Showjumping highlights: A relaxed show atmosphere benefits one horse and more *H&H Plus*

  • A promising eight-year-old benefits from a more relaxed show atmosphere

    Chard Equestrian, Somerset

    Bethanie Knight made two journeys to Chard from her base near Southampton, and went home with a 1.30m win, plus third places in 1.20m and 1.30/1.40m classes riding Topmodel Van Overis Z.

    “It was our first show since February and I’m a bit surprised because Topmodel usually needs a lot of shows before she relaxes,” said Bethanie. “I think the quieter atmosphere suited her perfectly. I enjoyed it too and I wish shows would stay the same once we are back to normal! Chard was a bit further than we’d usually travel to a show for a day, but it was so nice that we’ll be back again.”

    Eight-year-old Topmodel had just stepped up to 1.40m level in Spain when lockdown began. “I’m hoping to go back to Oliva Nova in October and that I can continue her progression. She has a really good brain, so she should go a long way,” said Bethanie, 22, who has been riding for Tony and Fiona Newbery’s Ashbourne Stables for four years. “I hope I’m still there in another four. I love it,” she said.

    Weston Lawns, Warks

    Showjumping returned here with two well-attended shows, and local rider Danielle Farnsworth made her return to action a winning one by heading a competitive 1.40m class on Jemilla.

    Danielle got the ride on Shelagh and Richard Morley’s home-bred 14-year-old mare in November last year. The daughter of Mill Law was previously a top eventer and competed for Ireland at the Rio Olympics with Mark Kyle.

    “She’s a lovely horse and finished her eventing career very sound, so the Morleys thought she might like to do another job,” said Danielle. “I can’t actually believe what a good showjumper she is. She’s a big mare at 17.2hh and she’s incredibly scopey and careful. I think she has the talent to do even bigger things.”

    Jemilla lives with her owners and Shelagh hacks her out. “I meet her at shows or she comes to me a few days beforehand,” said Danielle, who moved from Nottinghamshire to a new Warwickshire base in December.

    “It’s been a stressful time. I’ve been sent new horses, but it’s very difficult to make a plan,” she said. “I’d love to go abroad, but I’m a bit apprehensive. My last show was in Spain. We were there for a week and everything was then cancelled and we had to come home. It was an expensive trip.”

    Adam Botham and his team enjoyed success at Weston Lawns winning all three classes they contested on Thursday and returning in the same form on Saturday. “We’ve spent a lot of time training at home and it seems to have paid off,” said Adam, who has a big team of trainees.

    Adam’s own wins included a 1.30m open on his own nine-year-old PLS Castello (Elvis). “I bought Elvis during lockdown, as a girl I was teaching rode him and his owner decided to sell,” he said. “I’d always liked him, so I bought him. I think he’ll go on to jump bigger classes.”

    Adam is hoping Elvis will be second horse to his new grand prix ride Galaxcy IX, who was bought from Jake Saywell by Barbara Hester.

    “Barbara’s one of my pupils and she wants to enjoy watching Galaxcy doing big classes with me,” explained Adam. “I’ve never had a top horse to ride before that wasn’t for sale, so it’s really exciting.”

    Bury Farm, Bucks

    Bumble Thomas is a great supporter of Bury Farm, and she scored two good wins at the first show at the centre since lockdown was eased. After heading the 1.20m open on yard favourite Quantum Treat, Bumble completed her double in the main 1.30m class with Ciandro.

    Bumble got 13-year-old Dutch-bred Ciandro at the end of 2015. “He’s hugely talented and has all the ability. but he isn’t always the easiest and I’ve really had to learn how to ride him,” she said.

    Quantum Treat, now 14, has been with Bumble since his British novice days in 2011. “He’s the sweetest horse in the world and a little winner. The best thing about him is that no matter what you ask, he tries his heart out,” she said.

    Bumble currently has 11 horses in work and has been extremely busy as a coach.

    Allens Hill, Worcs

    Hereford-based accredited coach Emma Slater took time off from teaching to win the 1.30m open at Allens Hill’s first outdoor show of the new season.

    Emma’s ride was CFS Roys Flamenco, an Irish-bred gelding by Je T’Aime Flamenco out of a Quidam De Revel mare. “He came to me when he was six to see how far he could go,” said Emma. “He’s a lovely horse. He’s rideable, adores his job and has lots of character. He was qualified for the Foxhunter second rounds and I’m gutted that they aren’t happening because I think he’d have had a decent chance.”

    Like every other rider, Emma is finding it hard to make a plan. “I’d love to go to the national championships if they go ahead, but living where I do, it would be hard to find any shows to get to beforehand,” she explained. “However, I’m moving to a yard nearer Gloucester at the end of this month, which should make things easier.”

    The time spent away from shows has had one benefit. “We ended up running virtual training camps and my technological skills have improved hugely. It’s been a big learning curve,” she said.

    Ref Horse & Hound; 16 July 2020