Winter Regional Championships: Onley Grounds

  • Written By: British Dressage | Joanna Bowns
  • Published: Thu, 15 Feb 2024 15:33 GMT

The 2024 Winter Regional Championships continued at Onley Grounds Equestrian Centre in Warwickshire, where a further 22 regional winners were crowned over five days of competition (31 January – 04 February 2024). It was a show to remember for young rider Gracie Catling, who clocked up an impressive five wins amongst seven top-three placings, while Dannie Morgan and Sadie Smith each achieved a winning double. 

Gracie Catling and Qwinton

“I wasn’t expecting to do that well, but the horses were all on good form - they were incredible - and all scored above 70% which was very pleasing,” commented Buckinghamshire rider Gracie Catling (20), who alongside a busy training and competition calendar is studying Sports Psychology at Loughborough University.

Gracie started her week by winning the Equitex Advanced Medium Silver, on a score of 71.36%, with Anke Hoeffler’s 16-year-old Oldenburg gelding Qwinton (by Quaterback), pictured above. “He can get really hot, and then his brain takes over, but he managed to keep his cool and stay calm and relaxed throughout the test. I was really pleased with him, as he’s always done well but never quite reached his full potential.”

The same day, the duo also claimed the Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Silver (73.83%) riding to music from Aladdin. “It [the music programme] was put together a bit last minute but it was bang on,” continued Gracie. “Qwinton is perky and energetic to watch and the music really suits and enhances him.”

Adding to her regional championship count, Gracie also won both the Equi-Trek Elementary Gold (71.51%) and the Baileys Novice Freestyle Gold (75.46%) aboard Fraithwens Wytske Fan Ter Lune, a nine-year-old Friesian mare owned and bred by Gaynor Morris of Fraithwen Friesians in Mid Wales.

“Wytske is more sporty in mind and body than Jeb (Tsjebe Fan ‘E Vesta Hoeve). She’s more warmblood-like in temperament and movement, but still very chilled out to handle. She looks impressive, has so much personality and she seems to know when it’s a competition because she's even better at a show.”

It was with her mum Julia Catling’s Friesian gelding, Tsjebe Fan ‘E Vesta Hoeve, that Gracie wrapped up her week with a fifth win – this time the Magic Prix St Georges Silver - with a cracking score of 70.15%.

“Mum got ‘Jeb’ 14 years ago, when looking for a horse with a calm personality yet with impressive looks. He’s 18 now and we know him inside out,” commented Gracie, who trains with mum Julia, a List 4 Judge, and Adam Kemp. “As a whole, he’s solid at the level. He can bang out one PSG after another, generally without mistakes. His changes are stronger now, the trot work is calm to watch but expressive, and he has a consistent, harmonious walk.”

Dannie Morgan and Vive La Reinne VH

Dannie Morgan, who has an already impressive championship record, was on great form to secure two winning tickets to the NAF Five Star Winter Championships in April, at its new home of Addington Equestrian. The Hampshire-based 32-year-old took both the Spillers Medium Freestyle Gold and the PDS Saddles Elementary Freestyle Gold.

His Medium Freestyle Gold winner, Kristina Rausing’s Swedish mare Vive la Reinne VH (Revolution x De Niro), pictured above, took the victory on 75.44%, while seven-year-old Monsieur Frederique (Franklin x Dreamcatcher) took the Elementary Freestyle Gold for owner-breeder Karen Vere-Hodge on a score of 74.74%, sealing the win ahead of runner-up Sarah Ingham with Mowgli S (74.62%).

Sadie Smith and Swanmore Dantina

Dual winner Sadie Smith captured the regional title in both the Prestige Novice Gold and the Superflex Intermediate I Gold. Her Novice Gold winner, River Rise Nikko (Landtanzer x Prestige VDL) is a six-year-old bred in Hampshire by Sarah Tyler-Evans.

With her current top ride, Swanmore Dantina (Dante Weltino x Charatan W), pictured above, Sadie produced a super test to take the Inter I Gold regional title with a score of 74.07%. The now nine-year-old was the highest-placed mare when fifth in the 7YO Final at the 2022 FEI WBFSH Dressage World Breeding Championships for Young Horses.

