Winter Regional Championships: Myerscough College
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Hard-working Kirstie Clarke is off to the NAF Five Star Winter Championships with five qualifications from Myerscough (11-15 February 2023), while Becky Moody takes both Small Tour classes in impressive style.
Kirstie gained her first two qualifications with a 1-2 in the HorseHage Preliminary Gold regional championship with Nureno and Sunshine Valley. Nureno (pictured above) is a rising five-year-old stallion by Blue Hors Farrell and owned by Rebecca Dudley, who imported him from Holland. “He went so well I couldn’t ask for more,” said Kirstie, who had an impressive score of 75.23%, the highest score of the competition. “He’s so trainable and rideable, it makes my job easy.”
Sue Sutton’s nine-year-old Sport Horse Centre Sissily gave Kirstie two more tickets with a win in the HorseLight Medium Silver and second in the Spillers Medium Freestyle Silver. Kirstie believes the Sir Donnerhall mare is an exciting prospect for the higher levels. “We’ve only been a partnership for six months so we are still learning,” she commented. “She’s developing her way of going and her movement is getting bigger and bigger.”
Kirstie is equally enthusiastic about her Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Silver winner, Ghita Fille De Zita who scored 72.57% to win. “She’s so talented and so much fun to ride. I’ve had a lot of help from Becky Moody who is teaching me when I can put on the pressure. We got a bit ahead of our music but she’s so rideable she let me get back on track. I used James Bond music which is really fun and suits her,” said Kirstie who is based on the Wirral at Broomhill Stud.
Becky Moody’s two nine-year-olds, Jack Diamond and James Bond II, took home a title apiece. Superflex Inter I Gold winner Jack Diamond (Electron x Diamond Hit) is owned by Jo Cooper and Pat and David Webster and was bought as a three-year-old. “He’s a favourite on the yard,” said Becky. “He’s a phenomenal mover and still developing his strength. I didn’t feel it was his best test as he wasn’t easy enough in the engagement. When I get him in the right place, he can be a 77-78% horse.”
James Bond II (Desperado x Fidertanz) is owned by the same partnership and won the Magic Prix St Georges (PSG) Gold regional title and was second in the Superflex Inter I Gold. He has relatively low mileage as Becky has focussed on his training. “I’ve been working hard on his energy, and I felt I really got it right in the PSG – he got a couple of 9s for his first medium trot.
“I’ll be working on the canter pirouettes for both of them before the Winter Championships and strengthening their ability to sit in the canter.”
HorseHage Prelim Silver winner, Manon Roberts, is an apprentice to dressage riders Greg Sims and Stena Hoerner. For the last six months she has had the ride on Stena’s 12-year-old mare Gilinda (Sorento x Don Primaire). “We didn’t have the best run-up to the regionals,” explained Manon who also came third in the Prestige Italia Novice Silver. “She had a foot abscess around Christmas and only had two weeks’ schooling before the show. We went mainly for the experience so I was thrilled and very grateful to Stena. She is a sweet horse though she has her moments! She’s taught me so much. I didn’t do the arena walk as she’s not normally spooky but she started spooking when we went round the outside! However, as soon as she was between the boards she settled down.”
Manon’s boss, Greg Sims took the Prestige Italia Novice Gold title with five-year-old Walnuts Zebedee (Blue Hors Zackery x Briar), owned and bred by Kate Shone. “He’s very big, over 18hh, so I’ve been careful not to over-face him,” explained Greg. “He did a really nice test. He’s getting to the level of training where he can show off a bit.”
Rebecca Dun has just completed a stint as yard rider for Sarah Higgins and event rider Alex Hua Tan, recently moving back home to Scotland to start her own equestrian business. However, after her win in the Prestige Italia Novice Silver on Manjushri, she will be fitting in a visit back down south for the Winter Championships.
“He’s one of Alex’s young event horses and he’s always been one of my favourites. I thought he might be worried by all the banners and the atmosphere, but he loved it. He was really with me in the test. I’m so grateful to Alex and Sarah who’ve been incredibly supportive,” said Rebecca.
