Oldencraig, Surrey, 26 February
Featuring riders Natasha Powell-Richards, Hayley Pile, Bryony Whittington, Debbie Taussig, Kim Ware, Charlotte Wickington, Tilly Holland and Lauren Urquhart.

BOTH Natasha Powell-Richards’ ponies gave her star rides on her first visit to Oldencraig. Ten-year-old Bernwode Britvik (Archie) produced an overall winning elementary 53 in the Lake Arena with his best-ever score, 71.02%. Natasha then took her new competition partner, Lara Dyson's glamorous black Dutch-bred Welsh pony stallion, Cyden Oosting Amigo, to make her medium debut claiming second place in the silver test 61. Natasha commented: “They were both amazing. Archie was so rideable! He can warm-up beautifully — doesn’t mind having other horses skimming passed him — but once in the arena he often retreats into his shell and doesn’t want to let go. It was the best feeling I’ve had in a test with him and I was so pleased that the score highlighted that. He listened to me and showed what he can do.”

Natasha has had Archie since he was a foal and has brought him on herself with help from Sarah Dwyer. Natasha added: “Archie’s very sensitive and he hasn’t been easy but Amigo has a very good brain — he just wants to please all the time. You ask and he will always say, ‘yes, I can give that a go’. I only started doing half-pass this year. I had been trying to teach it to Archie but with neither of us knowing what we were doing it’s been quite hard. Amigo is eight but much more experienced and I'm learning a lot so now I can use that to help Archie."

Natasha, 15 this year with two more years in ponies, hopes to do pony tests at Premier Leagues this season

Jane Manley’s Danilo II was making a gentle come-back to competition after careful rehabilitation from a sacroiliac strain. He produced the 72.58% winning silver medium 61 under Hayley Pile following a 69.11% elementary 53 gold section first. The compact Don Frederico nine-year-old Danish warmblood, below, has not competed since June 2016 and contested just a handful of advanced medium classes in the first part of that year.

The Four Elms rider explained: “We noticed subtle changes in his work and the vet found some soreness in the sacroliliac area which was treated by ultrasound, rest and then some therapeutic lungeing over poles. We caught it early and now he’s enjoying his work again and regaining his fitness. His changes are very established and he is more than ready to start doing some advanced mediums but we are taking it steady and will wait until we feel his fitness, strength and suppleness are ready for it.”

Rotherfield, East Sussex-based eventer Bryony Whittington is looking forward to help engaging Burlington Cartier’s brain in the dressage arena this season. The 16.3hh Irish Sports Horse is by a thoroughbred stallion called French Buffet who both raced and showjumped. “‘Carter’ took a lively interest in his surroundings but nevertheless produced a 67.79% second in the elementary 53 silver and a 66.2% bronze first in the medium 61. Bryony commented: “‘Carter’ is a very intelligent type, he’s evented up to novice level but has a reasonable talent for dressage so we thought we’d do a bit of both this season. I think medium will be the better level for him because he needs to have something to think about or he will put in some extra-test moves.”

Debbie Taussig gave Florance a 68.38% warm-up run in the novice 38 qualifier and then stepped up a level to achieve their best score ever in only their second elementary to win the bronze section and the class overall on 70.8%. She said: “I owe a big thank you to Leslie Whipps who I’ve been training with for a year. Everything has to be correct for him and he doesn’t let you move on until you and your horse are ready. We’ve come on by leaps and bounds. He’s let me take things at my own pace and my results have improved because there’s no pressure. She added: “Even though Ronnie is bred as a competition horse, he has a wonderful temperament and he was incredible with some of the clients I introduced him to when I was training for a new career."

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