Southern Winter Dressage semi-finals report

  • Alice Wilson and Equilibra Mazzletov headed five combinations in the Cliff Barnsby Medium Open to go through to the Horse & Hound Winter Championships to be held at Solihull in June.

    Four Dutch Warmbloods led the competition held at West Wilts EC. Mazzletov, a seven-year-old by Houston, was purchased at the inaugural Equilibra Sale by Gro-Well Feeds director Reg Hardy, and was the runner-up in the challenge two years ago.

    Half Moon Leopard came a close second, ridden for the Half Moon Stud by Dutch international rider Dries Roefs.

    The restricted section saw a clear win for Vicki Thompson’s pupil Dominique Parsons and Etoile Filante, who, like Machiavelli, is by Havidof and was also bred by Bert Rutten.

    Nicola Jourdain was the winner of the Blue Chip Pro Elementary with Saint Swithens. Bought two years ago in Germany through agent Christian Heinrich, the horse was originally procured for and ridden by Nicola’s mother, Sandra.

    Lucky Lunar and 17-year-old Poppy Gregson gainedtheir place in the final after finishing second. The Danish-bred mare by Lucky Light is currently for sale due to Poppy’s increasing commitment to A’ levels.

    Another Equilibra purchase took the honours in the restricted section with Lizzie Barnicoat’s former challenge winner, the Dutch-bred mare Moonlight, heading the leaderboard for Kay Waterman.

    Second-placed point-to-point rider Sarah West achieved her aim for the year by winning through to the final in her first season of dressage with Sally Arscott’s former advanced eventer, Master Diligence.

    Another Dutch horse headed the Blue Chip Novice Open that saw international young rider Jodie Lister and Nicky, also by Houston, take a convincing lead.

    It was only the fourth competitive outing for the upstanding 16.3hh bright bay six-year-old, who was last year’s winner of the dressage horse of the future at Badminton. Jodie is now working full-time for her trainer Jennie Loriston-Clarke.

    “Nicky has grown up a lot at Catherston and working with the other horses has really helped,” said Jodie, who will be contesting this season’s young rider trials with Catherston Liberator.

    Tanya Nicol came closest on her former heavyweight hunter champion Enniskean, a horse in his first full season of dressage after a successful six-year showing career.

    British breeding finally came to the fore in the novice restricted when Karen Clark’s good-moving mare, Bornival’s Hedgehog, gained a unanimous and convincing advantage.

    The seven-year-old by Quendal De Bornival has been lightly competed by Karen, a management consultant, who has her own company specialising in the psychology of achievement.

    The combination, which trains with Suzanne Davies, also went through to the final of the restricted elementary and completed a successful two days by winning the Catherston Freestyle to Music Novice Championship.

    Another to gain a place in two finals was 18-year-old Robyn Wetherall and her five-year-old Welsh Cob/ Thoroughbred Gernant Surprise, who gained a unanimous verdict from three judges to win the prelim. Robyn, who is in her first season of affiliated dressage, is based with Tricia Gardiner.

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