Summer Regionals: Bicton Arena
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Bicton was beset by heavy rain and gale force winds but this didn’t put off competitors determined to secure their golden tickets for the LeMieux National Championships at the final Regional of the season.
The organisers put on a great show, despite the weather, with a lovely extra touch of a gorgeous bouquet of flowers for the winners, just like the big continental shows, courtesy of Halley Floral Design.
International Grand Prix rider and former British team member at Junior, Young Rider andU25 levels, Becky Edwards, was on top form. She aced the Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I with her homebred mare, Fantasia I (Roxy) winning with a personal best score of 71.54% (pictured).
Roxy was bred by Becky’s mum Leigh and is by Florencio out of Leigh’s Advanced mare, Baroness III (by Barloewe). The 10-year-old mare has been lightly competed and started her Small Tour campaign in November last year. “I’ve been doing a bit more competing to give her more experience and confidence in the arena and felt like it all came together in the test,” said Rebecca, who lives near Henley. “The Inter I seems to suit her better than the Prix St Georges (PSG). She got nines for her halt and rein back, extended and collected walks and eights for her trot work and lateral movements.”
Second in the Inter I and hoping for a wild card was Emily Harris and Fay Thomas’s Freya FST. They had better luck in the Fairfax PSG where they won the title on 70.75%. Emily has been riding the Fidertanz x Weltmeyer nine-year-old mare since she was three. The pair has had an exciting year, with placings internationally at Deauville and Le Mans. “This is her first year of campaigning at Small Tour and she suddenly feels she’s got her confidence,” commented Emily. “She’s a horse who likes to know what she’s doing. I know there’s more power in her but I’m letting her enjoy herself this year.”
Off-spring of Hawtins Stud foundation mare, World Finest, took two titles with Sam Rahmatallah winning the Equine Construction Advanced Medium Gold on her own Hawtins Falerno (by Fuerst Romancier) and Lucinda Elliot on Judith Davis’s Hawtins Bellegra (by Belissimo) took the TopSpec Medium Gold title.
Sam has owned Hawtins Falerno (Doodle) since she persuaded Judith to sell him as a two-year-old. “I had set my heart on a Fuerst Romancier horse and went to see one of her four-year-olds but saw Doodle and loved him. It’s a great honour to have him and I try and do him justice,” said Sam who was also reserve champion in the Fairfax PSG with him. “This Advanced Medium isn’t my favourite test but we got eights for our serpentine. He felt up for it and had lots of power. I train every week with Mike Eilberg and we’re pushing onto Grand Prix work which makes him stronger. We’re hoping to do our first international at Keysoe later this year.”
Hawtins Bellegra (Foxy) is a lovely substantial chestnut mare that Lucinda has been riding for about 18 months. “She’s a great mare – bold, but sensible and not spooky,” commented Lucinda rides for Hawtins and trains with Serena Pincus. “She tried her hardest and it was a clean test. Her canter work is her highlight and she has amazing reach in her half passes. I’m working on getting more expression and power and being more accurate in the test.”
Jenny Martell travelled all the way from Amy Woodhead’s yard in Lincolnshire. She was rewarded with the Equine Construction advanced medium silver title with Jade Ivy–Guyton’s 11-year-old For Compliment gelding, Fiderstan. “This was only his fifth Advanced Medium test so he was put in at the deep end,” explained Jenny. “He wasn’t foot perfect but he coped really well. He’s really green so I wasn’t expecting to win at all.”
Jenny and Fiderstan are the current Theraplate UK Medium Silver winter champions and it will be Jenny’s first appearance at the LeMieux Nationals.
Cath Creemer’s accident prone ride, Floris (Wynton x 007), has been hard to keep on the road so she was absolutely thrilled with his victory in the TopSpec Medium Silver and winning her first regional sash. Floris is owned by Sandra Biddlecombe who imported him from Holland. “He didn’t make any mistakes – though I made a couple!” said Cath, who trains with David Pincus. “It will be the first time at the Nationals for him.”
