Young talent out in force at BD Youth Home International
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Young talent was out in force at the BD Youth Home International, hosted over two action-packed days at The David Broome Event Centre, Mount Ballan in Monmouthshire, (9 – 11 August).
With 29 teams represented from across the UK, including South & West, South & East, North & East, North & West, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, it was a hotly contested championship with outstanding team spirit and support to the fore.
Open to Bronze, Silver and Gold combinations, teams fielded four riders at different levels from Novice to Medium, with only two riders in same team allowed to ride at the same level with a drop score on each day, while the Individual Championships was awarded at Novice, Elementary, Medium, FEI Pony, FEI Children on Horses, FEI Junior and FEI Young Rider.
The triumphant North & West Giorgione team snatched victory by a narrow margin from North& East’s Maraitowa squad, collecting the magnificent Cool Technic Perpetual Trophy.
Having contributed to the North & West team’s win, 14-year-old Jessica Finney and Maddy Gardner’s stunning seven-year-old 15.1hh grey mare FHS Whatalittlemiss proved an outstanding combination, also claiming the Novice individual title. They clocked up the highest combined score of the championships, scoring 73.39% out of 49 starters on the first day before winning again on the second day with 72.56%.
FHS Whatalittlemiss, (by Parco) known affectionately as “Indi”, was home-bred at Maddy Gardner’s Fisher Hill Stud originally with eventing in mind, but with her dam Whatapallaver competing at inter I, she showed a flair for dressage early on and successfully competed in young horse classes.
Jess, who has ridden since she was five years old and was placed at the regionals when she was just eight years old, was offered the ride by Indi’s owner in December 2020 and spent five months of lockdown getting to know each other, schooling and building a close bond.
“This was Indi’s first stay-away at a competition and after living out all of her life, I didn’t know how she was going to cope with being stabled at a busy event,” said Jess, who trains with Becky Moody. “I’m really proud of Indi - for such a young horse she coped like a pro, rose to the occasion and was impeccably behaved throughout. At first, I was worried about her spooking at the sandbags holding down the arena boards, but she didn’t look at anything. She was very brave, pricked her ears and felt absolutely amazing. “I couldn’t believe getting the highest combined score of the whole show and there were lots of happy tears afterwards.”
Jess, who was joint NW BD Youth Pony Rider of the Year 2020 and is hoping to be selected for this year’s National Academy, has also qualified Indi for the regionals, and Petplan Equine Area Festival finals. “Indi is very special; she loves to work and the busier she is the better, so we also enjoy hacking and farm rides. We’re now looking forwards to training up the levels together and dancing to our music produced by Tom Hunt. “I must also say a big thank you to all of my North and West team-mates - I couldn’t have done this without all of your support; we did this as a team!”
Alexandra Phillips, BD Development Officer - North & West, says the team spirit over the entire competition was overwhelming. “I made it very clear from the outset that although we had six teams each consisting of four riders and also three individual riders, we were all very much one team. Everyone was so helpful and kind to one another and I truly believe that this is the reason why we had so many great achievements.
“For example, when asked, which team won?, it was lovely to hear one of our riders reply, ‘North & West, not the individual team, but the whole team of NW riders’ , which speaks volumes about our team spirit.
“We had a team of riders who were all good across the board. I did think they were in with a good chance, but we were so pleased with the Giorgione team that won as they were the younger, less experienced riders.
“Anna Tomlinson was third in the Medium, Lily Hughes-Bell third in the Elementary and overall in the Elementary we had seven riders in the top 12, which was quite an achievement.
“Dressage is a sport that requires a huge amount of dedication, patience and most of all hard work. There’s no other sport where you have to consider an animal’s fitness and as well as your own, and it’s the relationship that riders have with their horse that shines through, you can’t win without that connection.
“The Youth Home International is the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication for our BD Youth riders, Youth Reps and parents, being the biggest competition some of them will have done and will ever do.”
The North & East’s Maraitowa team was runner-up, with 21-year-old Olivia Walker and Hilary Janion’s six-year-old bay gelding Active Zeitgeist scoring consistently over the two days with +71% in both Novices.
By international dressage stallion Blue Hors Zack, he was bought as a four-year old from his breeder and Olivia, who is based in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, has been riding “Zack” for the past 18 months, winning both the Prelim Winter Regional at Bishop Burton and the Novice Area Festival at Northallerton. “I enjoy being part of the team at the Home Internationals as everyone makes an effort to go and watch other rider, not just from your team, but from your region and show support.”
