Fresh from last year’s U23 British Championship Final, it was a Ward one, two at the first Qualifier of the 2014 Dodson & Horrell and the World Class Programme British Championship series at the weekend (11 January 2014).
Hosted at Bury Farm, Buckinghamshire, nineteen riders came forward to contest the class (which is open to riders aged 23 years or under). The course proved a challenge for some in the first round, with only eight combinations jumping clear rounds to progress through to the jump-off. The hotly-contested jump-off saw fast rounds produced by all eight riders, but saw only two double clears from Cheshire’s Emily Ward and East Yorkshire’s Scarlett Ward.
2012 U23 British Championship winner, Emily with her 2013 finalist Wild Rose II, owned by Nick Ward, again showed their skill with a double clear in a fast time of 33.13 seconds, setting the bar at the start of the jump-off.
Runner-up of the 2013 Final at the London International Horse Show, Olympia, Scarlett with Mr Peter Ward and Mrs Jill Willows’ Milena 8 produced yet another impressive performance, posting a superb clear round to take second on 38.52 seconds. Zoe Adams (Satonamillion) finished third, with Emma O’Dwyer (HHS Acorada) fourth, Graham Gillespie (Zorland) fifth and Laura Robinson (Cree Cruiser) sixth.
Through the qualifiers and an accumulation of points, riders aim to qualify for the final, which takes place at the London International Horse Show, Olympia in December.
There was a total prize fund of £1650 for the qualifier, and Training Vouchers to the value of £725.00 awarded to the first six prize-winning riders currently eligible for British Team Selection.
The Championships are supported by feed manufacturer Dodson and Horrell and by the World Class Development Programme. The Development Programme is funded by Lottery and Exchequer funds via UK Sport; the Programme seeks to identify and develop talented athletes who have shown the potential to reach the world stage.
Dodson & Horrell has a long history of support in equestrian sports across all levels, from its sponsorship of Riding Club and Pony Club events, over 25 years of support for Point-to-Point racing to title sponsorship of the iconic Chatsworth International Horse Trials. As Royal Warrant holder and official supplier of nutrition to Equestrian Team GBR, Dodson & Horrell will play a pivotal advisory role in the lead up to next year’s WEG, Normandy and the 2016 Rio Olympics.