Date: 9th August 2017

Horse Trials Championship 2017

It all started back in June at the horse trials qualifier at Coombelands- Horsham had lots of teams entered with the hope of qualifying for the national horse trials championships at Swalcliffe in August. Everyone rode really well and we managed to qualify a senior 80cm team and individual, a junior 80cm team, a senior 100+ team and from the qualifier an area 13 senior 100cm team was created (consisting of two Horsham team members and two members from local club Rudgewick).

Everyone started to arrive at Swalcliffe on Thursday afternoon and the Horsham camp began to take shape. Friday was set to be a busy day with the 100 and 100+ trot up and dressage, followed by the 80 teams undertaking all 3 disciplines as their competition runs as a one day format. 
All the horses flew through the trot up on Friday morning and then the serious work of dressage began. The 100 team produced 4 lovely tests with Elise getting a brilliant 24, putting the team in a good position going into the next two days- however after walking the challenging xc course it was clear there was still a very long way to go. The 100+ team also put in 4 great dressage tests later in the day and then all headed off to walk the xc and roads and tracks.  A special note has to go to Charlotte and Ros for dressage stewarding all morning to cover the Horsham help- without this the event could not run.

The focus was then all on the 80 teams whose events took place over the course of the afternoon. The junior team consisting of Olivia, Millie, Liv and Ella were up first and after all completing the dressage with 4 good scores, then all show jumping well it was all to play for going into the xc phase. Unfortunately some unruly cows in a neighbouring field prevented Liv and Dottie from completing the course, but with the other 3 showing some great riding around a challenging course the team finished in 1st place!!

The attention was then shifted onto the senior team, who were again had produced some strong dressage scores and show jumped well. Both Jess and Jackie rode the long and testing xc course well to just pick up 20 faults each, they were followed by Caroline and Suzie whose horses both made the course look like child’s play!! This meant they both finished on their dressage scores, with Caroline finishing 5th in her arena and Suzie 3rd in hers. Suzie also picked up the prize for closest to the optimum time with ‘super cob’ Bea. Helena was riding as an individual and had supported all the other riders all day as her times were very late in the day; it was worth waiting for and was a pleasure to watch her sail around the xc course. Great results all round for the 80 riders. 

Saturday was a big day for the 100 and 100+ riders with them taking on the roads and tracks, steeplechase and xc. The two rudgewick riders, Karen and Julie, were the first out on the course and despite a few time faults, both jumped round clear. Elise bounced back into the 10 minute box with Freddie looking like he had just come out of the stable! She set off on the xc course well but unfortunately picked up 20 faults at one of the very tricky water fences, however jumped round the rest of the course in their normally classy style.  Next to go was Sara who started off well but took a tumble at fence 6. Alfie jumped up and galloped back home and after a check from the medics Sara was cleared and just left with plenty of bruises and feeling rather sore the next day!

The afternoon saw the turn of the 100+ team. Becky was up first and rode a very determined round to just pick up 20 penalties around the course.  Zoe, Helen and Ruth all made easy work of the tough course to come home faultless and inside the time- helped by the highly efficient support crew in the 10 minute box. This put the team in a great position going into the final day and all was to play for in the show jumping. The evening consisted of leg icing and walking horses out to ensure they were all in top form for the trot up on Sunday morning. This was of cause followed by BBQ and fizz for the riders and support crew.

It was an early start for all Sunday morning with the trot up starting at 8am. The rider’s diligence in caring for their horse’s post xc was evident as all came out looking well and passed the trot up- it was then all down to the show jumping. Another mention to our brilliant helpers, with Carol stewarding in show jumping for the best part of the day.  

The 100 team jumped 2 nice rounds however unfortunately one of the horses was feeling the effects of xc and the rider sensibly retired. Despite no placing this year the team should be very proud of their efforts in a true championship competition.
Next was the turn of the 100+ and four good solid rounds meant the team finished overall 3rd and Helen went on to win her arena. Much to the delight of Ruth this meant they all came away with a championship sash (she hasn’t taken it off since).
It was a fantastic weekend and the riders and helpers did the club proud, once again showing their team spirit and coming away with some super results.

Sam York (Super groom ! )