The Indoor Finals took place at Arena UK, Grantham over the 1st-3rd April in what can only be described as inclement weather. We had everything from snow, hailstones, rain, frosts and sunshine and it was bitterly cold all delt with by a strong northerly wind driving the temperatures even lower.
Due to us visiting Arena UK for the first time there were lots of changes, particularly with only one indoor school. The dressage was driven in two outdoor arenas on the Friday and Saturday mornings, followed immediately by cones in a separate outdoor arena and then in the afternoons and all-day Sunday the obstacles were driven indoors. The stewards worked hard keeping the competitors moving on one-way systems around the venue to and from arenas and getting everyone where they needed to be on time.
Wessex region put up a magnificent show with Sue Bull wining the Novice Pony Championship; Bev Huntington came 5th in the Open Horse Class, Jo Sore came 7th in the Open Pony Class, Wendy Small 7th in Novice Horse and Sarah Dance 2nd in the Pony Pairs class. Sadly Jeanette Parker was unable to compete in the Intermediate Pony class at the finals having tested positive for covid just before she was due to travel, we hope she has recovered.
We should also mention Lucy Scott who came second to Philippa Howe in the Open Pony class and was crowned overall Reserve Champion and only just missed out on being the fastest in the obstacles; she managed 3 of the 4 fastest times. Jackie Hinds came 3rd in the same class whilst Carly Smart came 3rd in Novice Pony, all are regulars at Sparsholt but qualified in the Thames or South areas.
Jane Dunsdon swapped her usual gate duties for catering and kept all the stewards, judges and crew fed breakfast and lunch with morning coffee and biscuits, afternoon tea and cake; Happy stewards and crew, she was also dishing out Pimms for the Happy Hour on the Saturday evening, events just wouldn’t be the same without Jane!
Despite the appalling weather the venue is great, plenty of room and lots of excellent facilities, there are planning to build another indoor school over this Autumn, so hopefully more of the event will be indoors for the 2022-23 Championships.