Eventing highlights: One horse bounces back from a foot problem and more *H&H Plus*

  • A horse who has had foot problems comes through to take a novice

    Launceston (1), Cornwall

    Georgina Ewell won “the only novice in Cornwall” on eight-year-old Kilcoltrim Jacko. The 21-year-old, who has just finished an equine science and business degree at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, added two cross-country time-faults to her dressage mark of 25.

    “This is his first affiliated win – he has been on the verge of a good result for a while, but stupid errors on my part or green mistakes on his have meant it hasn’t happened,” said Georgina.

    The Jack Of Diamonds 17.2hh gelding has occasional bouts of time off with foot problems, so this was a particularly pleasing success. Georgina hopes to step up to two-star and then intermediate level before the end of the season.

    She praised the “lovely, level” dressage arenas, which are on the pitches at Launceston rugby club, the extended showjumping arena and warm-up and the flowing cross-country course, designed by Lucy McCarthy and built by the Willis brothers.

    Organiser Andy Reeve said: “We didn’t have a single complaint about anything. It’s a beautiful event in a wooded valley with the backdrop of 10th-century Launceston Castle, and only lacked one thing this year – spectators. We normally get around 3,000 of them, but you couldn’t get a venue more suitable for social distancing.”

    After considerable balloting for this single-day event, Andy has secured a two-day fixture on 29 to 30 August, and hopes to see more riders from “up country” make the journey.

    Aston-le-Walls (3), Northants

    Trudy Johnson had the perfect restart to her eventing season, with two wins at Aston-le-Walls (3). She took the open novice on 14-year-old Reggae Man and novice section M on Catch Me If You Can.

    “It would have been amazing to win with one of them – for them both to do so is taking time to sink in!” she said. “And both of them led after dressage and finished on those marks [24.8 and 26.3 respectively].”

    Trudy admitted she had “been working hard” during lockdown with both horses. “I set myself the challenge of doing the Badminton CCI5* test on Reggae Man – I rode through it at the beginning of lockdown and my husband filmed it. I worked through different exercises I found on the internet, then on Badminton weekend I put on my tailcoat, plaited up and rode through it again.”

    Had she improved? “Yes, I think so!”

    Trudi was very complimentary about the smoothness with which the Aston-le-Walls fixture ran. “I’d like to think some of the new rules could become permanent, such as sticking to your allotted times and the extra space and reduced numbers in the warm-ups,” she said.

    Warwick Hall (3), Cumbria

    Having finished first and second in novice sections at Warwick Hall (3) in 2019, Amy Roberts very nearly pulled off the same result this year. She won novice section J on Fruitloop on her dressage score of 24.8 and finished fifth in section L with Lionheart.

    “If I hadn’t had the final jump down, Lionheart would have been second,” rued Amy. “Last year he won and Fruitloop was second.”

    Eight-year-old Fruitloop, named because of his behaviour when Amy was breaking him in, has been consistently placed but this was his first win at novice level. “He was dressage and showjumping-bred [by Fidertanz], but he’s really good at eventing and always makes the time,” said Amy, who trains with Caroline Moore, Chris Bartle and Becky Moody. Both horses will tackle the CCI2*-S at Burgham next month.

    Ref Horse & Hound; 30 July 2020