‘Everyone was crying at the finish’: Teenagers rule in Bicton Arena international eventing classes

  • At Britain’s final international fixture of 2021, Barnie Brotherton leads a charge of the young brigade as three out of the four CCI sections fall to talented teens at Bicton Arena (3), which ran from 20-24 October

    Barnie Brotherton and the aptly named Cash Casino found themselves in the money when they scooped the £800 first prize from Bicton’s Rathbones CCI3*-S, plus they led a charge of other under-20s who additionally nabbed the cash in two of the three two-star sections.

    Beating runners-up Dani Evans and Velma by a country mile, a nonplussed Barnie commented: “I hoped we’d do well, but I never expected to win. My horse has a splint that keeps flaring up and he had several months off, only doing three events before Bicton.”

    The 18-year-old joined Harry Meade’s team at the beginning of 2020 as part of the Haddon Training Advance Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence, and Barnie credited Harry as being instrumental in his recent run of success, which included a win in the under-21 open intermediate at Little Downham two weeks earlier.

    “The lockdowns meant that Harry was home all the time, so I got plenty of coaching. It was definitely one of the reasons we’ve improved so much. I did six events in my first season [2018] and was eliminated in more than one,” Barnie confessed.

    Financially supported by his parents, Wayne and Naomi Brotherton, Barnie, who added six cross-country time-faults to a 26.7 dressage score for victory, additionally noted that the 17hh Danish-bred grey Cash Casino, by Casino, purchased for him three years ago by his grandparents, Bob and Pat Austin, was a cut above anything he had ever piloted before.

    “He’s a real quality horse, but he’s also relaxed and suits my style of riding. He goes in a snaffle across country and if you pull the reins, he’ll slow for you. He’s just so obedient.”

    Emily King didn’t experience quite such a smooth ride around Helen West’s lauded three-star cross-country course. Enjoying a commanding lead after two phases with Imposant and with victory almost in the bag, the pair added 20 penalties to their scorecard with a run-out at the penultimate obstacle, the Horsehage Corner at 20. In total, 74% of three-star competitors jumped clear around the 3,575m track, while just 45% negotiated Krissy Spiller’s showjumping course on a sand surface cleanly.

    Carrying on the trend

    Ellie Fredericks, 17, and the elegant mare Pure Trendsetter, owned by eventing volunteer Liz Hills, Chris Emmett and Ellie’s mother Lucinda, finished at the head of affairs in the 55-strong Empire Coachbuilders CCI2*-S section B, leaving Amy Barlow and Igel in the runner-up spot.

    “Everyone was crying at the finish, including Mum,” said Ellie. “I got Trendy a year ago today and then she could barely go around a corner – she was sharp and not at all bold. Mum thought I was insane, but I fell in love with her the moment I sat on her. The fact that we got placed is incredible.”

    Lucinda added: “Ellie’s done everything with Trendy, but I’ve been doing hacking and hill work while she’s been under pressure with A levels. Ellie’s been close to winning before, but had some bad luck and so she wasn’t keen to know her placing before the cross-country. However, she found out when the commentator said: ‘And next into the start box is our leader, Ellie Fredericks!’ It piled on the pressure.”

    Chilli son is a star

    Jo Rimmer riding CHILLI_S MIDNIGHT STAR

    Jo Rimmer broke the teenage stranglehold on the international classes by netting victory in Symonds & Sampson Axminster CCI2*-S section H aboard Nikki Axon and Mel Halstead’s Chilli’s Midnight Star, by Chilli Morning.

    The 51-year-old rider previously competed the seven-year-old’s dam, Midnight Wispa, and said of her winner: “He thinks he’s God’s gift. He’s arrogant and loves crowds and knows he’s gorgeous, but his huge ego means that he loves to perform. It would be easy to race him up the grades because he’s so good, but it’s important that the foundations are put in place.”