Sadie took to social media to say: “Great few days at Onley Winter Regional Championships. So proud of all the horses! Dia (Swanmore Dantina) as always was a star to win the Inter I regional title.

“Big Ron (River Rise Nikko) owned by Carl Hester, Ben Neal, Isobel Barber and Lady Anne Evans was amazing to win the Novice Gold at his first regional championship. Treacle (Times Nemesis) owned by Peter Belshaw finished fourth in the Novice Gold after some exuberant moments - fingers crossed for a wild card but so much more to come from this talented princess.

“I was also very proud to see Sophie Lee-Amies qualify for the Prelim Silver with five-year-old Ola (River Rise Ooo LaLa) after a short time together!”

Laura Wells and Parc Roscoe

The Prestige Novice Silver went down to the wire with Laura Wells (Parc Roscoe) and Brendan Gallagher (Corenzo) sharing the same score of 69.44%, though it was Laura and the nine-year-old Welsh section C gelding Parc Roscoe, pictured above, who edged ahead on collectives.

“We were so chuffed,” commented Staffordshire-based Laura (42). “It’s all very new to us as we only started competing BD last year. We did the Summer Area Festivals then thought we’d do the Winter Regionals just to see where we were at with the training. To win was beyond all my expectations.”

Parc Roscoe, who stands at just 13hh, was bought as a foal by owner Jacquie Holford for “very little money” as he was considered too small to show. “As a feisty four-year-old he came to me to be backed, and he’s been with me ever since,” continued Laura, who trains with Guy Reynolds. “Even though he is only 13hh, he has all the ability in the world.”

The duo’s recent journey hasn’t been an easy one, with Roscoe experiencing a rare sinus condition that put his future in the balance, as Laura explains. “Last year, he started to have a few strange behavioural problems then one day, while out hacking with my daughter, he had a nosebleed. He was found to have an extremely rare sinus condition – there were only two previously known cases, and they were found on autopsy – but he underwent pioneering surgery at Leahurst Equine Hospital in Liverpool and made a remarkable recovery. The story of him coming back has been incredible.

“We’ve recently done a few Elementaries and are finding that he’s just getting better and better,” continued Laura. “He's put together for the job, and the more he does, the better he gets.”

Congratulations to all the winning riders and owners, and to everyone who took part. Thanks go to the entire team at Onley Grounds Equestrian Centre for hosting a successful Winter Regional Championships.

Results – top three
Wednesday 31 January
Class 1: Equitex Advanced Medium Silver
1. Gracie Catling and Qwinton, 71.36%
2. Jade Clark and Insignia, 70.18%
3. Sophia Marston and E-mail, 69.30%

Class 2: Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Silver
1. Gracie Catling and Qwinton 73.83%
2. Sophia Marston and E-mail, 72.56%
3. Jessica Ralton and Active Delamotte, 70.44%

Class 3: Equitex Advanced Medium Gold
1. Becky Moody and Magic Dream, 73.82%
2. Daniel Greenwood and Kensington II, 71.67%
3. Kate Cowell and Joolz, 70.39%

Class 4: Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Gold
1. Katie Bailey and Escomond, 73.50%
2. Joanna Thurman-Baker and Sol Invictus X, 73.28%
3. Jayne Turney and Penhaligon Freigeist, 72.50%

Thursday 01 February
Class 5: HorseLight Medium Silver
1. Alison Berman and Mikaela, 70.45%
2. Elizabeth Richards and Dante’s Secret, 69.10%
3. Hannah Luesley and Franklin Rose EDH, 68.02%

Class 6: Spillers Medium Freestyle Silver
1. Lindsay Wilcox-Reid and Sanbonani, 71.33%
2. Bex Woolf and Hillgrounds Woleena, 69.61%
3. Tracey Nelson and Zafiro J, 68.94%

