The inaugural Horse & Hound Grassroots Eventing Championships was an unprecedented success, and we’re still suffering from some post-champs blues. The event was action-packed and full of wonderful stories — here’s just a few things we learnt over the three days of competition…

1. Age is no barrier…

Horse & Hound Grassroots Eventing Championships

Sally Pidsley

Whether in your formative or later years, age was just a number for our competitors. Sally Pidsley, winner of the 70cm championship, was 71 years-old. At the other end of the scale, riders as young as 12-year-old Lydia Turnbull were showing off their eventing skills over the weekend.

Lydia Turnbull

2. …and neither is size

The 100cm championships was taken by 16-year-old Daisy Cross and her 14.2hh Ebony. The pair made nothing of the full-up cross-country and showjumping tracks.

Daisy Cross

3. People travelled from all corners of the UK

Daisy was just one of many competitors to travel a mammoth distance to the championships at Keysoe, Bedfordshire. The young rider had travelled all the way from Perth in Scotalnd, while Sally Pidsley made the journey from Tavistock in west Devon. The competitor who had probably made the longest of treks though, was Cilla Perchard, who had travelled 15 hours from Jersey. She made the trip worthwhile when taking the 80cm championship.

 

4. Whether you want to be competitive or not, fun was had by all

There were many tales of those who had set out to be competitive and those who just wanted to enjoy the opportunity to compete at a three-day event. One of those who didn’t mind whether they were first or last was Alison Nicholson, who said at the time: “I’ve come here purely to have a nice time and I didn’t want to ride competitively around the cross-country course — I just wanted to have a go at the fences. I had no intention of going fast and even let Tully stop for a drink in the water jump halfway round.”

Horse & Hound Grassroots Eventing Championships Keysoe Sat 27th to Mon 29th May 2017 Class 2 80cm Elementary 3DE winner 042-Miss Cilla Perchard and Urgo

Cilla Perchard

5. All was not lost if you didn’t make it round the cross-country

For those that didn’t were allowed to trot-up and complete a consolation showjumping round on the final day.

6. Everyone knew how to have a good time

From joining in the the welcome BBQ, to enjoying hundreds of glasses of fizz on the Saturday night, and not forgetting the photo booth, open for all to use, our champs contenders knew how to have a good time!

7. The prizes were AWESOME

Sally Pidsley and her prize haul

This wasn’t an ordinary unaffiliated event, this was an unaffiliated event boasting over £15,000-worth of prizes! To give you an idea, here’s what you won if you scooped first place in any of the four classes:

£250 prize money
A Horse & Hound Grassroots Eventing Championships 2017 winner’s rug
A Horse & Hound Grassroots Eventing Championships 2017 winner’s jacket
A Sportzvibe massage therapy rug. This lightweight, non-evasive massage therapy rug for horses is designed to help ease muscle stiffness and soreness
A Micklem Deluxe Competition bridle. An ergonomically designed bridle to relieve pressure on the sensitive points on the horse’s face
A pair of IceVibe boots. Vibration and ice boots combined to help cool and increase blood flow to the legs, encouraging the recovery process to help prevent injury
A pair of Amigo Airflow boots. Perfect, lightweight every day schooling boots
A Horseware competition outfit from the best-selling Horseware competition range, made from lightweight and breathable fabrics for comfort while competing. Outfit includes jacket, shirt, breeches and accessories
A pair of Ariat Heritage IV Paddock Boots
A pair of Horseware gloves perfect for schooling or competing, lightweight and stylish
A tasty and nutritious Nutrilick for your horse. The nutrilick is a highly palatable lick offering 60% less sugar than traditional licks
A bottle of Fly Away product to ensure you stay fly free this season
A bottle of Groom Away to keep your horse show ready this season
A pair of tickets to Bolesworth

Even better, the excellent prize haul awarded those all the way down to 10th place.

Don’t miss the full report from the Horse & Hound Grassroots Eventing Championships in the next issue of Horse & Hound magazine, out tomorrow (8 June)