A 20-year-old rider, who started competing in cross-country competitions four years ago and was BHS reserve novice champion last year, made the step up to the open class appear effortless at the South Essex Insurance Brokers BHS Cross Country Championships last weekend.
Jenny Smith (pictured, photo by Bill Parrot) fought off the challenge from riders who had travelled from all over the country to win the open title and be crowned BHS National Cross Country Champion. Jo Dawson from Nottingham came second on Master Jasper and won the regional title for the East-Midlands.
The event was run over Tim Bennett’s challenging course at The Eland Lodge Equestrian, Draycott-In-The-Clay, Derbyshire. The Crocodile Log and the Stairway to Heaven proved to be the most testing obstacles on the course, catching out a number of the 200 horse and rider combinations taking part.
“I found the course challenging but well built, and Peachfield handled it well,” Smith said afterwards. The pair was also awarded the regional trophy for the North.
Smith also finished third on Majestic Glen, winning the Pony Riders’ Association (PRA) award for best adult on a pony. Talent obviously runs in this equine family as Peachfield and Majestic Gem have the same grandfather.
Claire Liddle, 21, from Newtownards, in County Down, won the novice championship on Skew-Whiff III, and also received the regional trophy for Northern Ireland. Liddle has been riding the coloured mare for three years.
“She is a rescue horse and just gets better and better all the time. She has taken a while to come to her own, but today she just flew round,” Liddle explained.
Each of the riders taking part had qualified for the finals from 80 competitions held nationwide. Qualifiers for the 2006 SEIB BHS Cross Country Finals are already underway. For more details visit: www.bhs.org.uk
Open championship results
1. Jenny Smith, Peachfield (Cleveland)
2. Jo Dawson, Master Jasper (Nottinghamshire)
3. Jenny Smith, Majestic Glen (Cleveland)
4. Natalie Edge, Bill (Staffordshire)
Novice championship results
1. Claire Liddle, Skew-Whiff III (Northern Ireland)
=2. Alison Thompson, Fiery Jack (Lancashire)
=2. Catriona Henderson, Okehurst Jack the Lad (Cheshire)
=4. Julie Hayward, Midnight (Essex)
=4. Lucy Cocker, Charlie Be Cool (Derbyshire)
Pairs championship results
1. The Pink Ladies: Lucy Cocker, Carrowmore Clinton (Derbyshire) and Sian Somerset, Charlie Be Cool (Derbyshire)
2. The Cherry Pickers: Jade Harris, Mutiara (Northamptonshire) and Rebekah Bartley, Bo Peep (Northamptonshire)
3. Jo Steele, Darkside of Moon (Somerset) and Bobbie Martin-Pope, Westwell Derby (Somerset)
4. Jennifer Crouch, Jester (Kent) and Joanna Crouch, Bob the Builder (Kent)