As torrential rain closed some of the outside rings at Stafford showground and some competitors prepared to jump through the night again at the Scope Festival (also happened 2009), Bryony Ward celebrated her second win of the week riding Rowan Willis and Samantha Gibbins’s Hai Que Fabulosa (Bella).
After winning the British novice championship at Bingley Hall two days earlier, Hai Que Fabulosa produced two stunning rounds to clinch the coveted Equiport five-year-old title on Wednesday.
“This is by far the biggest track we have ever attempted. The first round looked massive and I was happy to have cleared the first few fences,” said Bryony, who was given the Utah mare to break a year ago when no-one got on with her.
“She was a typical chestnut mare who would bite and kick, and she was very cold backed at first.”
Bryony spent two weeks on a one-to-one basis just lunging, long reining and getting to know the mare.
“I then put the saddle on, leaned over her back and away she went,” explained Bryony.
Bryony’s mother Hayley owns Liscombe Park Equestrian Centre, near Leighton Buzzard, and works full time riding, breaking, selling and doing some private teaching.
“I like to vary horses’ routine and tend to concentrate on ground work only at home,” added Bryony. “Bella enjoys a mixture of hacking and lots of turnout.
She can be a bit quirky, and tends to buck a lot when she’s on form, but it’s high spirits not naughtiness. She’s out of a pony mare so we have to watch her feed as she soon puts weight on.”
Bella suffers from sensitive feet, which initially proved quite a test for the farrier.
“We have found glue on front shoes work best and she isn’t shod behind,” said Bryony, who first competed Bella at Hickstead last year. “I substituted Bella for an injured four-year-old I had entered and she jumped a class a day for just two fences down all week.”
She concluded: “Although she really loves competing, I didn’t expect two wins here.”