Perseverance pays off
Helen Dutton scored a creditable 74.07% to win the Baileys Horse Feeds Novice Freestyle Gold on her homebred Lord Leatherdale eight-year-old Lord Rafiki (pictured below). “He’s been a really tricky little horse,” commented Helen who runs a livery yard and freelance teaching business on the Wirral.
“I offered him to three different people as I lost my bottle and they all said no! He has an irrational fear of other horses in the warm-up and I’d written off the idea of competing. I sent him to a friend, Jack Davis, who is a brave and sympathetic rider, and he brought him on side,” said Helen who trains with Matt Frost. “We’re slowly making our way up the levels – he was seventh at Prelim Gold at last year’s Nationals – and he’s probably going to be the best horse I’ve ever had. He fills me with inspiration and has sparked ambition in me.”
Helen was also third in the Spillers Medium Freestyle Gold with Rafiki’s half-brother, Farufio. “Same mother but very different!”
Zoe Taylor bought her Baileys Horse Feeds Novice Freestyle Silver winner, Cosmopolitan CDS, from a Facebook video and has backed and produced the six-year-old herself. “I bought him to have some fun with,” explained Zoe who started competing him in September 2022. “He long reins, goes to the pub, does beach rides and does a bit of everything. His bloodlines go back to Jazz so he can be a bit quirky but I’ve worked out how to work with that.”
Carmen Gammie was third in the Baileys Horse Feeds Novice Freestyle Gold with Let’s Make An Opera M (Guardian S x Charmeur) before claiming the Elementary Gold and Elementary Freestyle Gold titles.
Carmen bought him from the White Hill Stud who imported ‘Opera’ from Holland. “Everyone says he’s the nicest person, always got a smile on his face,” commented Carmen who works full-time in corporate finance in her hometown of Aberdeen. “Opera’s been based at the Stud over the winter as it’s too difficult for me to ride at home with the short daylight hours and no indoor school. I go down to ride every second weekend. Jess (Dunn) rides him for me in between.”
“He was really good in his tests. It felt like it all clicked into place. He’s progressing nicely – he’s done a couple of Medium tests and is learning his flying changes.”
Hilary Janion and Sir Wilhelm (pictured below) scooped up both Elementary Silver titles with plus-71% scores. Hilary has been back riding the 13-year-old Sandro Hit gelding for 12 months after two-and-a-half years off after a bad riding accident. Hilary trains with her husband Raymond who is always by her side at shows.
“I’m thrilled to bits with him,” said Hilary. “He can be spooky but he behaved beautifully at Myerscough. He’s started competing at Medium now and has his flying changes at home.”
Rose Foley and Cordici K were third in the PDS Saddles Elementary Freestyle Gold and took the Spillers Medium Freestyle Silver regional title. ‘Gucci’ is a 16-year-old German riding pony and Rose was offered the ride on him when she was 15, which a year later was converted into a lifetime loan. “He’s very cheeky with a big personality. He was with me all the way in the Medium,” explained Rose, who is trained by Isla Foley and Harry Payne.
Rose’s music programme was put together by Equivisions and her floorplan starts with two counter canter 10 metre circles from the centre line. Rose works in the family riding school in Dumfries and Galloway.
The Spillers Medium Freestyle Gold title went to Sarah Kingwells and Helen Bradley’s Wadacre Fantasia (Fürstenball x Rohdiamant) who also picked up a ticket in the HorseLight Medium Gold. “She’s a super, super mare,” enthused Sarah. “We’re working towards Advanced Medium and getting her stronger in her balance. She’s a very willing mare. I think she’d like to stand still and be a model – she’s very pretty.”
This will be the eight-year-old’s first time at the NAF Five Star Winter Championships. “She’s not done many tests and her floorplan was complicated. The music programme was one I’d had for a previous PSG horse with a slightly altered tempo. She was accurate and totally with the music. Her owner Helen Bradley helps me and I couldn’t do it without her. It’s a big team effort! I also have training help from Isobel Wessels and Becky Moody.”
