Combinations demonstrate lockdown training has worked with improved scores and personal bests
Bury Farm High Profile Show, Bucks, 28–30 August
Nikki Barker’s two grand prix performances with the 12-year-old Spielberg x Tango stallion Durable were a highlight of the show. The stunning 17.2hh bay was solid in the work and impressive in its execution. Durable has rhythmic, elevated paces and is light on his feet for such a substantial horse. Nikki’s sympathetic and accurate riding was rewarded with scores of 73.33% and 72.17%.
Despite his powerful movement, “Danny” has the ability to collect, and his piaffe and passage were in a class of their own.
“He really sits in the piaffe but sometimes he doesn’t quite have the balance and strength to come out of it,” said Nikki, who owns him with Viv Gleave. This was only his third competition at the level and Nikki believes there is still more to come. “He’s able to perform the difficult things and stay elastic and relaxed.”
Matt Frost headed back to Gloucestershire with four red rosettes. Summerhouse Delano (Dayano x Jazz) won an inter I, inter I freestyle and prix st georges (PSG). Matt bought “Del” last year from Sara Gallop, who trained him up to PSG.
“He’s a nervy horse but we got to know each quite quickly,” commented Matt. “He’s a very classy horse. Initially he struggled with collection and the canter pirouette, but in lockdown we focused on the training.
“The freestyle [which scored 75.18%] was probably the best test he’s done. He was nicely in front of the leg and into the contact so he was easy to steer around the test. He becomes more confident with each test.”
Sixteen-year-old Tribiani (S. Landtinus DVH x Landadel) is a seasoned campaigner, having taken his Singaporean owner Caroline Chew to the 2018 World Games and two Pan Asian Games. Tribiani was full of enthusiasm to be back at work with Matt; the pair won Friday’s inter II and were second to Durable in Sunday’s grand prix.
“He hated lockdown as he’s such a workaholic,” said Matt. “He felt really well. He’s a fantastic horse who owes us nothing.”
Genie hits every beat
Andrew Gould and Genie I won Saturday’s PSG, but a mistake in the rein-back put them into second in the inter I. The nine-year-old Zhivago stallion is owned by Tatiana Skillman and has been training with Andrew since November 2019.
“He’s the most amazing horse in the arena. I’ve only done a few competitions with him and we’ve had 35°C heat, storms and torrential rain and he doesn’t miss a beat,” enthused Andrew. “His PSG was a nice clear round and he got nines for his three-time changes. Once we’ve had time to really know each other I’ll be able to ask for even more.”
It was Anna Jesty and Flow Motion who pipped Andrew in the inter I. In just 18 months, Anna has brought the nine-year-old Furstenball gelding on from medium to his present level.
“He’s a very cheeky horse who likes to have an opinion,” said Anna, who benefited from online training with Anna Ross during lockdown.
“Last year he exploded in the outdoor here but on Saturday, despite the rain and wind, he was nicely off my leg so I could really get stuck into the test.”
Sara Garvie is a dedicated amateur rider who was thrilled to record a personal best of over 66% on her Ricardos gelding Ri Alto to win Sunday’s inter II.
“He was more relaxed as he’d been in the arena the previous day,” commented Sara. “He doesn’t find the work easy so I’m very proud of him.”
Sara has been supplementing online lockdown training with South African grand prix coach Natalie Hobday with test-riding help from Sue McMahon and support from Swedish rider Josefin Gyllensward.
A clear round
Friday’s mammoth PSG class was split into two sections. Eilidh Grant has established a good partnership in the two years she has owned Mount St John Doornroos II (Gribaldi x Rheingau), known as Ellie.
“Ellie’s not been out since March but although she felt hot in the test, she didn’t make mistakes,” said Eilidh, who gained the qualification scores she needed for Keysoe’s international show.
Eilidh also placed second in the inter I freestyle and eighth in Sunday’s grand prix with her other ride, Eranda Retto. “I’m so proud of her as she’s not a typical grand prix horse but she has the best attitude in the world,” said Eilidh.
Caitlin Burgess and Chocotof demonstrated their “party piece” half-passes and flying changes to win the other PSG section.
“He’s a very big character who likes to be the centre of attention,” said Caitlin, who works for Henriette Andersen. “He was super in the PSG as he’s really started to try more in the arena. He used to be tricky and make my life difficult but not any more.”
A Team effort
When Anna Ross realised she would not be able to support her pupils at Bury Farm because of restrictions in the number of helpers, she quickly put in an entry for herself with Newton Domino.
After her win in the PSG freestyle, Anna claimed: “I can take no credit – Daniel Bremner has done a superb job training her, Tony Hobden of Equidance delivered a super last-minute music programme on Friday and Beth Bainbridge did the floor plan. I sat on top and had a lovely time.”
Hmm. We’re not sure it was quite that easy, Anna!
Ref Horse & Hound; 10 September 2020