The competition, being held for the first time at Barbury, was run to raise money for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and Julie and Bumble both donated their share of the £500 “winner takes all” prize to the charity.
Six riders were invited to compete in the “chase me Charlie” style competition organised by Beanie Sturgis. Matt Ryan, Alex Hua Tian, Tina Cook, Bill Levett, Bumble Thomas and Julie Tew all faced the triple-bar fence.
Beanie explained that competitors could opt to “buy a life” if they had a knock-down but wished to carry on into the next round. Although there were no takers this year, last year in a similar competition, which Beanie organised at Dauntsey Horse Trials some riders got an extra chance by abandoning their saddles to jump the fence bareback.
The eventual winners were Julie Tew and Bumble Thomas, who jumped 1.85m and after running out of holes on the wings, decided to split the prize. With some enthusiastic shaking of money buckets, £1,000 was raised for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance in total.
Beanie commented: “The event went brilliantly. It was short, sharp and easy for the audience to follow. It’s fantastic that in just half an hour we managed to raise £1,000.”
Bumble agreed, saying the event was “really good fun and captured the audience too” and she was pleased to donate her winnings to such a “worthy cause”. Bumble’s mount, Harrington, stopped eventing a couple of years ago and now competes in pure show jumping.
Julie quickly got over an unfortunate fall in the fourth round from the end, when her mount, King Of The Catwalk, “skewed” over the fence at 1.60m.
“He has a massive jump and tremendous scope. I honestly believe he could have gone higher than 1.85m,” she said.
Co-owners Holly Farr, Vicky Tew and Jason Houghton watched nervously from the sidelines, but Julie was driven on by the infectious “competition spirit”.
The competition was sponsored by Malverns Estate Agents in London. First run at Dauntsey Park last year, it was so successful again this year at Barbury that Malverns will continue to sponsor the competition at Dauntsey in October. If Bumble or Julie take the title for a second time, then they will win an extra £500 on top of their prize.