship so she really made it count as she also took the reserve BETTALIFE Novice Silver title too.
‘Fable’ was bought as a four-year-old and Ria describes her as a ‘totally funny, sweet character’. “She’s got really swinging paces which the judges seem to like,” commented Ria who trains with Hannah Moody. “She’s not spooky and is very reliable in the arena.”
The Centre Line Preliminary Silver section was won by farmer’s wife Fiona Menzies who was thrilled not only with her win on Cullenbay Heaven Sent (pictured above) but the generous £100 gift voucher she received from class sponsor The Centre Line. ‘Hermi’ is now the proud possessor of a smart fly rug.
“I inherited her three years ago from my friend David Lamb, who sadly died,” explained Fiona who trains with Debby Lush and Gillian Peters. “I registered her in March with the intention of doing an Area Festival but that clashed with the Great Yorkshire Show where I was taking my hunter. l got an email saying I’d qualified for Regionals and Gillian encourage me to go.”
Fiona, who is also a successful show producer with hunters, coloureds and Highlands, confesses to having caught the dressage bug. Hermi is a big mare, standing at 17hh but doesn’t use her size against Fiona who is 5’ 3”. “She’s a diva of the first order and life has to revolve around her,” said Fiona. “She and I have a great rapport. She’s extremely sensible – Miss Reliable.”
Eilidh Grant’s mega pony Charming Duke (Caesar 171 x Painted Black) won the TopSpec Medium Gold title and Eilidh is hoping that her fourth place in the very competitive Elementary Gold will be enough for a wild card.
Duke was the 5yo BD Young Pony Champion in 2021 and picked up the six-year-old title this year. “He’s super cool,” enthused Eilidh. “He’s a mega horse in a pony body. Sadly he’s up for sale but he’ll make a super FEI pony for someone. He’s naturally gifted at picking up the work. He’s got the kindest nature and is easy to have around – a shame he’s not a horse!
“His elementary test was incredible and he really held his own against the big horses. He probably used up a bit too much energy as he was a wee bit tired in the Medium. It’s a step up for him but he was ready to do it.”
Katie Smith won the BETTALIFE Novice Silver riding Beth Grimwood’s Bella Vista (pictured above), a Belconi mare she’s been riding since last year. It will be the first trip to the National Championships for Katie, although she and Bella contested the Winter Championships at Novice Silver this year.
“She’s taken time to grow into herself so Somerford will be her first big outdoor show,” explained Katie, who is a freelance instructor and also runs an equestrian shop, Hendry Equestrian. “I think she’ll love it. She’s better with a bigger atmosphere. She’s got more confidence now so I can ride her more positively. Whatever happens we’ll have fun together!”
Claire Marshall and 15-year-old Samuel II will be taking their first trip to the LeMieux National Championships after winning the Equitop Elementary Silver title. The pair recently qualified for the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships at Rock Rose.
Claire and Samuel are on a winning streak having won 14 out of their last 15 tests and last year won the Novice Silver title at the Scottish Championships.
Harry Payne was the only entrant down the centre line for the Andrews Bowen Advanced Medium Gold with his Uthopia gelding, Umbongo.
Congratulations to all competitors for making this such a competitive show and thanks to the organisers, judges, stewards and volunteers for a great event.
Results – top three
The Centre Line Preliminary Silver
1. Fiona Menzies and Cullenbay Heaven Sent, 71.90%
2. Lorna Stewart and Ilsa, 70.29%
3. Karen Campbell and Durris Pandora, 69.71%
The Centre Line Preliminary Gold
1. Ria Petrie and Aesopica Texel MFS, 74.77%
2. Jade Whitelaw and Nancy I, 72.87%
3. Samantha Turpitt and Moriarty, 71.26%
BETTALIFE Novice Silver
1. Katie Smith and Bella Vista, 71.21%
2.Ria Petrie and Aesopica Texel MFS, 70.49%
3. Elaine Taylor and Cullenboy Rhodolite, 70.25%
BETTALIFE Novice Gold
1. Jo Barry and Headmore Bella Luce, 73.02%
2. Robyn Smith and Gentle Caledonia, 71.98%
3. Carmen Gammie and Lets Make An Opera M, 71.91%
Equitop Elementary Silver
1. Claire Marshall and Samuel II, 71.46%
2. Hilary Cowie and Shall We Dance II, 71.15%
3. Gregor Knox and Quadrigo, 69.32%
Equitop Elementary Gold
1. Jo Barry and Karisma II, 73.85%
2. Jade Whitelaw and Late Night, 73.85%
3. Jo Barry and Headmore Bella Luce, 73.49%
TopSpec Medium Silver
1. Niamh Meehan and Gideon II, 69.77%
2. Abigail Gray and Godrics Campeggio, 69.32%
3. Jade Whitelaw and Dauphin III, 69.19%
TopSpec Medium Gold
1. Eilidh Grant and Charming Duke, 69.05%
Andrews Bowen Advanced Medium Silver
1. Niamh Meehan and Gideon II, 67.46%
2. Lesley Wheatley and Fürst Lazlo, 66.32%
3. Joanna Wilkie and Romeo, 65.88%
Andrews Bowen Advanced Medium Gold
1. Harry Payne and Umbongo, 61.18%
Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Silver
1. Jennifer Johnston-Harman and Jumble, 68.77%
Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Gold
1. Jo Barry and Goofy La Perle, 70.74%
2. Nicky Heale and Retanach Request, 68.04%
Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I Silver
1. Jennifer Johnston Harman and Jumble, 68.58%
Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I Gold
1. Jo Barry and Goofy La Perle, 70%
2. Nicky Heale and Retanach Request, 68.38%
Photo © JUMAPhotography