Showjumping highlights: ‘She thinks there’s nothing she can’t jump’ *H&H Plus*

  • Lily Beveridge takes the seven-year-old championship on a bold mare, while Laura Mantel is on winning form

    Chard Equestrian, Somerset

    “She thinks she’s 17.2hh and should go to the Olympics,” said Lily Beveridge after riding Solsboro Ziva to victory in the seven-year-old championship at Chard’s three-day show.

    The 15.2hh Irish-bred mare who began her career with Holly Smith arrived at Lily’s Hampshire yard two years ago and Lily has produced her from discovery level. Their next outing will be in the Foxhunter and talent seekers qualifiers at Pyecombe.

    “I’ve never ridden one with so much self-belief and she thinks there’s nothing she can’t jump, so I’m happy to go along with her!” said Lily, who currently has three horses to jump, plus seven home-bred young horses to bring on.

    “They’re all out of mares who jumped at 1.40m level and by good stallions, so I don’t mind waiting,” she said.

    Lily’s win stopped Laura Mantel from enjoying a clean sweep of young horse finals at this popular centre. It was a close-run thing, as Laura produced the fastest time in the seven-year-old jump-off at the expense of a pole down with MHS Alabama.

    Laura’s five-year-old champion was Kosmos A, a Dutch-bred son of Arezzo VDL who was at only his seventh show and is among the string of young horses she is riding for John and Laura Renwick.

    “He arrived at my yard at the beginning of lockdown and he has the most unbelievable brain. He’s like a horse who’s been here before in a youngster’s body and we’re all very excited about him,” said Laura, who took the six-year-old honours on Aurora X.

    Aurora is the third generation of the Renwicks’ breeding – she is by Typhoon X out of their home-bred For Pleasure mare Little Pleasure, who jumped at 1.40m.

    “She’s the sort of horse everyone wants. She’s a real winner and tries so hard,” said Laura, who added to her tally at this show with three 1.30m wins on Maverick. “This is the first time I’ve been to a stay-away show at Chard. The facilities are great and the people couldn’t have been nicer.”

    New partnership on song

    When her horse was out of action, Lara Thomas decided to look for another, and her trainer Carrie Bryant suggested that she try JB Milan.

    The nine-year-old had a chequered history. “He was talented but very difficult. When I tried him there was something about him, so we bought him,” said Lara, who keeps her horses in Windsor.

    Milan has now been with her for a month and at their first show together at Cherwell, the new pairing won the British novice and discovery classes.

    “I was very nervous because I had a lesson just before the show and fell off twice. I rode at Cherwell with broken knuckles and he was perfect,” said Lara, who thinks Milan has a good future ahead of him.

    “I’m going to concentrate on keeping him happy and getting our British novice and discovery double clears before trying anything bigger. He loves jumping and his problem is that he’s so careful that I can’t afford to make a mistake.”

    Morris EC, Ayrshire

    With shows now back on the map in Scotland after lockdown, competitors flocked to Morris EC for two days of competition. Lucy Stewart was one of the stars of the show, winning both 1.30m classes on Cancun II.

    Lucy has travelled some long distances recently from her home in Ayr. She won three 1.20m classes at Arena UK in July and enjoyed a great national championships, with numerous placings.

    “It’s fantastic to have a show at a local centre and so nice to see so many riders supporting it. The centre owners certainly need and deserve the support,” she said.

    Lucy and Cancun have been together since the end of 2015 and their wins have included the 2018 silver league final at Horse of the Year Show and the national amateur 1.10m championship the same season.

    She fits her four horses in with working full time and running her own equestrian retail business. “I’m on furlough, so I’ve been able to concentrate on riding, but I think I’ll be back to work within the next fortnight,” she added.

    Codham Park Equestrian, Essex

    Danielle Dickson and eight-year-old Samarai CS had a terrific show at Codham Park, where they won the 1.30m and 1.40m classes.

    “The weather was boiling, but he was fantastic,” said Danielle, who runs her own yard in Colchester.

    Danielle bought the British-bred son of Warrior from his breeders, Vicky and Adrian Evans, as an unbroken four-year-old and has produced him herself.

    “I feel really privileged to own him. He’s so brave and I’ve never had horse before that tries so hard,” she said.

    The sky is the limit for Danielle and Samarai. “He jumped in the seven-year-old final at Valkenswaard last July, which I later found out was 1.45m, so I would love to jump him in some more two-star international classes,” said Danielle. “I’ve also always wanted to do the Hickstead Derby and this could be the horse to take me there, but my absolute dream would be a place on a Nations Cup team.”

    Danielle also produces young horse for dressage and competes Samarai’s half-sister in that discipline. “When I bought Samarai, I had no expectations and I would have been happy to jump a 1.20m class,” she said. “Now I’m thinking about ranking classes, but he’s the easiest horse ever. As long as he has food, he’s happy!”

    Back in business

    Chelsea Skelton’s first outing for nine months resulted in two wins at her local centre, Willow Banks. After heading the Foxhunter on Homerus, she took the honours in the day’s major 1.25m/1.35m class with Caramba.

    “I dislocated my shoulder in a fall in November, so I turned all the horses away for a proper break,” she said. “Since they came in, I’ve been trying to get them fit. Caramba looked like a Thelwell pony. He was as wide as he was tall!”

    Chelsea is now looking forward to 2021. “I’ve decided to concentrate on getting double clears for next season. I can’t see the point of chasing round the big shows that are coming up because my horses aren’t ready. We’ve tended to keep going over the summer and winter seasons in the past and I think a really decent break has done them good.”

    Ref Horse & Hound; 27 August 2020