Eventing highlights: Milnes makes it a double and one pair score a 9.5 dressage *H&H Plus*

  • A 21-year-old stallion who refuses to be retired spearheads Charlotte Milnes’ successful event at Skipton, plus we bring you the best stories from Moreton and Norton Disney, including a 9.5 dressage score

    Skipton (2), North Yorkshire

    Charlotte Milnes found that wins come along like buses when she topped two sections – and finished second in another – at Skipton (2).

    “I’ve been waiting years for a win, so to have a day like this was a dream,” said Charlotte, who headed the BE90open on her 21-year-old “semi-retired” stallion Forinth and a BE80(T) on her mother Jo Milnes’ JD II.

    Forinth was campaigned to advanced level by James Adams before joining the Milnes family’s West End Farm Stud in Yorkshire in 2013 as a schoolmaster and working stallion.

    “He’s still busy at stud, but we’ve been trying to retire him from competing for a while,” explained Charlotte, who now lives in Gloucestershire but often returns home to compete. “It hasn’t worked, though, as every time he sees the lorry on the drive he says, ‘What about me?’ and refuses to be left behind.”

    Both JD II and Carnsdale Show Man, who finished second at BE80(T), are more often ridden by Jo, but on this occasion she watched the action unfold from cross-country control, where she was helping out for the weekend.

    “Mum works at a lot of the events in this area, so I sometimes step in and ride,” explained Charlotte. “But I’m fairly sure she will want to be back in the saddle for the next one.”

    Amy Roberts’ BE90 winner, Apollo, has not always given his owner/rider a smooth ride. Soon after buying the German-bred gelding as a newly backed four-year-old two years ago, Amy sent him back after he repeatedly bolted with her.

    “A few months later I saw him out competing in the Burghley Young Event Horse classes and he had grown up a lot. I’d liked him so much first time around that I bought him back again,” she explained.

    “It took a while to find the keys to him. He had stomach ulcers, which we successfully treated, and I worked out that the bolting happened when we went from trot to canter, so I changed my leg aids and that made a difference, too.”

    Tyler Cassells steered his catch ride, Amanda Hemming’s seven-year-old MC Parco Pete, to a BE100 win.

    “Amanda normally competes him but it was her daughter’s 20th birthday the same weekend, so she asked me to step in,” explained Tyler, who rides the gelding once a month but last competed him in the Burghley Young Event Horse final two years ago.

    The pair’s first-phase mark of 25.5 was the best of the section and they added nothing to it in either of the jumping phases.

    Tyler said of Skipton: “It’s a brilliant event and the old-fashioned, flowing courses always give horses a great education.”

    Moreton (2), Dorset

    A promising young pony stallion ridden by Melissa Joannides clocked up a fourth win at novice level at Moreton (2).

    Seven-year-old Prometheus II (Percy), who is owned by Katy Wise and was bred by her mother, Annabel Blake, finished on his dressage score of 23.3.

    “We bred him from Katy’s old Pony Club pony, A Pinch Of Pepper,” said Annabel, who relayed Percy’s progress at Moreton (2) to her daughter via WhatsApp.

    Percy, who is by the sports pony sire Romulus, is an Elite graded stallion with the Sports Pony Studbook Society. “We decided to keep him entire as he was such a lovely pony. His first foals, who are now two, look like smashing types,” said Annabel.

    Vicky Tuffs’ reward for spending 13 hours on the road on the hottest weekend of the year was three wins and a second from her five rides at Moreton (2).

    Tara Anderson’s Mister Bond II won a novice, while King and Kogola, both five-year-olds making their eventing debuts, headed a BE90 apiece. KMR Cascanessi took second in BE90 section I.

    “Each journey took between three and four hours both ways,” said Vicky, who twice made the trip from her yard in Monmouthshire to the Dorset event.

    Vicky is riding Mister Bond II for his owner while she goes travelling. “He’s a lovely horse and did an amazing dressage test here [he scored 14],” she said. “The plan is to do a couple of two-stars and sell him for her.”

    Of her trio of five-year-old debutants, Vicky added: “They were all mega. I couldn’t fault them.”

    Norton Disney (2), Lincs

    Hannah Atkinson and Icarus won a novice section at Norton Disney (2) with a dressage score of just 9.5.

    The pair capitalised on their test, which included 10s for the medium trot and final centre line and halt, by adding no further penalties in either of the jumping phases.

    “He’s a lovely mover and very sensible, which helps in the dressage,” said Hannah, who runs a riding school in East Yorkshire and is trained by Hannah Moody. “I felt it was a good test, but was amazed at the mark. I thought my mum had misheard when it was announced in the showjumping, but we both heard it as I went into the start box for the cross-country.”

    According to EquiRatings, no horse has finished on a score lower than 10 in the past six years, and of the four combinations who have ever achieved it, none have gone on to finish on a sub-10 score.

    Evie Llewellyn-Smith and the showjumping-bred Darling Deluxe scored their first win in a BE90.

    Evie, an equine science graduate and Pony Club A-test holder, bought the six-year-old mare two years ago from Holly and Graham Smith. She is a full sister to Tabitha Kyle’s ride Grennanstown Sarco Lux Hill, who won the children-on-horses grand prix at Lamprechtshausen last year.

    “Holly helps me with my showjumping and always thought that Darling Deluxe moved well enough to event,” explained Evie, whose aunt, Sandra Betney, stepped in and bought the mare for Evie.

    The pair added 0.8 of a time-penalty on the cross-country to their dressage score of 23.3. “This was our second sub-25 score in two outings, so it’s good to know the work I’ve put into her dressage through lockdown has paid off,” said Evie.

    Ref Horse & Hound; 20 August 2020