Daisy Dick and Spring Along beat a highly competitive field at Barbury International Horse Trials at the weekend. So often the bridesmaid, Daisy proved a popular winner with the crowd.
The competition was close fought, with the lead changing hands repeatedly on Sunday. Daisy’s faultless show jumping performance was followed by a foot-perfect cross-country round, just one second over the time, to assure her victory over Andrew Nicholson riding Nereo and Ireland’s Sam Watson with Horseware Bushman.
A change of bit for the dressage appeared to rectify the issues the partnership had in the dressage at Badminton in the spring. They finished this phase in fouth place on 49.0pen.
“I know he can do a lovely test,” she said. “I just have to have him in the right frame of mind.
“I got it right on Thursday, thanks to the facilities at Barbury, as I could use the gallops to give him a spin that morning before my test. I rode him in a double bridle for the first time and it worked a treat – it gave him something more to think about.”
Ireland’s Elizabeth Power lead after dressage with Kilpatrick River, but they had a fence down in the show jumping to hand the lead to Lucy Wiegersma riding her young horse, Simon Porloe. Meanwhile Daisy and 16-year-old Spring Along produced a fantastic clear round Di Boddy’s tricky course.
On the final cross-country phase it became obvious that Capt Mark Phillips’ track required fast and accurate riding for riders to be anywhere near the optimum time of 6:25. Going in reverse order of merit, the first highlight was when Nicola Wilson and the nimble Opposition Buzz made the time. They were the first ever combination to do so in Barbury’s five year history, which was testament to the excellent ground conditions.
Some 35 horses later, Irish youngster Sam Watson matched that feat with Horseware Bushman to take the lead on 54.2, followed by Andrew Nicholson, lying seventh, with the promising young Nereo to put added pressure on the final few riders.
Daisy gave it her best shot to make the time with Spring Along – missing by just one second for 0.4 of a time penalty but this was good enough to give them the lead. This left it to leader Lucy Weigersma, who coaxed a fantastic educational round from Simon Porloe, but couldn’t match Daisy’s speed, handing her victory and a cheque for £4,000 plus the Barbury International Challenge Trophy.
A delighted Daisy said: “I’m annoyed with my time penalty but I know exactly where I lost time – just one too many pulls but it did feel really fast – he was like a rocket! He really deserves the win today; it’s about time as we’ve been second so many times. He’s feeling so well – more like an eight year old and he was brilliant today.”
Don’t miss H&H’s full report from Barbury, on sale Thursday 16 July