Cross country rounded off with the time being extremely influential in the TopSpec CCI4*-S at Bicton International Horse Trials. Laura Collett held onto her lead throughout on London 52, as well as bagging third place on Dacapo.
“I’ve been really chuffed with London’s performance all week, he really is a dream horse to ride and the feel he gave me cross country is the best he ever has, he is totally on song and it’s just so nice to have him out at a big party. He’s been in really good form, so it was good to come and put it all together at an event. The cross country course was fantastic, it was the perfect preparation for Luhmühlen using the hills for a really good fitness run with lots of combinations. You had to get really stuck in and ride the distances and the lines, but he did it really easily. I really appreciate the team here putting on such a good show, they deserve to have all the entries and I will definitely be coming back next year.”
On his character, Laura comments about London 52, “he’s quite a shy horse in the stable, it’s his personal space, but the second he comes out of the stable he loves all of the attention, he’s a proper show off in front of a big crowd!”
This morning saw the final phase of competition for the Chatham CCI3*YR-L where overnight leader Finn Healy kept his cool for a clear round inside the time on Amy Hawley’s Treamble, affectionately known as Amble. Leading since his dressage test on Friday, 18-year-old Finn has shown his class throughout to be crowned Young Rider National Champion.
The 10-year-old mare is sibling to Michael Owen’s second-placed Treworder in the Symonds & Sampson CCI3*-L here at Bicton. “Amble’s been amazing all week. She did a really good dressage test for 24.3. Cross country was a tough track yesterday, Helen used the hills brilliantly and made it a good stamina test. Luckily, she’s full of blood and so ate the course up just a couple of seconds over the time. Today I didn’t have a fence in hand, it was very close up at the top, and she jumped incredibly well. When she came in the arena she lit up with the crowds, knew what she needed to do and I’m just over the moon with her.” The mare was bought by Amy as a three-year-old from Preci Spark Event Horses and was produced by Amy until she was an eight-year-old, competing up to 2* level before being sent to James Avery to ride. Finn started working for Amy, riding three times a week and from there got the ride. “I’m incredibly grateful to Amy for the support, she’s done an amazing job producing Amble and she’s a very special horse.”
The second section to show jump this morning was the Symonds & Sampson CCI3*-L. Again, retaining their lead since the dressage, Gaspard Maksud and Chantilly Amatullah went on to jump clear to win on 25.3. The grey mare was, according to owners Jane Lom and Linda Charlton, actually bred to be an Intermediate Show horse, and was produced by Paul O’Shaughnessy in Ireland. Rumour has it, the semen from Tilly’s sire Abdullah was actually bought in a raffle! Nine-year-old Tilly has quite the support group – Jane and Linda are both very involved with Riding for the Disabled and are always being asked for event updates from the members about the much-loved mare since they bought her over six years ago.
Regarding his win Gaspard commented, “This is my first three-day win, you’ve got all of the top-class riders and horses here as well, so it really means a lot to win. I have only had the mare since March, but she really wants to please, she really tries. She’s such a nice mare, she just really does a good job, I am very happy with her.”
The final section to finish for the day was the Empire Coach Builders CCI2*-L where Phoebe Locke took a late lead when overnight leader Kitty King, who was last to go, had the final fence down. Riding her own Renkumb Jitterbug, the Somerset born eventer has represented GB at five European championships, recently gaining the title of British and European under 21 champion.
The 16.2hh, seven-year-old gelding out of Trijntje by Baloubet Junior Z is part of Phoebe’s string of horses based on her yard in Wiltshire which she recently set up professionally, having previously had her horses on their family yard. Phoebe actually started her equestrian career as a show jumper, but was quickly spotted to have plenty of talent as an eventer and has now made a great name for herself within the eventing world, having competed up to 4*. On her win, Phoebe commented, “It was a little bit unexpected, he’s only seven years old and it’s the first time doing a long format, so I didn’t know how he would be today show jumping after cross country, but he dealt with it really well.” Phoebe remarks fondly about Renkumb Jitterbug “He’s very cuddly and likes lots of attention and treats.”
Wrapping up the week here at Bicton International Horse Trials, Event Director Andrew Fell said, “It was a fantastic week, some of the best top-quality sport in the UK – I think the biggest thing was how much the team worked together. Everyone was here to make it happen and we were blessed with the weather and I’m so proud of what we managed to pull off.”
For full information on the event and results visit www.bicton-arena.co.uk
Images: copyright Hannah Cole