Summer Regional Championships: The Cabin
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The most northerly summer regional saw some fierce competition with Jo Barry on fighting form, taking home three titles while Robyn Smith dominated the Small Tour classes.
Jo Barry and Hidalgo II and Nicky Heale and Furstinclaire went head to head in the Childeric Elementary and Top Spec Medium Gold championships. In the event, Jo won both, but the combinations were only separated by one collective mark in the elementary.
Hidalgo (Humphrey) is by Rousseau and is owned by Jo and Lady Hope. He’s a half-brother to her very successful horse, Vivaldi V. His dam was bought with him in vitro and he was born at Jo’s yard. “He hasn’t stopped growing – I’m afraid to put a measuring stick on him,” said Jo. “Fortunately he’s not hugely wide so I survive riding him!
“He was fairly wild in the Elementary class so I had to do a bit of damage limitation,” confessed Jo. “He has so much energy and power, sometimes he doesn’t know what to do with it. That power will help in the future but at the moment it can be a bit too much.
“He was much more on-side in the Medium class. He kept a lid on it. He’s starting to co-ordinate his body, it’s just takes time to find the strength.”
Goofy La Perle (Belissimo x Jazz) made a few mistakes in the Equine Construction Advanced Medium Gold but still managed a 70%+ score to take the title. The eight-year-old was bought for Jo two years ago by Gordon Grainger of the Kingfisher Group. He was Elementary Gold champion at the LeMieux Nationals last year and won three titles at the Scottish Championships 2018.
“He’s made good progress through each stage and has developed strength and balance,” said Jo. “He was very chilled about learning his changes.”
With the lovely Retanach Request, her12-year-old Welsh Section D, Nicky Heale threw off the ‘seconditis’ and won the Equine Construction Advanced Medium Silver championship. Nicky is a full time paramedic and she and Rocco have been to six consecutive Winter Championships at every level from Novice to PSG, and the National Championships at Medium and Advanced Medium. They’re currently competing at Inter I and will soon aim for Inter II and GP.
Both small tour classes were won by Robyn Smith and her 11-year-old Florencio stallion, Francesco 77. In their Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I test, they were almost 4% ahead of their nearest rival. Robyn has been working hard all year on improving Frank’s performance so was thrilled when it all came off on the day.
She explained that on his way down to the arena he was very bright and wanted to say hello to everybody but 10 steps into the arena he transformed. “He just said ‘Yeah, I can do this’,” said Robyn who competed him at his first internationals at Bolesworth and Hartpury recently. “For the last few weeks we’ve been going back to basics to try and resolve any issues. I’ve been working on the canter pirouettes as he hasn’t always wanted to sit enough and we got some eights for them this weekend. I bought him in
Germany when he was a small gangly stallion and thankfully nobody else wanted him.”
Jade Whitelaw had her 19th birthday the day before she won the Childeric Elementary Silver with Dauphin III, the first time she’s qualified for the summer Nationals. “My trainer Jennifer Johnston helped me warm up and I was very pleased with the test, we had no major mistakes. He’s a really easy safe horse and very trainable. He’s not a super flashy mover but he’s very elegant and judges seem to like him.”
The pair was restricted Prelim and Novice champions at the 2015 Winters.
When Teresa Smith bought her 12-year-old Costa Rica II four years ago she thought of it “as an alternative to going to the gym.” However it wasn’t long before she got hooked on dressage and the pair are now the new Dodson & Horell Novice Silver regional champions.
“The more he does and the harder he works, the happier he is,” said Teresa who is another of Jennifer Johnston’s pupils and also has help from Pammy Hutton. “He’s not been the most straightforward horse. Balance is an issue as he has a massive stride and it’s taken him time to develop enough strength.” No doubt all the hard work will feel worthwhile when they trot down the centre line at Stoneleigh.
Charlotte Lutener and Ab Barroco will be attending their first summer National Championships together after winning the Top Spec Medium Silver title. Charlotte bought the nine-year-old Bellissimo gelding two years ago and has been competing him since last summer.
“In the last few months we’ve come together as a team,” explained Charlotte. “Bertie is completely different to my previous horse. He has so much power and is quick to learn.”
Charlotte finished her A levels last year and has spent time since training her horses with the help of Jess Dunn. Jess also went back to Burnley with a title – she won the Dodson & Horrell Novice Gold on Charlotte’s four-year-old mare, MSJ Furstin Florida. Florida has only ever been to three shows before her regional appearance and has won four out of the five classes she’s entered.
British Dressage thanks the team at The Cabin as well as the National class sponsors for their generous support. Congratulations to all competitors and good luck to those heading to the LeMieux National Championships at Stoneleigh Park.
Backinaction Preliminary Silver
Abigail Gray with Glynoch Red Rascal, 69.83%
Dodson & Horrell Novice Silver
Teresa Smith with Costa Rica II, 70.25%
Dodson & Horrell Novice Gold
Jessica Dunn with MSJ Furstin Florida, 72.9%
Childéric Saddles Elementary Silver
Jade Whitelaw with Dauphon III, 71.09%
Childéric Saddles Elementary Gold
Jo Barry with Hidalgo II, 71.35%
TopSpec Medium Silver
Charlotte Lutener with Ab Barroco, 70.09%
TopSpec Medium Gold
Jo Barry with Hidalgo II, 71.17 %
Equine Construction Advanced Medium Silver
Nicky Heale with Retanach Request, 68.42%
Equine Construction Advanced Medium Gold
Jo Barry with Goofy La Perle, 70.57%
Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Gold
Robyn Smith with Francesco 77, 70.88%
Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I Gold
Robyn Smith with Francesco, 72.06%