Third time lucky for Newbridge College
Having been second for the past two years, the team from Newbridge College in Co Kildare was delighted to take the Senior Schools team and individual titles at the Hurstpierpoint College National Schools and Pony Club Jumping Finals at Hickstead.
The annual team competition ended up in a jump-off between the three teams who had all posted three clears in the first round – Newbridge College, eventual runners up Dean Close School and Millfield School Red. A fast clear round from Newbridge College’s Caragh Sweeney (16) and Kippure Steepleview Jack secured team honours, while her team mate Max Ross (14) took the individual prize. In second individually was Kings of Wessex school pupil Kathryn Thomas and Zorba IV, who were also part of the winning Pony Club Team.
“This is one of the biggest competitions that we take part in so it’s great to win,” said Max, who was riding his 14.2hh showjumping mare Bally David Souz.
“It’s unbelievable to get the opportunity to compete at such a well-known prestigious venue as Hickstead,” said fellow Newbridge College team member Leah Heffernan, 15, who rode My Rockstown Two.
Fifteen-year-old Niamh Flinter and her mare Classie Lass were taking part in this team competition for the first time. “I couldn’t help but smile when I was competing in this arena. I had a feeling we might win as we have a great team,” she said.
Polden Hills take home the prizes in Pony Club Final
A long journey from Somerset paid off for the Polden Hills Branch of the Pony Club, when they claimed both team and individual honours in today’s Hurstpierpoint College National Pony Club Final.
The quartet of Alice Nunn (Mai B), Kathryn Thomas (LLF Marbella), Annabelle Jay (Storm Blue) and Rebecca Thomas (Zorba IV) finished on a team total of four faults before going on to beat last year’s winners Garth Hunt in the jump-off. North Cotswold Hunt and East Hertfordshire shared third equal spot.
Kathryn, Alice and Rebecca were all on the team that came third last year, so they were delighted to climb the leaderboard to finish top at this year’s event. “We definitely wanted to take home the sash this year!” said Rebecca, 20.
Annabelle, 19, was competing at this show for the first time with her ex-racehorse Storm Blue, who now events up to Novice level.
Alice Nunn took individual honours, having held off the challenge from Isobel Stenning from Garth Hunt. She rode the 12-year-old homebred mare Mai B, who competes up to 1.20m level in showjumping. “It feels surreal, this is the fourth time I’ve been on the team and after finishing third last year it’s amazing to win,” said Alice, who at 16 years old was the youngest member of the squad. “I came for a tootle round Hickstead and have come back with two sashes!”
Kathyrn Thomas, 17, also took third place individually with her showjumping mare LLF Marbella.
The winners were presented with their prizes by Rory Bremner, whose daughter Lila was competing in the Senior Schools competition.
A double of wins for Millfield Prep Reds
Millfield Prep School did the double in the Junior Schools competition, claiming both team and individual honours.
Eva Barnett, 13, was last to go in the jump-off and her fast clear of 30.65sec was enough to secure her the individual title. “I didn’t expect to win at all, but I thought I’d just go for it in the jump-off,” said Eva, who rode the 18-year-old Blaencanaid Highwayman.
Her team mate Lily Rhys (12) came third individually, behind second placed Harriet Birkby from the Towers Convent School on Irish Hotshot (31.33sec). Lily rode the former two-star event pony Fond Of A Drop, and they finished on a time of 32.03sec.
Also on the winning team were Bronte Monks, 14, and Cuffesgrange Lord Admiral, and 12-year-old Hatty Kingsford on Nookie Bear. Bronte is another event rider, who is in her last year of eligibility for the Junior Schools championship; while Hatty was competing at this show for the first time. “I’ve seen Hickstead on TV so it’s amazing to win here,” said Hatty.
Sharing second equal in the teams competition were Cranleigh School and last year’s winners, Handcross Park.
Honor takes the honours in Elite final
For the first time ever, the Hurstpierpoint College National Schools and Pony Club Jumping Championships were held over two days (1 & 2 August).
Wednesday saw a number of National Schools Equestrian Association (NSEA) Finals take place at the All England Jumping Course. Radnor House pupil Honor Redhouse took the honours in the NSEA 1.10m Elite Final, riding Zara Queen of Hearts.
In the NSEA 1m team competition, the team of Amber Fletcher, Katinka Beckett, Ellie Fredericks and Lauren Dallison from Dauntsey’s School won following a jump-off against Mayfield School Reds. The NSEA 80-85cms Individual title went to Katie Toulson-Clarke from Heathside School, riding Pleuny Esme.
* The final event to be held at Hickstead this year will be the All England Jumping Championships (30 August – 2 September), which has classes from 90cm up to a £6,000 1.40m Grand Prix.