Oldencraig, Surrey, 28 April
Featuring riders Chloe Wren, Beccy Whitcombe, Alice Collins, Sharon Edwards, Anna Kempner, Georgina Howard, Lee-Anne Baily, Kate Tarrant, Linnea Aarflot, Tracy Schifano, Alexis Ross, Linda Walsh and Luarn Waller-Dunn.
THE CAST not the play lent interest to PSG performances. It included a young rider recently returned from Germany, a local saddler making her small tour debut and a national magazine journalist. Chloe Wren, 20, has recently returned to Essex after a two-year stint based with Markus Gribbe in Germany. Chloe is on a mission to quietly ease talented, but often tense, grand prix horse Luderitz back into competition. In his heyday the now 18-year-old Holstein was competed at big tour by Michel Assouline and later took rider Bobby Hayler to Aachen and Saumur.
Chloe also competed her beautiful seven-year-old prospect Egalina de Luxe scoring 67.9% and 66.17% in the elementaries. The 16.1hh San Amour x Depardieu mare was bought at the Elite Oldenburg auction last October, see photo top. Describing her, Chloe said: “She’s hot but she has a good brain. I was pleased with both our tests, although we’re still working on obedience. She was really good where she excels. Her highlights are her trot and her walk but she loses marks in canter because she’s not yet able to balance herself. She’s elegant but skinny and it’s taking a long time to build up her muscle."
Beccy Whitcombe, who represents Sue Carson Saddles in the South of England, brought along Dimaggio Delight to make their PSG debut. She said: “I was pleasantly surprised that we weren’t bottom of the class and I was pleased with ‘Bert’s’ changes because that’s what we’ve spent the last three years getting right. They’ve always been explosive. Then last year year I had a lesson with Spencer Wilton and he suggested it could be a back problem. A bone scan at the Newmarket Equine Hospital showed that he had just one ‘kissing spine’. It was medicated and he’s been getting steadily better but we continue to monitor the situation."
Horse & Hound's Alice Collins, when not writing about top dressage, is not afraid to get into the arena and put her money where her mouth is. Although she expressed herself emphatically "underwhelmed" by her PSG score, she and10-year-old Faconnable produced an 67.3% advanced medium 91 to win the qualifier overall. “Fab” is by Nicky Barrett’s former ride Faberge out of a Rubels mare. Bought by Alice as a foal, she grew to become both less and a lot more than she expected. The mare’s petite size, 15.1hh, comes with a huge personality.
Alice commented: “She inherited her dam’s naughty gene, but she’s so much fun. I can gallop her on the beach, ride her bareback in a head collar and dump her in the field to make new friends when I take her on holiday. She can get strong in tests and then we can end up at loggerheads. In the advanced medium I was able, as my trainer Keith Robertson would say, to ‘let it go’ — otherwise I think ‘I must make it look pretty’ and over-control.”
Gold winner, popular local trainer Sharon Edwards, extracted a 66.02% test 91 from her mother Jenny’s Rivaal, although he stood up and boxed at one point. She laughed: “He can be spectacularly naughty in warm-ups but rarely misbehaves in the arena. Today he warmed up like at home and I was thinking, ‘75%? This test is going to be a cracker!’ Instead he became more and more tense because he didn’t want to go where the surface colour changed where they’d watered.”
Trainer and judge Anna Kempner, back out after a break, won the silver test 85 on 66.02% riding 14-year-old Mon Elysee which she co-owns with Jo Curties. She said: “I’ve not been able to compete for a year but we've trained at home. She’s learning tempis — and put a few extra changes in today. It was only her second test at the level but I will probably have to sell her as Jo is moving away. She’s very straight-forward and would make a good young rider horse.”
A mouth-watering Romancier x Hohenstein dark chestnut, entered by his BD number only, turns out to have the provisional name of “Howard’s Mystery”. The Furst Romancier x Hohenstein eight-year-old is the new ride of Georgina Howard. They were the day’s top scorers, with a 76.37% medium 61 and they followed that up with a 73.1% medium qualifier. Georgina commented: “I found him in Denmark and I don’t know what he's done because when I buy a horse I just judge them on what I see. He’s quite little for me; only 16.2hh. I’m used to great big things that you have to put together. His hind leg is stuck underneath him which makes it a lot easier. He’s very capable and giving, but he needs to feel that you’re in control and confident that everything is okay. If you react to something you can immediately feel him tense up; when you let go, you can feel him sigh with relief."
Lee-Anne Baily looked very correct and focused riding two very different horses, the substantial Welsh Section D, Rainhill Merlyn, and the light, elegant but tricky Sandro Hit mare, Sandro’s Star. Both horses were double winners for Lee-Anne at Pachesham last weekend. Sandro’s Star, aka “Poppy”, again picked up the elementary bronze firsts on 70% and 68.82% to round off their regionals qualification in just over a week. Lee-Anne, who manages the yard at Headley Park Farm, is getting married this summer so she
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