Congratulations to ECCTG’s eventers who put in strong performances at the BRC National Horse Trials Championships to take home an individual second and a team 7th.
The 100+ team – consisting of Abi Unwin on Lunar Vision, Sophie Jones on Diamond Rick, Nicki Toomer on Daytona and Lucy Watson on Tanpits Unicum – nearly got reduced to a team of three when Lucy’s box broke down on route but thankfully all four were presented and passed at the first trot up on Friday morning. Four solid dressage tests put the team in 3rd overnight and Abi’s early lead in her arena was only scuppered right as the last rider pushed her into 2nd.
As the sun continued to beam down on Saturday, our sole individual representative in the 90 competition – Hannah Barnett on Welton Chillipepper – completed a very accurate and polished dressage test for a score of 30. Unfortunately this was a very hotly contested section and with one pole down in the show jumping Hannah was a little way down the order at the end of Saturday.
The 100+ team rode in the heat of the day on Saturday afternoon, completing the roads and tracks and cross country phases to show how well prepared all their horses were for this long format event. Abi and Nicki finished inside the time (thanks to some very careful judgement of speed towards the end of the course) and Sophie added just 0.4 time penalties (thanks also to careful judgement after a slight watch mishap). Lucy unfortunately picked up 20 penalties at the first water after Uni jumped in a little too hesitantly to have the momentum to carry himself over the fish, but otherwise jumped well and only added 10 time penalties. This meant going in to the final day the team had moved up to 2nd overnight and Abi had retained her 2nd place individually.
BRC had put on an entertaining quiz on Saturday night and ECCTG showed that we have both mental as well as physical prowess – scoring a 3rd place and lots of boxes of chocolates in the process!
Hannah ran cross country on the Sunday morning and added nothing to her overnight score with a very confident, fluent clear inside the time. Although she was not placed, it was lovely to see her enjoying the round so much
Sunday morning saw all four 100+ competitors trot up sound, with no adverse affects from the firmer ground the day before. With less than a fence between first and second, it was going to be a tense finale and the poles were flying for everyone. Show jumping at a three day is always a different game to completing a round before the cross country and on this occasion the firm ground, technical course and tired horses were evidently taking their toll; clears were few and far between. Lucy jumped first for ECCTG and so nearly had a foot perfect round, just making a mistake at the final fence for 4 penalties. Sophie steeled her nerves to jump a very stylish round but sadly Rick tapped out several poles on this occasion, making Sophie’s the discard score. Nicki’s horse was still very fresh and knocked three poles and Abi couldn’t quite repeat her double clear of last year, having just one pole down. Despite the course causing problems across the board, the team’s penalties were too much on this occasion and they dropped down to 7th, but Abi’s round was sufficient to hold her position to finish 2nd individually in her arena.
A fantastic result overall, showing the potential of this team in future years and reflecting all the hard work that went in from all the riders. We are already looking forward to next year and hope that we will have lots of interest from members at all levels to contest the areas next summer.