Sadie Smith is no stranger to regional titles and added another sash to her collection in the Childeric Elementary gold with Imhotep, Carl Hester and Coral Ingham’s six-year-old Everdale x Vivaldi gelding. ‘Pete’ and Sadie were third at the Winters at Spillers Novice Freestyle Gold this year and this boy has a good chance of success at the Nationals if he can keep a lid on his exuberance. “In the Novice on the first day he was so naughty – he bucked in the canter,” said Sadie. “This is a horse that never runs out of energy, even though he lives out in the field. On the Saturday we got up early and did the arena walk and then I rode him and put him away. The only way he copes is if he’s a little bit tired. He was much more settled and relaxed in the Elementary test – I think Novice is too boring for him. He needs more to think about!”
“He’s an amazing horse for the future. I absolutely love him because he’s so powerful to ride.”
It’s probably safe to conjecture that Simon Lawrance will be the only Hunt Master dancing between the white boards at Stoneleigh. Simon, who evented to 5* level and continues to coach in the displine, is Joint Master and Field Master of the Heythrop Hunt but is now adding dressage to his list of talents.
His mount Sir Wilfred was bought with a dressage career in mind and has made a great start, heading for the pair’s first LeMieux National Championships at Elementary Silver, sponsored by Childeric.
Simon bought the Samba Hit III x Weltmeyer seven-year-old a year ago from his breeder, Dan Henson, and owns him with Mel Buckler. He started competing him in March and they have now won eight out of their ten classes. Wilfred was also second in the TopSpec Medium with a plus-70% score, so fingers crossed for a wild card.
“He was a bit starstruck at the atmosphere, particularly in the medium,” said Simon, who scored over 72% in the Elementary class. “He’s very nice and trainable and I’m lucky to have him. I’d love to have more dressage horses to ride.”
Lucy Amy and Jaliva (Mary) gave a super performance in the Dodson & Horell Novice Gold, which the judges obviously liked as the pair had the highest score of the show – 74.14%. They were almost four per cent ahead of the field.
Lucy bought Mary from Holland from a video as a two-year-old. Now five, she was only backed at Christmas and Lucy believes she is the best five-year-old she’s ever ridden. “She’s got loads of energy and, although she’s still a bit green, she has a good tempo and is nice in her frame,” commented Lucy. “I had a lesson the day before the show with Roland Tong which really helped.”
Dodson & Horrell Novice Silver winners, Ellie Maguire and Frouke (by Junior STV) didn’t have the best preparation for Bicton as a recent move left them without an arena to practice in. “She’s now quite established at Novice so luckily she remembered everything. I had quite low expectations so was very excited to win,” recalled Ellie. “She’s a late starter, only being backed as a five-year-old, and she’s also had time off with ulcers. She’s very trainable and consistent.” After her test, Ellie discovered she had competed with only three shoes. Frouke spooked as she trotted around the outside of the arena and pulled off a shoe.
Jessica Colvin and her 11-year-old skewbald mare, Dreamer V, will be making their first appearance at the Lemieux National Championships this year in the BackinAction Prelim Silver championship.
After competing in the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships last year, Dreamer was diagnosed with kissing spine which required injections and a substantial rehabilitation programme. “I got back on in November and have spent the months getting her stronger and fitter,” said Jessica who works part-time as an estate agent. “This was the biggest competition we’ve been to since Hartpury and I wasn’t sure how she would deal with the wind and the rain. Once she got onto the centre line she was fine, she knew her job.”
Jessica has owned the pretty cob mare for four years and it is a great achievement to have got her past her problems so effectively.
British Dressage thanks the team at Bicton Arena as well as the National class sponsors for their generous support. Bicton was the last summer regional so congratulations and good luck to all competitors heading to the LeMieux National Championships at Stoneleigh Park.
Backinaction Preliminary Silver
Jessica Colvin and Dreamer V 71.03
Dodson & Horrell Novice Silver
Ellie Maguire and Frouke 71.91
Dodson & Horrell Novice Gold
Lucy Amy with Jaliva 74.14
Childéric Saddles Elementary Silver
Simon Lawrence and Sir Wilfred 72.4
Childéric Saddles Elementary Gold
Sadie Smith with Imhotep 72.03
TopSpec Medium Silver
Cath Creemer with Floris 71.3
TopSpec Medium Gold
Lucinda Elliot with Hawtins Bellegra 71.17
Equine Construction Advanced Medium Silver
Jennifer Martell with Fiderstan 67.89
Equine Construction Advanced Medium Gold
Sam Rahmatallah with Hawtins Falerno 71.1
Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Gold
Emily Harris with Freya FST 70.75
Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I Gold
Becky Edwards with Fantasia I 71.54.