Saturday, 19 October 2019
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The 2017 British National Championships: Dressage

The 2017 British National Championships: Dressage

Words by Kit Rolfe            

Photography by Sweet Photography www.sweetphotography.com 

Lead Picture: Natalie Tindall on PS Aurora Silk (left) and HF Andreas.

I missed Malvern last year due to various circumstances and I have to confess, I really missed the dressage more than all the other showing classes. It was great fun to be back out there doing one of the things I love with my mare Rheva. I know that she particularly enjoys it too as she gives me such a good ride and tries so hard.

There are new names on the scene as well as many regular competitors such as myself who enjoy Malvern dressage so much. I found the going pretty good this year; the rain helped and I thought that the arenas rode well. I wonder if the other competitors find that their horse likes competing on grass as my horse definitely does!

Intro tests have been running at Malvern for some time now and they are splendid for offering encouragement to newcomers and novice riders or novice horses. This year, the Intro C test was won by Natalie Tindall riding her own PS Aurora Silk (Marcus Aurelius x Imperial Silk), a five-year old purebred Crabbet mare.

Natalie told me: “Malvern was our first dressage competition and only our second show together, I was amazed how Aurora took the atmosphere in her stride! I was so pleased with her final halt and said I’d be happy if we were awarded an eight for it. We were given that eight but more than that, we achieved a great overall score of 69.57% to win the class!”

The second class on the first dressage day was Prelim 2 and the top spot went to Anne Dickenson’s part-bred mare Cloncilla (Kizar x Mary Star) ridden by Anne. The pair took the class with a score of 68.28% putting 20-year old student Nadia Hall from Manchester into second place with her 18-year old part-bred gelding Belle Vue Scotsman (Kidar x Lady of Iona). Nadia also won the ridden veteran class on him.

Rebecca Napier Clark on Safiy (Spirit of Essteem x Halina Shaklana) (left) and Lorna Ewin on Claudiuss (Yahmur x Chaarity).

Young event rider India Duke headed the Novice 28 on her own Littletons Definitely Maybe (Groomsbridge May 1 x Damera) with a tally of 69.16%. “Definitely Maybe had only been back in work three weeks before Malvern due to tying up earlier in the year,” India told me. “It was her first outing since December as I’ve been so busy with school and eventing. I’ve produced her since she was six and I was twelve.”

The second day of dressage started with Prelim 17. Friday is the day of the team tests so the mood is extremely competitive. Tamsin O’Connor rode Jackie Hutchings’ purebred mare Pakama (Karmah x Pacifica) into first place in this class on a fantastic score of 74.83% beating Katie Cuthbertson riding Ptolemy (Persiflage x Tadorna), exhibited by the Hon Finn Guinness into second place. The pair scored 73%, making it a close decision. Third place went to India Duke with Littletons Definitely Maybe scoring 71.89%.

Tamsin told me that she’d brought two mares for dressage on Friday, both owned by Jackie Hutchings. “Pakama is a 14-year old ex racehorse,” she explained. “She had a foal after retiring from racing and came back into work two years ago.” Tamsin’s second ride, purebred Mellway Silver Sheen (Naresh x Alcina), took top honours in the Novice 37a class on a score of 68.88%, beating Katie and Ptolemy into second place.

 SG Prayer (left) and Cara McKinnon on Red House Romeo.

The last two dressage classes were both won by Maria Pook riding Jo Hollamby’s purebred gelding Fattan (Sire D’albret x Vermeille). This pair have been phenomenally successful in the show-ring and dressage arena, and they are regular competitors at Malvern. They took the Elementary 43 with 67.41 % leaving Joy McLean, riding her own purebred mare Razelle (Star of the Seasons x Rawen), in second place with 66.9%. Third place in the Elementary 43 went to my own coloured part-bred eight-year old mare Rhevelation (TSR Mighty Tuff x Rheannon) on a score of 65.68%. I can’t resist saying that Rheva gave me a fabulous ride in this test, and I was very happy with her performance.

It was a shame that our Medium 61 class only fielded two entries but they set a high standard. Maria took first place with Fattan on 63.10% and second place went to India riding her second horse, Littletons Diamond Geezer (Vekaam x Kentchurch Masquerade), scoring 60.52%.

I asked Maria what she and 15-year old Fattan have been up to this last year. She told me: “In 2016, we went to the BD Winter Finals Pet Plan Finals at Advanced Medium level and this year he has qualified for the Advanced Medium semi-finals in September. I brought him to Malvern this year to keep my other horse company but thought he’d better pull his weight and do something, so while he was there we did the elementary dressage for the SEAHG team and the medium dressage. He’s now accumulated 286 BD points.’ Maria and Fattan, aka ‘Fats’, have competed at advanced level dressage and are now working at Prix St Georges.

As ever, the Malvern Dressage Regional Team competition was fiercely contested. The top spot went to the SEAHG ‘A’ team (South East Arab Group) consisting of Maria Pook riding Fattan, Lorna Ewin riding her own purebred gelding Claudiuss (Yahmur x Chaarity) and Rebecca Napier Clark riding her own purebred gelding Safiy (Spirit of Essteem x Halina Shaklana).

Lorna managed to actually do some competing on Claudiuss while running the dressage at the same time proving that women can, of course, multi task! She told me: “’Claude’ placed fourth in the Horse of the Year Show gelding class in the morning, then won the 75cm showjumping class. He then went on to carry my mother, Valda, in the Novice 28 class earning 61.25% for her and they took tenth place.”

Claude also came second in the in-hand sport horse, all in the same day! Lorna and Claude then went on to win the Novice and Elementary Combined training classes.

Second place in the team contest went to the South West Arab Horse Group. This group consisted of Natalie on her own PS Aurora Silk, Emma Jane Lineham riding her own HF Andreas (Rusleem x WFA Andromeda), a purebred gelding , and Tamsin O’Connor riding Mellway Silver Sheen. Emma Jane and Andreas took third place in the Novice 37a.

The Border Raiders Team took third place. The Raiders consisting of Joy Maclean and Razelle, Claire Knoery riding Vanessa Brown’s Liliya (Acorn x Zariqa), an eight-year old purebred mare, and Laura Fairbairn riding her own purebred gelding Shazarni (Azinja El Shaklan x Focus Shayla).

I know that everyone involved in the dressage will join me in thanking our fantastic volunteer organisers and our fantastic judges who have a large number of tests to sit through. They all do a wonderful job, and we riders reap the rewards and benefits.

Malvern shows us just how many Arabian horse folk enjoy dressage, so it is very exciting that this year in October we will see the first British Dressage Arabian Championships. They will be held at Solihull Riding Club and I hope to see many of you there when I take part with my own mare, Rhevelation.

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