Britain hosted a range of equestrian action this week, with the Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby, Para-Driving FEI World Championships and Para-Equestrian National Championships all taking place over the weekend. Last week also saw The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Test Event put the Normandy site through its paces for the final time ahead of the summer championships.
Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby Meeting, West Sussex
William Funnell and the homebred Billy Mexico won Friday’s feature class, the Bunn Leisure Master's Challenge, after posting a clear jumping round in a quick time of 42.21 seconds. British riders took the top four places in the class, with Matthew Sampson (his own, Eagles Costalot), Jay Halim (Ms J. Goodman’s, Goodman For Fun II) and Henry Turrell (Mr David Holden’s, Billy Comme Ca) finishing in second, third and fourth respectively.
Guy Williams claimed victory in Saturday’s Bunn Leisure Speed Derby, riding Spring Handelsstal Geerink Bv and Dhr. J. Jansen’s 12-year-old gelding, Casper De Muze. Guy produced one of only two clear rounds to finish in a time of 96.36 seconds, more than two seconds faster than second placed Harriet Nuttall on Mr Rupert Nuttall’s Silver Lift.
The Equestrian.com Derby came to a thrilling conclusion after no clear rounds were produced it was left to the competitors who collected the lowest amount of faults from the first round to jump off to decide on final placings. Only two riders went through to jump-off after both taking four faults from the first round, the defending Derby champion, Great Britain’s Phillip Miller, and Ireland’s Trevor Breen.
First in, Miller rode last year’s winner Caritiar Z, owned by Mr N Eccles and Mrs D Cornish, and picked up four faults in a time of 85.19 seconds. Breen also collected four faults in the jump-off but stopped the clock 0.02 seconds ahead of Miller to crown Breen the 2014 champion on Miss Karen Swann’s Adventure De Kannan.
Longines Global Champions Tour, Monaco, France
It was a successful weekend for World number two, Ben Maher, at the sixth leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour. Riding in the Monaco CSI5* 1.45m class Maher took the win on Jane Clarke’s chestnut gelding, Aristo Z, after posting a double clear with a jump off time of 31.61 seconds. The combination followed up their victory with a fourth place in the Monaco CSI5* 1.50/1.55m, finishing with four faults in the jump-off in a fast time of 36.08 seconds.
CSI3* Equiseine Canteleu, France
Britain’s Laura Renwick and Mr J. and Mrs M. Renwick’s bay mare, Roller Coaster, took home second place in the CSI3* 1.35m Prix Escoort class. The combination finished in a time of 59.91 seconds, just 0.67 seconds behind winner Maximillien Lemercier for France on Nemo Du Marais.
UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Development Programme rider, Dan Neilson, partnered Miss Stacy Wilsone’s chestnut gelding, Varo M, to fourth place in the CSI3* 1.60m Grand Prix Region HTE Normandie. A double clear in a jump-off time of 41.05 seconds was enough to secure the combination a top five finish with the win going to France’s Geoffroy De Coligny and Quid Lourviere.
CSI2* Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Test Event, Normandy, France
UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Development Programme rider, Jessie Drea, and Sport England funded BEF Excel Talent Programme rider Holly Gillott, represented Great Britain at last week’s final test event. Drea partnered Lynne Humphries and Equine America’s, Touchable, to a top 15 finish in the 1.45m class, whilst Gillott finished just outside the top 10 in the 1.40m on her own and Graham Smith’s Dougie Douglas.
CIC3* Gillespie Macandrew Hopetoun Horse Trials, Queensferry, Scotland
Nicola Wilson and her London 2012 Olympic horse Opposition Buzz produced an impressive performance at this weekend’s international horse trials in Scotland. Adding just two cross country time faults to their dressage score of 47.6 penalties the combination claimed the win by over seven penalties ahead of Ireland’s Joseph Murphy. Rosemary Search’s Team GBR stalwart, Opposition Buzz, was retired from 4* competition earlier this year but continues to enjoy competing successfully at the lower levels.
CDI3* Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Test Event, Normandy, France
Britain’s Gareth Hughes and Carl Hester took a class a piece at the dressage test event for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games last week. Gareth rode Jane Brewin’s DV Stenkjers Nadonna to victory in Monday’s Grand Prix after scoring an impressive 72.757%, leaving Carl on Mrs J De La Mere and his own, Nip Tuck, in second place on a score of 72.343%. Tuesday saw the tables turn in the Grand Prix Special as it was Carl and Nip Tuck who took top honours with a score of 73.866% whilst Gareth and DV Stenkjers Nadonna filled second place on 73.655%.
Para National Championships, Hickstead, West Sussex
Following 14 qualifying rounds, Britain’s top para-equestrian riders gathered from across the country at the Para National Championships in West Sussex last week. Saturday saw riders competing championship tests in their respective grades where the top scorers then progressed on to the overall championship. Triple gold medallist from the London 2012 Olympic Games, Sophie Christiansen followed up her 2013 National Para Championship title by again taking the accolade on her own Janeiro 6.
There were wins across the other grades for World Class riders Lee Pearson (GIb), Natasha Baker (GII) and Sophie Wells (GIV), whilst Sport England funded BEF Excel Talent Programme rider Heather Bennett took first place in the Grade III Open Championship.
FEI Para-Driving World Championships, Sandringham, Norfolk
Great Britain picked up fourth place in the team event of the Para-Driving Championships this weekend. Britain’s Lucy Barclay and Mick Ward also took top placings in the individual competitions, with Lucy taking fourth in the Grade I and Mick winning bronze in the Grade II tests. Great Britain finished on a team score of 264.91 points with Germany taking gold on a score of 227.07 points.
There was more success for GB as The HRH Princess Haya Hand-in-Hand Trophy – a pairs competition for one para-equestrian driver teamed with one able-bodied driver – was won by Team GBR’s Lindsey Tyas Paice and Ireland’s Barry Capstick.