Showjumpers in the Channel Islands enjoy the return of competition, while one horse and his rider bounce back from a car accident
Guernsey, Channel Islands
Riders across Britain have lost many shows to the pandemic, and competitors in Guernsey will have only two affiliated shows this year.
The first competition since lockdown was relaxed has just taken place and proved a triumph for Sarah Jackson, who rode her mare Follyfoot Arkadia to victory in the 1.10m open and grand prix. The latter class was run over three rounds, with fences in the jump-off set at around 1.25m.
Sarah’s life is centred around horses. “I’m an instructor at my parents’ riding school,” she explained. “I was planning to take Arkadia to the mainland this year – we were qualified for the 1.15m members’ cup final at the nationals – but that’s gone out of the window. Although there are currently no coronavirus cases here and restrictions have been lifted, if we leave the island we have to self-isolate for 14 days on our return.”
Sarah got nine-year-old Arkadia, by Arko III, three years ago. “I was very lucky to find her because she’s so special,” she said. “We have a real connection. She also has great bloodlines and I’d love to breed from her in the future.”
Bury Farm, Bucks
After both suffered serious injuries when hit by a car in 2016, Jodie Elliott and Anakin successfully returned to competition and jumped numerous clear rounds at Bury Farm’s three-day show. The 15-year-old gelding sustained a fractured hind leg in the accident; Jodie was left with a broken hip, pelvis and elbow.
“Anakin wasn’t happy just living in the field, so I tried hacking him last summer and he felt really good,” commented Jodie, who runs a hunter and livery yard in East Yorkshire with her aunt. “He’ll never be able to do too much and I’m being careful, but I can’t believe I have him back again.”
South View, Cheshire
Galloping grandma Anna de Verteuil made her trip from Buckinghamshire to Cheshire for South View’s three-day show well worthwhile, with three wins and several placings on her two horses.
Anna travelled here mainly to try to get double clears towards a place at her favourite show, Aintree’s national amateur championships, but she also took the veteran rider classes by storm, winning both on her 19-year-old mare Bonita II.
Bonita came to Anna by chance. “She arrived on sales livery at the end of 2018 and I knew it would be hard to find a new home for an 18hh 17-year-old who hadn’t competed for six years,” said Anna. “I took her to a couple of shows to try to get her a current record, and liked her so much that my sister, Jane Dexter, offered to buy her for me. She’s an awesome horse with the biggest heart in the world.”
Jane also had a hand in Anna’s other top ride, Victory II. “She owned him and had no one to ride him for her, so she gave him to me,” said Anna. “I am so lucky to have my sister.”
Anna runs a livery and sales yard, mainly to pay for competing. “I love showjumping, so I work really hard all week to have fun at shows.”
Codham Park, Essex
Darren Wise and Midnight Time returned to competition after lockdown with a win in the 1.30m open at Codham Park’s first show since restrictions were eased.
The Essex centre has proved popular with many top riders, and Darren was impressed. “They’re nice people with good facilities and the courses were well up-to-height,” he said. “When I saw that Laura and John Renwick use shows here to get their horses going, I knew the venue would be OK. I’m going to bring young horses to the next show.”
Darren shares the ride on 13-year-old Midnight Time with the horse’s owner, Aniela Jurecka. “She usually does amateur classes in the winter and I have him for the summer,” explained Darren.
Midnight Time may step up a level soon. “He’s an easy ride and a really brave horse who always tries his hardest, but he’s been backing up my top ride Calaero until now,” said Darren. “Although he’s still fit and wants to do the job, Calaero is 19 now, so it’s time to find out what Midnight Time can really do.”
Darren, who keeps his horses on a yard near London, is currently regrouping, and new owner Andrea Purdie has invested in young horses for him to ride.
“They’re very nice and I’m extremely grateful, but they’ve only just had their shoes back on after lockdown,” said Darren. “Horses cost the same to keep when they’re doing nothing, so it’s time for them to start to pay Andrea back.”
Chard Equestrian, Somerset
Chloe Reynolds finished a rainy weekend at the British Showjumping Area 48 show at Chard in style by taking the top two places in the 1.30/1.40m handicap with Grenadier Volo and Quantify.
Chard is the most local venue for Somerset-based Chloe, who celebrated her 22nd birthday a week before this show. “We used to live beside the showground and we’re still only 45 minutes away,” she said.
Both horses have been star rides for Chloe and have taken her to many major finals. Grenadier Volo, the 2017 national six-year-old champion, was bought from Nick Benterman as a three-year-old.
“We were on our way home from Horse of the Year Show [HOYS] with our ponies; I saw a video of him and bought him straight away. We didn’t even see him,” explained Chloe, who has produced the nine-year-old Numero Uno gelding to grade A.
Twelve-year-old Quantify lives with owner Jancey Wembridge, who delivers her to shows for Chloe to ride. The Dutch-bred daughter of Quantum was a broodmare until autumn 2018, when Jancey started her at British novice level. Chloe took over at the beginning of 2019 and rode Quantify in last year’s HOYS grade C final.
“I’ll take them both to the national championships and they can then have a quiet time while I concentrate on young horses,” explained Chloe, who currently has eight in work at the Kudos Stables she runs with her mother Jane.
“The youngsters have been set to one side since lockdown was relaxed and it’s time for them to get going,” she said.
This week in numbers
3 wins for amateur rider Megan White at Brook Farm
170 starters at Richmond EC’s amateur show
2 wins for Rebecca Keery at Newbold Verdon, a new BS venue in Leicestershire
1 & 2 places for Sammie Coffin in the 1.30m open at Colraine
40 show dates this week
Ref Horse & Hound; 6 August 2020