Alongside the Young Horse championships and international competition, there were three The Howden Way Youth Championship titles up for grabs at Cornbury House International Horse Trials this weekend for juniors and under-21 riders.
Elizabeth Barrett and her 15-year-old schoolmaster gelding Dargun were clear winners of the CCI-S Y3*, finishing on their dressage score of 25.3, over six points clear of runner up Jemima Stratton and Global Exotic.
“I was absolutely delighted with him,” said Elizabeth. “He’s not been the easiest horse to ride. I was quite inexperienced when I got him and he’s not the most straightforward of characters but we’ve really built a partnership this last year and he tried really hard for me at Cornbury. I’ve had him just over two years but due to the hard ground last season, we didn’t get him out much, so we haven’t done a lot together, but was he has done has surpassed all our expectations.
“He is a very experienced event horse and had done 4* with Piggy March and then was with Emily King who took him to Badminton. We’ve struggled with the show jumping as, if I’m not on it the whole time, he takes advantage, so we take him schooling somewhere different before an event to give him a jump and these last few runs, we’ve really come together in the show jumping. He is a schoolmaster on the flat and knows his job cross country. We’re hoping to do our first three star at Osberton and then he’ll have a break before training over the winter.”
Another combination to finish well clear of their nearest opponents were CCI-S J2* winners Alex Connors and OLS King Aragon (pictured above). The pair from Ireland added just 0.4 time in the show jumping to their 28.5 dressage to finish on 28.9, 4.6 points clear of Clementine Crosthwaite Eyre and Lyjador.
“I was very happy – he was amazing,” said Alex. “He was so good in the dressage and gave me his all. In the show jumping, we’ve had a few problems in the past, but he was brilliant and we only had a small time penalty. In the cross country, he powered on and flew round.
“The event was more than we could ever have imagined. The course was super and the view of the house was amazing. They were great hosts and everything looked brilliant.”
OLS King Aragon is a homebred: “Cathal Daniels produced him and then my sister Zara Nelson rode him and took him to the Young Rider Europeans at Hartpury last year,” added Alex. “I got him in October last year.
“He’ll have a bit of a break now and then we’ll show jump over the winter and aim for the Europeans next year.”
The Pony Trial was won by Ella Howard and Colemanstown Rocket (pictured above) who pulled off a super double clear to finish on their 30.8 dressage score. The pair have had a brilliant season, winning three of their events, made all the more special by the fact that Rocket recovered from colic surgery only last year.
“We’ve had him six years, since he was four and I was nine, so we’ve grown up and gone through the levels together,” said Ella. “Last year he had colic surgery and we very nearly lost him. The vets called and told us to go and say our goodbyes, but we chose to operate and thank goodness we did as he has come back better than ever. We’ll go to Osberton next, and looking ahead, we’ve got the Europeans in our sights for next year.
“I’d like to thank The Howden Way for the amazing prizes and lovely event. I’m also on Tier 2 of The Howden Way Youth Talent Academy and have had a lot of support and training with trainers who I would never have met otherwise.”
To see the full results, please click here
To find out more about The Howden Way Talent Pathway, click here
Photos by Peter Nixon