Class 7: HorseLight Medium Gold
1. Tom Goode and Iceland Girl PS, 74.59%
2. Angharad Harries and Mowgli-Olympia MC, 73.06%
3. Sarah Ingham and Mowgli S, 70.95%

Class 8: Spillers Medium Freestyle Gold
1. Dannie Morgan and Vive la Reinne VH, 75.44%
2. Bryony Goodwin and Dion II, 74.61%
3. Sophie Wells and OFS Dragons Fire, 74.06%

Friday 02 February
Class 9: Equi-Trek Elementary Silver
1. Hannah Luesley and Franklin Rose EDH, 71.46%
2. Hannah Luesley and Fleur EDH, 70.89%
3. Lucy Bridgwater and Monaco II, 70.31%

Class 10: PDS Saddles Elementary Freestyle Silver
1. Natalie Chatley and Dauntae, 70.51%
2. Catherine Rose and Abermenai Gilbern Invader, 70.00%
3. Gemma Dalton and Figaro of Westoak, 69.81%

Class 11: Equi-Trek Elementary Gold
1. Gracie Catling and Fraithwens Wytske Fan Ter Lune, 71.51%
2. William Roberts and Saint Tropez, 71.15%
3. Angela Westgarth and Re-Joyce, 71.09%

Class 12: PDS Saddles Elementary Freestyle Gold
1. Dannie Morgan and Monsieur Frederique, 74.74%
2. Sarah Ingham and Mowgli S, 74.62%
3. Gracie Catling and Fraithwens Wytske Fan Ter Lune, 74.04%

Saturday 03 February
Class 13: Prestige Novice Silver
1. Laura Wells and Parc Roscoe, 69.44%
2. Brendan Gallagher and Corenzo, 69.44%
3. Victoria Parnell-Watkins and Be Fantastic, 69.32%

Class 14: Baileys Novice Freestyle Silver
1. Gemma Dalton and Figaro of Westoak, 75.83%
2. Alana Smith and Maanika Geuzenhof, 72.78%
3. Nancy Plant and Moviestar II, 70.46%

Class 15: Prestige Novice Gold
1. Sadie Smith and River Rise Nikko, 72.90%
2. Myles Graham and Macalena N, 72.41%
3. Gracie Catling and Fraithwens Wytske Fan Ter Lune, 71.11%

Class 16: Baileys Novice Freestyle Gold
1. Gracie Catling and Fraithwens Wytske Fan Ter Lune, 75.46%
2. Alexzandra Houldcroft and Bardot Herself, 71.67%
3. Jessica Ralton and Daboushka, 71.02%

Sunday 04 February
Class 17: HorseHage Preliminary Silver
1. Guy Goodings and Quintessa, 70.00%
2. Sophie Lee-Amies and River Rise Ooo La La, 69.89%
3. Juan Marin and Sheepcote Adios, 69.83%

Class 18: HorseHage Preliminary Gold
1. Ashley Jenkins and Momentum ED, 73.45%
2. Faye Heppelthwaite and Nestor C, 71.78%
3. Bryony Goodwin and Balessina, 71.78%

Class 19: Magic Prix St Georges Silver
1. Gracie Catling and Tsjebe Fan ‘E Vesta Hoeve, 70.15%
2. Isobel Lickley and Katniss, 69.31%
3. Samantha Collins and Geneve, 68.24%

Class 20: Magic Prix St Georges Gold
1. Kate Cowell and Joolz, 71.76%
2. Daniel Sherriff and Fred Astaire WD, 71.08%
3. Jessica Wade and Godin, 68.68%

Class 21: Superflex Intermediate I Silver
1. Louise Gallavan and Sandros Fire, 67.16%
2. Jonathan Dunkley and Treldegards Sander, 65.59%
3. Samantha Collins and Geneve, 65.25%

Class 22: Superflex Intermediate I Gold
1. Sadie Smith and Swanmore Dantina, 74.07%
2. Judy Harvey and SP Bento, 69.85%
3. Sara-Jane Lanning and Hawtins Lirica, 69.31%


Photo © KB Photography