It was gate-jumping with a difference at the Woodland Pytchley Hunt point-to-point meeting on Saturday (9 June).
Of the eight riders who started in the competition, held at Dingley racecourse as part of the postponed Easter meeting, it was Georgina Ellis who took the honours, clearing 1.60m on Fireball (“Gitty”).
And she managed to do so without having to lose many of her clothes.
Bruce Langley McKim, on his Irish draught stallion Carrigfada Grey Mist, and Bonnie Martin on Parkways Cartair (“Swampy”), cleared 1.55m to finish in joint second place – also without their jackets on. Emily Ferguson was the winning junior, clearing 1.35m.
“I’m glad Gina cleared it as we didn’t have any more holes in the wings,” Bruce told H&H.
“We started at 2’6” and went up slowly. If you knocked it down, you bought your way back in by removing a piece of clothing. Luckily, we only had to remove a couple of things!”
Bruce said it was the biggest he had jumped on the stallion, one of a number he owns. H&H reported in February that he had debuted his Suffolk stallion Craikhowhall Jensen on the hunt field with the Fernie – but Bruce did not fancy Jensen’s chances in this challenge.
“It was my own gate and I fancied leaving it intact,” he said. “I’d have opened it on him!”
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The competition, in aid of hunt funds, was held as part of the evening’s entertainment, near the finish line, with participants parading in the collecting ring beforehand, and it went down well with spectators, Bruce said.
“They were four or five deep by the fence, with running commentary from Philip Cowen – and he gave me some stick!”
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This week’s pony special, out on 7 June, features Britain’s naughtiest ponies and how you can find the dream smaller equine. We also look at the pros and cons of equine treadmills, talk to showing producer Aimee Devane and have reports from the H&H Festival of Eventing, Tattersalls Horse Trials, racing at Epsom and much, much more.