It was a busy two days at the new Science Supplements Area Festival at Firle Place with 17 sections running over the weekend.
The first of the exciting new Area Festivals to run this season, Firle Place was the most southern of all four venues, held in the South Downs National Park in the village of Firle, Sussex.
The Firle Estate sits in the heart of the South Downs National Park and is just 60 miles from the centre of London.
Said Stuart Buntine of organisers BEDE Events:
“We were delighted to host the first of the exciting new Science Supplements Area Festivals at Firle. It was a great two days of sport giving grass roots riders the opportunity to compete in a championship atmosphere in a stunning location.”
Area Championships were held for BE80(T), BE80(T) Open, BE90, BE90 Open, BE100 and BE100 Open levels.
Firle also included regional final qualifications at BE80(T), BE90 and BE100 with the top percentage of combinations going on to compete at the BE90 and BE 100 Championships held at Badminton and the BE80(T) Championship.
Leading the way in the South East Eventers League BE100 Championship was Katie Hipkins and Martins Irish Warrior finishing on a score of 34.6 after a superb effort. Known as George at home, the attractive grey was previously ridden by Katie’s partner Ollie Martin and she was thrilled to win the championship.
The Autumn Financial sponsored BE100 Open Championship went to Justin Clubley and his nine-year-old KWPN gelding, Hokus Pokus finishing on his dressage score of 31.0 with superb clears in both the cross-country and show jumping.
“It was a fair but testing track with a very cleverly designed course that made great use of the land and undulations. The ground was exceptional and there was a fantastic atmosphere throughout the day. The sponsors have done a great job and the event was brilliantly organised – the enhanced prize money was a nice bonus too.”
It was the turn of Ella Lucas and My Good Morning in the Allen & Page BE80 Championship. A full-time psychology and neuroscience student, Ella and the six-year-old black gelding completed on their impressive dressage score of 25.3.
Said a delighted Ella:
“I was last to go on the cross-country and knew of I went clear I could win, the pressure was incredible. As I came over the finish line I burst into tears and mum was there sobbing too. What an astonishing day.”
Heading the Equissage supported BE80 Open Championship was Deborah Burrell and Imperial Tangle.
“When I heard about these new Area Festivals I was keen to qualify and was delighted to get my double-clear at Chilham Castle. The BE80 courses at Firle today were so well built; challenging, technical and up to height. For an amateur grassroots rider working so hard, waking up at 4am, to be able to stand on a podium was just so special, incredible in fact,” said Deborah.
On the Sunday it was the turn of competitors in the Eco Voltz BE90 Championship which provided a great win for Chloe Dunn and Towerhill Shamie. Partnering the 10-year-old gelding, the duo led after the dressage phase on a score of 26.9 and galloped home clear in both the show jumping and cross-country.
Elizabeth Evans and Diamond Rhapsody captured the Science Supplements BE90 Open Championship with the 11-year-old, bay mare finishing on a dressage score of 27.5 before a clean sheet in the show jumping and cross-country over the magical Firle backdrop.
Competitors heaped praise on the magnificent Firle Place venue which looks set to go from strength to strength over the coming years.