Pippa Morrison and the chestnut 14hh Duntarvie Catalan, representing the Bennachie branch in Scotland, won the individual title at the Champion Headwear Pony Club Dressage Championships at Sansaw Park.
Although only fourth in their arena after the first test on 67.4%, the pair qualified for the ride-off because the top two (Georgina Roberts, East Essex Hunt and Melissa Beer, Crawley & Horsham) were juniors and therefore only qualified for the junior ride-off.
Fifteen-year-old Pippa made the most of her experience — she and Duntarvie Catalan compete at medium level and on Scottish pony teams, and pulled out all the stops for a final mark of 69.15%.
“I didn’t think my second test was that good,” said Pippa. “He struggled a bit with the muddy ground.”
Second on 68.78% was Middleton branch member Jolyse Clancey, the arena E winner riding On Fire, with whom she won the novice two-day event at Aldon last year. Kim Seaby from the Garth South branch came third, riding Ryefeside Verdi.
The junior ride-off was won by 13-year-old Clifton-on-Teme branch member Georgie Bolton and her own Maesyfron Rhett with an impressive mark of 71.81%, ahead of Sienna Myson-Davies (Welton Jazz) from the Chiddingfold Farmers.
The winning pony, a Welsh Section D, revelled in the conditions and caught the eye with his extravagant paces and sparkle, even at the end of a long day.
“He’s taught me lot and we really enjoyed ourselves, but I didn’t think we’d do this well,” said Georgie.
The Essex Union branch was crowned team dressage champions for the first time in its history. The young team of Sally Emery (Master Atlas), Caroline Stewart (Spring H2O), Emma Hancock (Sea Wave) and Michelle Watson (Rukis) all performed creditable tests to beat the Garth South by just 13 marks. Their neighbours, the East Essex branch, were third.
Sarah Gibson, 15, took the Alsters Kelley Dressage to Music competition for the Atherston Hunt branch with a huge 82.92%. Riding Oscar Award, a ¾ Thoroughbred ¼ Cleveland Bay intermediate eventer whom she has had since March, this was only the second time Sarah had done dressage to music.
“I can’t believe it we won — he pulled a shoe off in our first test today,” said Sarah.