It was the big day of the summer season for pony riders at Hickstead, and for three lucky riders, dreams came true. The three national winter finals were hard-fought.
The on-form Shaunie Greig was lightning-quick to take the top two places in the winter 138cm final with Buttons Two and Drumaclan Flight.
The 138cm riders made light work of Kelvin Bywater’s 12-fence track, and 14 of the 24 starters jumped clear to access the jump-off – Nicole Lockhead Anderson, Izzi Ryder and Shaunie all getting two chances.
Shaunie commandeered the top spot early with first ride Drumaclan Flight, and despite several challenges, remained unheaded until she came in on second ride Buttons Two.
And she was even faster. This feisty mare had already bucked her way around the first round, but it doesn’t distract Shaunie, she pushed Buttons into full speed, taking fences at acute angles to beat her own time by 1.86 sec.
“She can be difficult but I find her easy, she pulls me into fences and I just try to keep her going forward when she bucks,” she said.
Nicole Lockhead Anderson slotted the Irish 19-year-old Sonas Barney into third a further 1.22 sec in arrears.
Emelia Mitchell and Shaman Sundance took fourth with Izzi Ryder on Castlehill Ka La La fifth and Tegan Rowlands sixth aboard Grey Palace.
Rosie Collins landed the biggest win of her career with the 128cm championship on Bradmore Mystique.
“It feels amazing going round that ring, although it’s a long way,” said Rosie.
Six reached the jump-off with Tom Francis Jones making his opener count to take a brief lead. But Rosie was quicker, guiding the 20-year-old mare Mystique into an unassailable lead.
“There was so much pressure in the jump-off,” she said, “and I couldn’t have done it without my trainers Eleni [Murphy] and Terry [Wilkins].”
Going last, Madison Heath and the ultra-consistent Red Alert III made a serious bid for the title and eased into second place by 2.47 sec.
Tom and Major Jack took third with Amy Morris on Madonna fourth, Hannah Barker with My Little Sweetheart ffth and Iwan Carpenter aboard Brookhall Glimpse in sixth.
By just a fraction of a second, Lauren Roach topped the Oakley Coachbuilders winter JC title with Paul Kelly’s nine-year-old Irish mare Westcoast Express.
Again, six made their way to the jump-off with Lauren taking the championship from second draw by 0.22 sec.
“The track was cleverly built, I couldn’t go mental and gallop like crazy, but she’s good at covering the ground,” said Lauren.
Megan Taylor – the only rider with two in the jump-off – and the scopey yet careful Numero Uno nine-year-old Novella took second with their opening round, and Megan also slotted second ride Bojangles II into fifth.
Robert Murphy jumped a careful clear with Opt-Mist for fourth. Jodie Burchmore-Eames and Claddagh Prince claimed sixth.
Winter 128cm Championship
1 Rosie Collins & Bradmore Mystique - 0/0 46.93
2 Madison Heath & Red Alert - 0/0 49.40
3 Tom Francis-Jones & Major Jack - 0/4 52.79
4 Amy Morris & Madonna - 0/4 65.98
5 Hannah Barker & My Little Sweetheart - 0/4 67.56
6 Iwan Carpenter & Brookhall Glimpse - 0/8 47.05
Winter 138cm Champonship
1 Shaunie Greig & Buttons Two - 0/0 41.89
2 Shaunie Greig & Drumaclan Flight - 0/0 42.75
3 Nicole Lockhead Anderson & Sonas Barney - 0/0 43.97
4 Emelia Mitchell & Shaman Dancer - 0/0 44.78
5 Izzi Ryder & Castlehill Ka La La - 0/0 50.26
6 Tegan Rowlands & Grey Palace - 0/0 63.14
Oakley Coachbuilders Winter JC championship
1 Lauren Roach & Westcoast Express - 0/0 38.61
2 Megan Taylor & Novella II - 0/0 38.83
3 Nicole Kershaw & Maimi Moonbeam - 0/0 39.05
4 Robert Murphy & Opto-Mist - 0/0 39.37
5 Megan Taylor & BoJangles II - 0/4 39.49
6 Jodie Burchmore Eames & Claddagh Prince - 0/4 41.67
Photos © Jumping Around
Photos © Jumping Around