Philippa Skelton and Brian Boru III are the NAF Five Star BE80 Champions for 2022 after three days of fantastic competition at Bramham International Horse Trials in Yorkshire.
Philippa Skelton and Brian Boru III are the NAF Five Star BE80 Champions for 2022 (image, Adam Fanthorpe)
Some of the country’s most talented grassroots horses and riders lined up for this year’s Championship, having qualified at BE events across the UK. The first two days of the competition were dedicated to the precision of the dressage, with each combination performing their test against the stunning backdrop of Bramham Park. Helen White and EPA Murray took an early lead after this phase, with a score of 29.0. Amelia Maycock and Carnsdale Ghostbuster were lying a close second on a score of 29.5 and the eventual winner, Philippa Skelton and Brian Boru III, just 0.3 penalties behind them in third on a score of 29.8.
With less than 10 penalties separating the entire field after dressage, there was plenty to play for heading into the final day of the competition, with the show jumping and cross country tests to come. The team at Bramham had done a wonderful job and the courses looked fabulous, especially the cross country course which had been beautifully dressed and ran alongside some of the 4* international fences.
With the leaderboard so close, clean sheets were the order of the day and Emily Gaskell and Callowfeenish Cailin set an early standard. They had been lying in fourth place after dressage and, as just the third combination to take on the courses, they sailed round to get a double clear and no time faults. This left them on a score of 30.0 and very much put the pressure on those above them.
By the time Philippa and Brian Boru III came to take on the cross country, they were the only combination that could deny Emily and Callowfeenish Cailin the win. They needed to come home clear inside the time – just one second over the optimum time would have moved them outside of the top three. The pair had the round of their lives and came home to finish on their dressage score of 29.8 and to be crowned the NAF Five Star BE80 Champions.
Philippa Skelton and Brian Boru III on the cross country (image, Adam Fanthorpe)
“It was definitely a meaty course but I had the best ride I’ve ever had,” said Philippa. “He was absolutely amazing.
“I was really worried lying in bed in the lorry last night thinking about the drop fence, but all my friends told me just to kick on and sit back and actually it jumped really well.
“It’s just the best venue ever. I’ve come from Bristol. It was a long journey, around five hours, but worth every minute because everyone has just been amazing.”
Emily Gaskell and Callowfeenish Cailin took the runner up spot and another super jumping performance moved Nicky Tyrrell and Petlin Jessica into third, finishing on their dressage score of 30.1.
The top three with BE Chief Executive, Helen West (image, Adam Fanthorpe)
Full results available here.
For more details of how you can qualify for the 2023 NAF Five Star BE80 Championships at Bramham, click here.