Rebecca McNair was second in the Spillers Medium Freestyle Gold with Lolalinja US but took home the HorseLight Medium Gold sash with her performance with Hinels Field LDS. Rebecca bought the Don Romantik mare for breeding but liked her so decided to bring her on for competition. “I was supposed to sell her but didn’t because I love riding her,” said Rebecca who trains with Gareth Hughes and Becky Moody. “She was very scared, hot and sharp but she’s growing in confidence. Last year she had a complete meltdown at the Nationals but over the last six months she’s just clicked. I would never have thought she’d keep it together [in a test] long enough to win!”
Jessica Dunn took first and second place in the Equitex Advanced Medium Gold with Dan It’s Carston (Danny) and Hakita.
White Hill Stud bought Danny (Durable x Clearway) in July 2022 so he and Jess are still a new partnership. “He’s proved to be very cool so far,” explained Jess. “He was a little bit nervous in the indoor arena as he hasn’t been here before but I was thrilled with lots of his work – particularly his flying changes and extended paces which we’ve been working on. We just need to work on his confidence in the arena.”
In the PDS Saddles Elementary Freestyle Gold, Lord Lenny was just pipped into second place by Carmen Gammie and ‘Opera’. This was ironic as Opera is stabled at the White Hill Stud and was sold to Carmen by them!
Annabel Abell and Sheepcote Let’s Go (by Lord Loxley) picked up two tickets to the Winter Championships, courtesy of a win in Equitex Advanced Medium Silver and second place in the Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Silver. The pair (pictured below) were fifth at the Nationals in September in the Advanced Medium Silver championship and awarded the prize for highest placed amateur.
Annabel fits her riding in around a full-time job as a director of a large financial services company, so lots of riding in the early mornings and late at night. “Sam was bred by Serena and David Pincus and I train with Serena who came with me to Myerscough,” said Annabel. “He’s a big character who loves his routine. He’s a total professor under saddle. I’d never ridden above Elementary when I got him so I’m so grateful he’s given me the opportunity to learn. We’ve started dipping our toes in PSG which is entirely new to me. Sam is one in a million.”
After taking fourth place in the Spillers Medium Freestyle Gold, Mark Walters and Irish Draught Wayfield Warrior had a clear run at the Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Gold as a result of a number of withdrawals. Mark commented on social media: “He is such a trier. He was a riding school horse and knew all the bad habits and who two years ago could barely go on the bit and never competed at British Dressage. I’m so pleased with his journey and the aim is to get him to PSG by the end of the year.”
Jo Weekes and Rosetti’s Destiny took home the Magic PSG Silver title. The rising-10-year-old gelding is by Desperados and was British bred by Mount St John Stud. Jo works full-time as an NHS cancer consultant so riding has to fit around her shifts. “I only ride at weekends and he’s hacked by an eventer during the week. I’m lucky that that combination works so well,” said Jo. “We’re true amateurs. My trainer Debbie Jones calls him ‘The Professor’. He’s very eager to please. He’s learned his one-tempi changes so I have to sit very still in the sequence changes!” The pair has qualified for the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships at Inter I Bronze.
Gemma Pinson and her 16-year-old Santana gelding were one of two combinations in the Superflex Inter I Silver. The pair was 10th at the National Championships in the Inter I Silver class last year. In February they scored a personal best of over 71% at Reaseheath College.
