Written by Julia Crockford
Jane & I arrived at a very cold Keysoe Equestrian Centre on the Thursday afternoon to support TEAM WESSEX members whilst also helping to steward the event.
In the Open Horse class Jenny Moon kicked off the whole competition by being the first competitor into Arena 1 at 8.30am on the Friday for dressage. A tough call being first, but team Moon took it in their stride with a very good dressage of 25 followed by a brilliant clear round on the cones with just 1 time penalty. Four very good clean obstacles followed to finish their competition in 5th place.
In the Open Pony Class Wessex had two entries, Sue Bushell and Lucy Scott. Sue driving Sue Mayes’ pony Ronnie did a lovely dressage of 21.50 and she was well chuffed with him, but an additional 7 penalties in the cones pushed her down the leader board. They came back to drive the best obstacles I’ve seen Sue and Ronnie drive and left the arena all smiles to complete their competition in 8th place.
Lucy and Maestro drove the best test I have ever seen them do to earn an amazing 11.75 to the loudest cheers, leaving Lucy (and one or two others!) weeping with joy, she then managed to contain her exuberance and drive a slightly fast but clear cones to add just 3 time penalties putting her in a very strong position going into the obstacle phase. Maestro was on fire and Lucy drove four long, fast and flowing routes which was just beautiful to watch, he went through the start and finish gate at a gallop and never let up all through the obstacles to win the Open Pony Championship by 2.06 penalties to huge whoops of delight from not only the Wessex supporters but all watching.
Claire Hichisson, a SCDC member, but on this occasion representing the Dorset area was also in the Open Pony Class. Claire’s dressage of 20.25 and only 6 penalties in the cones put her in contention overnight but slippery reins in Obstacles 1 & 2 and a very forward going Scrummy dropped them a few places, obstacles 3 & 4 fared much better, having purchased new reins, for them to finish in 11th position.
In the Intermediate Pony Class we also had two entries, Diane Phillips who was very happy with her dressage score of 20.25 followed by an excellent clear cones with just 1 time penalty. Just when we didn’t think it could get any better Jackie Hinds and her lovely Fjord horse Morse stunned everyone into silence with a dressage score of 10.25 being the best dressage score of the whole weekend. This was followed up by an uncharacteristic ball down in the cones and time penalties finishing her day on 9 penalties. Both ladies drove lovely smooth obstacles, although Jackie did nearly give me a heart attack in Obstacle 1! Diane finished in 5th place and Jackie won the Intermediate Pony Championship by 2.58 penalties.
In the Small Pony class it was Philippa Scott’s turn to take the reins, a dressage score of 29.75 put her in joint 2nd place going to the cones where sadly her pony took a dislike the arena banners and give Philippa a really hard time earning 22 penalties. This left them having to work hard in the obstacles but speed has always been the Scott’s forte and they didn’t disappoint this time pulling themselves up into 4th place overall.
In the small Pony Pair class a very busy Amy Stone (who had two entries under two different classes and area’s) represented Wessex with her speedy little Shetlands. A dressage of 36.0 was followed by an excellent cones round with only 1 penalty added. Four fast and accurate obstacles earnt her a well deserved 2nd place overall.
In Novice Horse Carra Baker drove her dressage to a score of 36.25 but sadly the cones course was just a little too tough for such a big horse and he collected another 23 penalties. undeterred and all smiles Carra tackled the obstalces beautifully, no mean feat with such a huge animal but she chose nice flowing routes and kept him moving to finish the competition in a brilliant 4th Place overall.
Our Novice Pony contingent, Jeanette and Jim Parker with Jeeves had to wait until almost the end of the weekend to drive in the biggest class of the competition with 22 entries. Her dressage score of 30 put her into second place and then just five penalties in the cones left her lying in 6th place overnight. Unfortunately two balls down in obstacle two dropped them down the order but then two fast and clear final obstacles saw them pull back up into 5th place overall.
On the Saturday evening, before the festivities began The Indoor Champion Joseph Adams driving his Pony Pair to a score of 172.91 was crowned and Lucy Scott was crowned the Reserve Indoor Champion on a score of 178.73, Lucy was also awarded for the best dressage of the day and the Empathy award.
(For those of you looking at the scores and seeing that Jackie Hinds dressage score was the best overall, the dressage award always goes to the driver of the best Open Test).
Team Wessex chose France for it’s country of the World. Jane, Claire & I set up and decorated our table with flags, banners, balloons and French music along with various French cheeses, Wines, Pate, French bread, crackers, profiteroles, stuffed crepes etc.. and then to enter into the spirit we donned strings of garlic and beret’s, although our French accent left a bit to be desired! A fantastic evening of much hilarity, eating, socialising and plenty of noise followed.
Jane & I pulled the caravan into Redenham at 6.15pm on the Sunday evening, tired but elated that Wessex not only have two champions but everyone of our team drove well and almost all of them came home with a rosette, that is an amazing feat amongst 136 entries – well done to you all.