June 2, 2017

East Region Show - Qualifier dressage

Whilst the Countryside Challenge event was being fought over in the paddocks, the indoor arena saw all the qualifying dressage action. Huge credit and thanks must go to Kim Darlow (Judge) and Val Parker (writing) who endured the somewhat stuffy atmosphere all day. All the riders looked rather hot as they finished their tests!

First to ride in the dressage was Chris Bradley on his own horse, Quintus. Chris is an experienced and confident rider who has achieved multiple placings at the National Championships over the years, as well as in Special Olympics events. He qualified for Hartpury with a score of 66% in the I/D canter class, where he will be joined by Lucy Warne. Lucy qualified automatically with an emphatic victory in her class at last year’s Championships. Her score of 78.52% was the highest in all the National Championship dressage classes across the three days of competition!

Lucy Warne and Brandy, Hartpury 2016

With Aynsley and Anne representing the East region in the I/D trot class, two more qualifying spots were up for grabs in the walk only class for newcomers. This saw three Cambs College riders attempting their first ever unled tests. The highest score was achieved by Claire Cooper on Rolo, who also successfully sat her first ever canter just before the test began! Unfortunately after Rolo’s caper around the arena it was decided that Claire would compete on the lead rein, so her performance could not qualify for Hartpury. However, Jodie Williamson - who just missed out on a qualifying spot in the Countryside Challenge - did qualify in dressage after coming in second and scoring 60%.

This is the first year with graded dressage riders competing in the new categories (Grade Ib has become Grade II, Grade II has become Grade III, and so on) and there were brilliant performances all round. The two Grade I riders - Claire Humphrey from Barrow Farm and Michelle Alflatt from the Magpie Centre - both qualified and were pretty well-matched, although it was Claire who took the win with an impressive score of 69.4%.

Claire Humphrey and Rafferty

Two riders from the BEF Para Entry Programme, Eleanor Currington and Olivia Cornick, competed in the (new) Grade III and Grade IV classes respectively, as well as in the Grade 6 Walk/trot class. As in previous years, Eleanor demonstrated impressive horsemanship and qualified in both events. She will ride in the Grade III Championship class at Hartpury, meaning that Olivia’s third place finish in the Grade 6 Walk/trot test, in which she scored 64.4%, was more than enough to secure her a trip to Hartpury too. Olivia’s qualification is all the more impressive given that she is riding a new horse, Ya, who is more accustomed to the point-to-point life and had never done a dressage test before! Although her score in the Grade IV class was not high enough for Hartpury, Olivia should still be proud of all that she has achieved with Ya so far, and it will be exciting to watch them as they develop their partnership, in particular as they represent the East region at Hartpury in the Grade 6 class.

Eleanor Currington with RDA East Chairman, Gay Redman, at the prizegiving

First place in the Grade 6 Walk/trot class went to Lizzie Bennett riding Rolo. They scored 70.8% and were awarded the East Region Cup for the highest dressage score by a senior rider in the qualifying events. Lizzie hopes to ride Rolo at Hartpury in this class - side saddle! Lizzie also won the Grade 6 Canter class with 68.7%, riding Minstrel. She was joined in this class by Jennifer Phillips-Campbell riding her own horse, Carrie. Jenny scored 62.9% and will be representing the East region at Hartpury. This is the first time that Jenny has been able to compete in the canter class at Hartpury: despite having qualified in 2009, her mount at the time was unavailable for the Championships; more recently, she has ridden in the trot class but is thrilled to be competing in canter this year having put a lot of work into perfecting Carrie’s canter!

Lizzie Bennett and Rolo

The Grade 6 walk only test featured senior rider Alex Turley, riding Rafferty. Alex, from Barrow Farm, has previously competed successfully in Dressage Anywhere events including the recent Dressage Anywhere Online RDA Championships. This was her first test away from home, but you wouldn’t have known it from her fabulous qualification score of 66.8%! The regional show also hosted her second test away from home when she contested the Freestyle class (see the third post on the Regional Show).

Jodie Gunton and Bonnie

The Grade 6 walk only junior winner was another new rider, riding her first ever dressage test: Jodie Gunton from Stevenage & District, riding Bonnie. Bonnie is a lovely cob who lives at the College of West Anglia, who kindly hired her out for the day so that Jodie could take part. Fortunately, Bonnie was also free for that all-important weekend in July, since Jodie has qualified for the National Championships with a score of 65.3% - a result which also won her the trophy for the highest-scoring junior dressage rider. To achieve this in her first ever test, ridden on a borrowed horse, means there must be plenty of exciting things in the future for Jodie.

Last updated: June 2, 2017 @ 23:07