    Finishing a close second was Joe Roome (Brechfa Medrod), based, like Jo and her daughter, Jess, at Fontmell Parva Stables in Dorset and anticipating an all-too-brief celebration prior to Jo setting off at midnight for Pau with her top horse, Isaac Newton.

    Echoing the thoughts of other riders at Bicton, Jo said: “I love coming here. It’s brilliant and the cross-country was imaginative, clever and educational.”

    Andrew Fell, who took over the reins from his wife Helen West as organiser prior to the five-star in September, stated that this fixture had been far more challenging.

    “There was so much going on in every area all at the same time,” he said. “It was incredibly complex.”

    Prior to Sunday’s final prize-givings, when the sun finally emerged after torrential downpours, retiring official Jane Tolley was presented with a bunch of flowers to mark her many decades of service to the sport.

    First international win

    Accuracy reaps rewards for British newcomer

    Eneya Jenkins

    THE pandemic scuppered Eneya Jenkins’ plans to return to her home in America, where she has lived since the age of three, last year and so she rerouted to the UK and based herself at Chedington Equestrian. She then capitalised on a season of competitive outings to finish at the head of the 80-strong WH Bond CCI2*-L.

    Recording her first international win aboard Sankro, the 19-year-old daughter of British financier Roger Jenkins and his Bosnian-born former wife Diana, said: “I was in Croatia at the beginning of 2020 with my family and while Covid meant that we couldn’t get back to the US, I’d also lost a horse [Lawtown Boy] while I was away and, not wanting to return to an empty stall, I thought I’d give eventing a go in the UK. I wanted a new beginning.”

    Completing on their dressage score of 24.3, Eneya and the 11-year-old Sankro (aka Doug) left the more seasoned Padraig McCarthy (Pomp N Circumstance) second and Aaron Millar (Tomatillo, third, and Count Onyx, fourth) trailing in their wake.

    “Across country I was worried about the hills as Doug can be a bit lazy, but I walked the track with my trainer, Chris [Burton], and worked out exactly where we were going,” said Eneya. “Accuracy makes such a difference. In the end, we recorded one of the quickest times.”

    Eneya purchased Doug from Amy O’Connor in February.

    “When I lost Lawtown Boy, I contemplated quitting eventing, but Doug was so like him that he’s made it easy to carry on,” added Eneya who, despite her links to the US, rides for Britain.

    • The above report will also be available to read in H&H magazine, on sale Thursday 28 October

    Bicton Arena (3) grassroots three-day event classes

    ZARA HEAD and Clenagh High Society emerged victorious in the 101-strong BE90 three-day event after they completed on their dressage mark of 28.5. Their victory was made all the more remarkable given Zara is only 12 years old.

    Zara Head and Clenagh High Society in the BE90 three-day event

    “It was the most amazing experience of my life so far,” said Zara. “She’s an incredible horse and tried her best each day. It was very tense but I just rode each fence until the last and can’t believe we won.”

    Clenagh High Society is a six-year-old Irish mare who was bought from a showjumping dealer during lockdown.

    “She was bred to showjump and didn’t know what dressage was or what a cross-country fence looked like when we got her, but she’s very bold and has taken to it all like a duck to water,” explained Zara’s mother Anita. “She would jump to the moon and back for Zara and they have established a great partnership.”

    The duo was third after the dressage, climbed to second after cross-country and then triumphed when Jane Rogers and Corrieview Oscar rolled a pole, relegating them to the runner-up spot.

    Jane also occupied second place in the BE100 three-day class after she and Corrieview Merlin Magic finished 1.5 penalties behind Harriet Dickin and Pull Ya Socks Up.
    Harriet and the seven-year-old Irish gelding made it two wins on the bounce, having also triumphed in the BE100 at Broadway (2) the previous week.

    The BE100open three-day honours were awarded to Captain Amy Cooper and her 13-year-old Irish gelding McAllister, while the BE90open three-day class went
    to Crisy Salmon and the former five-star horse Stonedge.

    • This report will also be available to read in H&H magazine, on sale Thursday 4 November

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...