Tara Hayes and Ferrero K took the Elementary title for Ireland, while Amy Richards and Eros HZ, a 12-year old bright bay gelding by Vittorio, were clear winners of the medium individual championships on plus 69% scores on both days. “I bought ‘Ross’ from Amy Woodhead two years ago and although he can be quite mischievous, he loves attention, wants to learn and to please me all the time,” said Amy, who was making her Home International debut.
“Over the past few months Ross has been on a roll and we’ve really secured our partnership. However, although we’ve had a few successful outings recently, I didn’t expect to win overall on such a good score as the standard was so high.
“The day after I got home from Home International, I went out for a meal with my family to celebrate passing my GCSEs, as well as my win at the Home International.
“l’m lucky to have the support of both BD Youth Rep Clare Deithrick and Georgia Stokes and l try to have lessons as much as possible, working around school and waitressing in the local pub.
“In the future I would like to train Ross up the levels and see far we can get together and would love to be able to do Juniors and compete at a few Premier Leagues and High Profile shows.
“What an amazing fun team event the Home International is; everyone is so supportive, encouraging and helps you in every way they can.”
“Over the past eight years of doing BD Youth, I have met some amazing people and friends and made some amazing memories, I couldn’t thank everyone enough.”
In the other individual championships Molly Esberger Shepherd, the 14-year-old daughter of Hannah Esberger Hancock, claimed the Children on Horses title with her mother’s 10-year-old Dutch bred gelding Magic Heidehof Dylano.
The Pony FEI title went to Ellen McDonald Dante Alighieri (Ireland), with 17-year old India Durman-Mills and 12-year-old Escade (by Jazz), owned by Verity Saul, representing the North & East, taking the Junior championships, while Isobel Goodwin and her own 12-year-old Gameboys Welcome claimed the Young Rider title for the South & West.
All riders, supporters and organisers agreed that with an abundance of team spirit, lots of laughs and lasting friendships and memories made, the 2021 Youth Home International was an event to remember.
1, North & West Giorgione 414.35
Claudia Mascarenhas (Josse)
Jessica Finney (FHS Whatalittlemiss)
Fleur Pocock (Jacodi's Bo's Barclay)
Jasmine Tufton (Calipso Cool)
2, North & East Maraitowa 413.95
Olivia Walker (Active Zeitgeis)
Sophia Longworth (Gwithian Perciva)
Lauren Geraghty (WS Jackson)
Lily Crisp (Ultimate Fantasy)
3, Ireland Emeralds 413.36
Laragh Louise Byrne (Steendieks Dali Gold)
Ellen McDonald (Dante Alighieri)
Tara Hayes (Ferrero K)
1, Jessica Finney, FHS Whatalittlemiss (North & West) 73.39/ 72.56 = 145.95
2, Olivia Walker, Active Zeitgeist (North & East) 71.72/ 71.79 = 143.52
3, Isabelle Lane, Drumaclan Diamond D (South & East) 71.02/ 71.67= 142.69
1, Tara Hayes, Ferrero K (Ireland) 71.83/ 70.52 = 142.35
2, Freya Messling, Mario Del Rey (South & East) 73.12/ 66.30 =139.42
3, Lily Hughes Bell, Yarty Welsh Jack (North & West) 68.49/ 70.31 = 138.81
1, Amy Richards, Eros HZ (South & West) 69.05/ 69.51 = 138.56
2, Lauren Geraghty, WS Jackson (North & East) 68.38/ 68.33 = 136.71
3, Anna Tomlinson, Moreorless (North & West) 66.94/ 69.31 = 136.25
Children on Horses
1, Molly Esberger-Shepherd, Magic Heidehof Dylano (North & East) 73.35/68.40 =141.75
2, Fi Grabham, Zothen's Dance Lady (South & East) 70.05/ 71.35 =141.40
3, Hannah De Wit, Spot Awole (South & West) 73.10/65.56 = 38.66
1, Ellen McDonald, Dante Alighieri (Ireland) 67.91 70.81 = 138.72
2, Lauren Geraghty, WS Jackson (North & East) 67.99 70.00 = 137.99
3, Jessica Grogan, Klein Roderijs Gold (Ireland) 66.07 64.72 =130.79
1, India Durman-Mills, Escade (North & East) 71.53/71.40 =142.93 1
2, Oliver Gould, Feiner Stern II (South & East) 69.50/ 70.13 =139.63
3, Meghan Anderson, Urban V (North & East) 67.43/66.54 =133.97
1, Isobel Goodwin, Gameboys Welcome (South & West) 67.28/ 67.89 =135.17
2, Sive Kearney, Rob Roy (Ireland) 64.08/ 63.55 =127.63