Girls lead the way at Brand Hall
The 2016 Charles Owen National Pony and Racesafe Equestrian Junior Championship titles were both taken by ambitious young females at Brand Hall Horse Trials in Shropshire over the weekend (3rd – 5th June). The competition also boasted an array of British Eventing classes which took place in superb sunshine with competitors set a true challenge over Janet Plant’s impressively designed cross country courses.
Charles Owen National Pony Championship Round up
After two consecutive years of the Charles Owen National Pony Championship wins being dominated by Thomas Tulloch, 15-year-old Saffron Cresswell (GBR) from Malvern, Worcestershire, took the 2016 title with her own 14.1hh Irish-bred gelding, Cuffesgrange Little Ric.
Saffron led the field from the beginning of the competition and finished the event on her dressage test result of 36.5. Even with eight show jumping penalties, she was able to finish with a 19.9 penalty margin. Saffron and Little Ric were the only combination to complete the cross country phase clear and inside the optimum time.
Saffron was a part of the British gold medal winning team at the 2015 FEI Pony European Championships (where she finished in fifth place individually) and will be in a good position for selection for the 2016 Europeans which will be held in Denmark.
Her season so far in 2016 has been very strong, with five top six placings including two Charles Owen Pony Trial wins. Saffron commented on her Championship win: “I came to Brand Hall with the hope of winning, but to lead from the dressage phase made it quite nerve-wracking! I hadn’t made my mind up completely on the second day which route I would take through the water across country but when I got closer to the fence he was feeling so good that that I took the direct route, which I think that helped us get inside the optimum time. I really wanted to show jump clear even though I knew I had some fences in hand, so when I heard a pole go my heart sank.
“I am absolutely over the moon to have won and hope the next step for us will be the European Championships again.”
The top three combinations in the Pony Championship at Brand Hall were;
- 1st Cuffesgrange Little Ric, ridden by Saffron Cresswell who finished on a score of 44.5
- 2nd Killacoran Blue ridden by Eloise Bartlett, 64.4.
- 3rd Holiday Chase ridden by Lauren Booth, 74.2
Racesafe Equestrian Junior National Championship
Chelsea Round, aged 17 from Coventry rode her own British-bred Hanoverian 16h gelding, Fleetwood Mac V, to victory in this year’s Racesafe Equestrian Junior Championship. Her success will have caught the British Junior Selectors’ eyes in the run up to the 2016 European Championships in Italy in September.
She looked set to take the title from the dressage phase and added no penalties to her score after jumping clear rounds in both the cross country and show jumping phases.
The win at Brand Hall is the second of the 17-year-old’s wins this year in a season which so far has also boasted four top 15 finishes.
The top three combinations in the Junior Championship at Brand Hall were:
- 1st Fleetwood Mac V ridden by Chelsea Round, who finished on 44.0 penalties
- 2nd Kananaksis ridden by Richard Coney, 46.0.
- 3rd Fernhill Rock Star, Bubby Upton, 46.2 (Bubby also finished the class in 4th place with another ride, Eros DHI).
Chelsea said: “I came here with no real expectations, so to win is a complete surprise! My main aim was to come to get experience and I wanted to get a good dressage mark since he can be inconsistent in that phase, but he felt great. To lead throughout was incredible and I’m glad all my training with Caroline Moore and the British Junior Programme has paid off.
“I started eventing with British Eventing at BE80(T) level with my last pony, and at that time I had no idea about the BE youth programmes. I would definitely encourage others to give it a go, I have met so many people through eventing – it’s like a family.”
View the full portfolio of youth programmes from British Eventing on www.britisheventing.com/youtheventing