More than 500 competitors headed to Bury Farm Equestrian Village for the British Riding Clubs Equi-Theme Intermediate Winter Championships.
Friday afternoon got underway with The BRC Equi-Theme Novice 34 Dressage and Elementary sections.
After a fantastic effort the Novice section went to Maria Wills of Chipstead Riding Club in Surrey and Longhill Donna Carina.
Now nine-years-old Maria has owned the Warmblood cross for the last four years and she is a big fan of Riding Clubs and the great fun she has locally.
Travelling from the Isle of Wight, Jessie Vanassche and Da Vinci III started her BRC Equi-Theme Intermediate Winter Championships in great form when winning the Elementary 49 Test.
An hour long crossing on the ferry followed by a three hour drive was the order of the day for Jessie before the 13-year-old took centre stage and danced his way to a great win.
Said Jessie: “We event as well as compete at Riding Club level and he is just a star. I was in Las Vegas until two days ago and wasn’t sure I would make the event but as so glad we made the effort.”
Jessie’s run of form continues in the Medium / Advanced/Medium Pick a Test when she took second to Gillian Brown and Meikle Rustler.
A member of South East Scotland Dressage, Gillian is a Para-Dressage rider competing at national silver and gold level.
Said Gillian: “Rustler has just done so much for us as a family. He was bought for my daughter Alison who showed him before I took over and started to compete him in dressage.
“He is now 12 but was in a field until he was nine-years-old and is a big part of our family.”
On day two show jumping was underway with the Senior Intermediate Show jumping class. Twenty-one teams of four made their way to Bury Farm Equestrian for the prestigious final.
Taking to the winners stage were Saffron Walden & District Riding Club with Lisa Spence, Catherine Berrisford, Lisa Howlett and Suzanah Engelmann,
In the dressage arenas Prelim 7 teams and individuals started the day with some excellent tests.
In the individual sections the first section saw a tie with Michelle Stretton and Jake from Hinckley Riding Club and Catherine Griffiths with Ballymoore Secret Clover from Solihull Riding Club taking the honours.
Said Catherine: “I bought Orange, as we call him at home to show jump but it has taken me 12 months to settle him and I am just so pleased we have got to the stage where we can compete and now have fun together.”
Michelle travelled from Leicestershire with 14-year-old Jake a Welsh cross Irish Draught who can be difficult to load.
“We were lucky this morning it only took 15 minutes and we are trying a few new ideas which seem to be helping. Let’s hope he will be the same when we go home,” she said.
The second Prelim 7 individual went to Kate Vickery and her Connemara, Maicin Funambule ll.
A member of Cheltenham Riding Club, Kate bought the seven-year-old for her daughter but has so far commandeered the ride and is loving it.
“He won at his first one-day-event a week ago so we are on a role and he is just fantastic, my daughter will have to up her game if she wants him,” laughed Kate.
Elementary 49 saw a win for Mandy Keen of Chilworth Riding Club and the former show horse, Just The One IV, an attractive bay gelding that was brought over from Ireland from well-known showing enthusiast Cathy Wood as a youngster.
Said Mandy: “He has found it difficult to cope when showing and gets excited when going round with the other horses so we swapped him to dressage and he has really come on and is now great fun.
“He is owned by my friend, Penny Unwin who enjoys hacking him while I focus on the dressage. He is by Nash Me and is three-quarter thoroughbred and quarter Irish Draught and was a big winner in Ireland as a young horse.”
On the Sunday it was the time for the juniors to head into the competition arena with the Intermediate Show Jumping providing a team win for once again for Saffron Walden & District.
The team of Sophie Byford with Tullyallen Lily, Isobel Oakley and Rockisland Bartley, Ella Caton riding Shamrock and Rosie Beanland with Chicago were in great form to take the top award from Rearsby Lodge Riding Club.
In the individual showjumping it was the turn of young Oliver Kidner and Freddie from Beccles & Bungay Riding Club to take the red rosette. This talented pair were the fastest in a competitive jump-off to cross the finish line in 32.67 seconds.
Securing the team award in the dressage arenas were Three Counties Riding Club with Tia Holland, Ronni Harding-Good, Edward Daniell and Charlotte Vickery taking the lead over Hereford & District Riding Club.
Eleven-year-old Tia and her pony Uphill Sunshine also took the Individual Championship much to her delight.
Said Tia: “It is just amazing, Bella is now 19 but she has been on great form it has been a fantastic competition.”
Added Frederic Pascoa of Equi-Theme: “The championships have been fantastic and it was great to see so many riders wearing Equi-Theme competition wear. The whole event has run very smoothly and I would like to thank the British Riding Clubs team and volunteers for helping to make it such a fun, but competitive event.”