Results - top three
HorseHage Preliminary Silver
1. Manon Roberts and Gilinda, 70.11%
2. Ellie Hall and The Storyteller, 67.59%
=3. Katherine Horsewood and Drummore Windy Knight, 66.84%
=3. Mia Offley and Timmy III, 66.84%
HorseHage Preliminary Gold
1. Kirstie Clarke and Nureno, 75.23%
2. Kirstie Clarke and Sunshine Valley, 73.22%
3. Francesca Bradley and Lonik, 73.1%
Prestige Italia Novice Silver
1. Rebecca Dun and Manjushri, 70.37%
2. Freya Metters and Hoghton Maverick, 69.75%
3. Manon Roberts and Gilinda, 69.01%
Prestige Italia Novice Gold
1. Greg Sims and Walnuts Zebedee, 73.83%
2. Kirstie Clarke and Nureno, 72.53%
3. Lindy Payne and Woodcroft Bentley, 71.67%
Baileys Horse Feeds Novice Freestyle Silver
1. Zoe Taylor and Cosmopolitan CDS, 72.31%
2. Tracy Bray and Jarandasj, 70.46%
3. Zoe Haigh and Blue Hors Moreno, 68.98%
Baileys Horse Feeds Novice Freestyle Gold
1. Helen Dutton and Lord Rafiki, 74.07%
2. Carmen Gammie and Let’s Make An Opera M, 73.52%
3. Lauren Williamson and Highwell Indigo, 73.43%
Equi-Trek Elementary Silver
1. Hilary Janion and Sir Wilhelm, 71.51%
2. George Chalmers-Gray and Jekaterina, 70.75%
3. Lily Crisp and Le Chiffre, 67.52%
Equi-Trek Elementary Gold
1. Carmen Gammie and Let’s Make An Opera M, 71.2%
2. Jessica Dunn and Lord Lenny, 70.52%
3. Katie Owens and Furstenline CJS, 70.47%
PDS Saddles Elementary Freestyle Silver
1. Hilary Janion and Sir Wilhelm, 71.22%
2. Katie James and Bouvardia 67.04%
3. Lizzie Hughes and Breight Said Fred, 68.81%
PDS Saddles Elementary Freestyle Gold
1. Carmen Gammie and Let’s Make An Opera M, 73.91%
2. Lauren Williamson and Highwell Indigo, 70.32%
3. Rose Foley and Cordici K, 69.55%
HorseLight Medium Silver
1. Kirstie Clarke and Sport Horse Centre Sissily, 69.91%
2. Claire Dutton and High Valley, 66.89%
3. Sophie Wilson and Midnight, 66.76%
HorseLight Medium Gold
1. Rebecca McNair and Hinels Field LDS, 68.92%
2. Sarah Kingwells and Wadacre Fantasia, 67.79%
3. Jennifer Harkness and Inouk, 66.67%
Spillers Medium Freestyle Silver
1. Rose Foley and Cordici K, 69.78%
2. Kirstie Clarke and Sport Horse Centre Sissily, 69.11%
3. Beth McGuinness and Gwallwy Elfed Sion, 69.06%
Spillers Medium Freestyle Gold
1. Sarah Kingwells and Wadacre Fantasia, 70.72%
2. Rebecca McNair and Lolalinja US, 69.83%
3. Helen Dutton and Farufio, 69.14%
Equitex Advanced Medium Silver
1. Annabel Abell and Sheepcote Let’s Go, 69.69%
2. Leonie Brown and Wishaw Lord Nelson, 67.89%
3. Isabelle Maughan and Coco Chanel II, 65.58%
Equitex Advanced Medium Gold
1. Jessica Dunn and Dan It’s Carston, 70.79%
2. Jessica Dunn and Hakita, 68.99%
3. Chloe Vell and Royal Rendezvous, 67.76%
Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Silver
1. Kirstie Clarke and Ghita Fille De Zita S, 72.57%
2. Annabel Abell and Sheepcote Let’s Go, 71.89%
3. Leonie Brown and Wishaw Lord Nelson, 71.39%
Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Gold
1. Mark Walters and Wayfield Warrior, 65.17%
Magic Prix St Georges Silver
1. Jo Weekes and Rosetti’s Destiny, 64.31%
2. Amanda Dyson, Azzaro II, 61.52%
Magic Prix St Georges Gold
1. Becky Moody and James Bond II, 72.16%
2. Sarah Higgins and Geniaal, 70.59%
3. Sarah Higgins and Samuel IV, 70.54%
Superflex Inter I Silver
1. Gemma Pinson and Spitfire, 63.21%
2. Claire Wyatt and Devivia, 60.34%
Superflex Intermediate I Gold
1. Becky Moody and Jack Diamond, 72.11%
2. Becky Moody and James Bond II, 71.86%
3. Sara Rao and Geniaal, 69.86%
Photo © Kevin Sparrow