Qualifiers from the Wessex region headed north to Keysoe in Bedfordshire for the Indoor National Finals on 6th, 7th & 8th April. Thankfully the weather was kinder than it has been for months and we actually enjoyed some sunshine on the Friday and Saturday.
The Wessex team members did us proud!
Open Pony Competitor Sue Bushell driving Ronnie was in 3rd place after the dressage and Cones (1 ball down) and Sue was surprised to find herself too fast on the set time having been slightly slow throughout the Sparsholt qualifying competitions. Four neat, clean and fast obstacles finished their competition in 5th Place.
Claire Hichisson driving Scrummy was delighted with her dressage score of 27.5, followed by 2 cones down and again another competitor finishing too fast gave them a couple of time penalties. An incident with the competitor before Claire was not what any of us would have wanted prior to our obstacles section but undeterred Claire did exactly what she had planned, to drive long flowing routes to give her mare a good championship experience, finishing in 11th place out of a huge class of 15.
Open Horse competitor Jenny Moon driving Jim led the class after dressage and having driven clear in cones with just a couple of time penalties, again for being too fast, led the class going into the obstacle section. Jim didn’t put a foot wrong in the obstacles he just isn’t as agile as some of the speedier horses and dropped to second place after the first two obstacles and then finished in 4th place overall after the final two obstacles.
Novice Horse competitor Diane Phillips driving Taggart finally made it to this year’s championships after qualifying last year but was not able to attend following an accident. Taggart gave Di a bit of a tough time in the dressage but you certainly couldn’t say he wasn’t forward going! Big smiles all round in the cones and the four obstacles with team Taggart finishing in 4th place overall.
Small Pony Pair competitor Ginny Williams was thrilled with her little golden girl’s dressage test, although their cones didn’t quite go to plan they were still having a great time until a foot injury nearly scuppered their competition, bravely Ginny soldered on through the pain barrier to drive the obstacles and claim the 6th place rosette. It was later discovered that Ginny had actually fractured a bone in her foot!
Pony Pair competitor Jo Sore driving her boys Milo and Buddy was back at the indoor finals, a championship she has qualified to drive at for nearly every year they have been running, this year the competition was tough and the boys didn’t give her the best time in either the dressage or the cones but came into their own in the obstacles with speedy times posted in all four to finish her competition in 6th place.
Pony Team competitor Lucy Scott with her scurry ponies looked to be doing a pretty decent dressage test, although the judges were not so sure, (what do I know?!) the cones were pretty tough and there was not a lot of room in the cones arena for a speedy team and despite not having the team together for long they did a pretty good job coming into their own in the obstacles section (with the exception of poor Fairy who was constantly in trouble!!), you cannot dampen the enthusiasm of ‘team Scott’ which got slightly over exuberant in obstacle 3 with 2 balls down and another one in obstacle 4 dropping the team to 5th place – only just missing 4th place by a Fairy whisker!
Intermediate Pony competitor Kayti Harvey and the lovely Daisy were in a class of 18 and Kayti wasn’t quite sure how Daisy would take the pressure and excitement of the Championships, she need not have worried Daisy looked cool, calm and collected and behaved impeccably in her dressage test followed up by a clear round in the cones with just 6 time penalties bringing her up to 5th place overnight. A long wait until late in the afternoon on Sunday for her obstacles didn’t worry Daisy and after driving fast and clear in obstacles one and two they pulled up to second place, no nerves were evident as they took to the arena for the last two obstacles which were again driven fast and clean to a huge round of applause as Kayti and Daisy finished 2nd less than 2 penalties behind the champion.
Novice Pony competitor Jackie Hinds driving her dun pony Morse drove a beautiful dressage test to start her competition with a well deserved 3rd place in a very competitive class of 17 followed by a masterclass in cones driving, clear on driving faults with just 6 time penalties bringing her up to first place. The first two obstacles were driven beautifully, Morse never looks as if he is going particularly fast round the obstacles like some of the smaller racier pony’s but he is always beautifully balanced and just keeps moving with fantastic bends and changes of legs making him tight and neat and his times in both obstacle one and two were some of the fastest posted. Jackie and Morse re-entered the arena for obstacles 3 & 4 with all to play for, the rest of the class snapping at her heels but cool as a cucumber (or so it seemed to us onlookers who were almost nervous wrecks!) she drove them both beautifully and the roar of the rest of the Wessex team as she was announced Novice National Pony Champion was wild and so very well deserved.
The Saturday night saw everyone together in the main arena for the Supreme & Reserve Champion presentations followed by the raffle and nibbles. Wessex team table looked very ‘choco-licious’ with all sorts of cake and biscuit goodies and the team cake iced in our colours.
A fabulous weekend for team Wessex, we all had a great time supporting each other and now look forward to a good outdoor season – if the damn rain ever stops !