Senior Novice dressage at Easton College Saturday 4th December team report:

It was an early start for some and a late finish for others! We had a super turnout for the club with two teams entered and lots of those team members also riding an individual test at their level. Maria Adlam, Jayne Ackland-Snow and Kerry Baldwin kicked us off in the Prelim whilst Tayne Louise Eaton and Caroline Spurrier started the novice tests. The timings were great as we had similar times across the two arenas and could therefore support one another. It also meant we had the break between tests together, and we knew Caroline wanted to try out her new installed lorry kitchen - so I cooked up bacon and eggs and we all enjoyed a brunch together (including the lorry dogs) and very much appreciated the new heating to warm up! Michele McCarthy arrived and concluded the riding for the first novice test and the rest of us tacked back up ready for the next rounds. Results were quickly ready for individuals in Prelim 2 and Nov 24 and whilst our prelim riders were out of the placings, Tayne had placed 3rd and Michele 4th for the novice! A truly fabulous result for each of them! There were lots of lovely and improved tests as the day went on but it was a long day so we got members off home with their horses. I did a very quick turnaround and jumped in the car and shot back to Easton as I knew we had one rider at the end of the day on her own, our chairman Alison and her first qualifier with Buddy! I got there just in time to support her do the very last test of the day! And wow they did a super job! We then got Buddy settled and waited for the results. We were sadly out of the placings again in the prelim (12) although I want to recognise Alison’s 70% score! Novice 28 saw Tayne and Duke take 3rd again (what a fabulous day they had together!) and our other novice riders just out of the placings on this occasion. Our teams were also out of the placings overall, but I think we can safely say we had a wonderful riding club day! Alison had quite a journey home with the A140 suddenly closing but she made it through for a very late arrival, but Buddy was a saint and she was very pleased with her test!

Sunday’s novice SJ at Wix 80cm team report.

The 80cm warm up class was first and Charlotte Gage finished 3rd and Caroline Spurrier 6th so off to a great start. As you’d expect the 80cm course threw some challenges especially catching us out that the course changed after the warm up and we had all walked it thinking it would also be the qualifier! So another course to learn and off we went. Juniors first and we had a couple of unlucky poles and some excited horses but Hannah, Freya, Violet and Jess handled it very well and all went through to their second rounds. They finished second overall with Violet placing an overall 5th in the class, which subject to invitation is likely to be a place at champs! Well done team, after all riding the 70 classes as well you did an amazing job! The seniors went next and Caroline started us off with a lovely clear round, Kerry followed with an unlucky pole, Danielle had us all worried as she left the saddle, but we were so pleased to see her straight to her feet and pronouncing it wasn’t her day, Tayne followed straight after with a clear. So three through to the second round. Caroline again up first and had a couple of unlucky poles and we realised the warm up class had not really helped us as Casper was a little tired! Kerry had a super clear round as did Tayne. The 80cm senior class was super competitive and we were sadly out of the placings on this occasion but Tayne did place 6th overall for her double clear so I bet a Duke got an extra special dinner last night! Well done everyone, and we all hope you are not too sore today Danielle xx

NAF 5 STAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP - 5th SEPTEMBER

Team Manager’s report for the NAF 5 Star National Championships at Lincolnshire Showground Sunday 5th September 2021.

What a junior team to be proud of!

The start to preparations was a little fraught with two of our members not being able to bring their horses due to injury, so at the last minute, and true to Gipping team spirit, we managed to work out a way to share the horses that were going so that the everyone could still take part, and Amber and Megan quickly got acquainted with Freya and Jessica’s ponies having some fun on Saturday evening in the parking field!

Competition day started bright and early at 6am when the ponies were collected from their stables and brought up for breakfast along with lots of scrubbing, plaiting, painting, and brushing, as our youngest members, Freya and Jess were on first at 8.30am. They had chosen to enter a junior pairs direct entry class and had choreographed a very sweet test incorporating all the required movements. They had super matching expertly plaited tails, thanks to Kath, and looked quite a pair on their height matching skewbald and piebald. Their test was very well executed, and they had the sharpest timed salutes you ever did see! We may have struck lucky on the number of entrants, but we were super happy to take a beautiful second place rosette and a huge bucket each of NAF goodies from the sponsors!

Next up was the turn of Charlotte, as she had entered the native pony dressage direct entry class, which started just as the pairs were finishing – so we all rushed to the opposite end of the field to capture this, especially Amber, who kindly was photographing all the proceedings throughout the day for us! Charlotte left the arena with the biggest smile and was super proud of Shewy’s performance, so that was enough for us, and they received a very respectable 66% - which I think Charlotte claimed as their best yet! Just out of the placings on this occasion.

Quickly the team of four dressage championship classes started, with Jess riding Pea in Prelim 12, Charlotte and Shewy again in Prelim 7, Megan on Dolly (Freya’s pony most know as Floss) for Prelim 18, and Amber on our trusted cob Bluey (Who not only had just finished pairs, but was also now trying his hoof at novice, only to notice his front shoe was missing – gulp!) for Novice 24. They all rode super accurate tests, with mid 60’s scores which we were really proud of in the circumstances, to secure a team 15th overall. Out of the placings, but I think it’s safe to say they all had a great time!

As the dressage concluded the pairs combinations were rushing off to find the Showjumping rings as Freya and Floss had qualified to compete in the 75cm SJ with Style and Jess and Bluey in the 85cm with Style. To achieve this, another great team effort, as Amanda took Pea back to the stables with Shewy, so I could follow Jess in the hope of finding the farrier before the jumping class started! We arrived at the SJ just as Freya entered the arena and stood mesmerised as she rode a clear round with no time penalties! Sadly out of the placings, however, I want to recognise the huge achievement for a combination, who at the start of the season was struggling with confidence over small jumps! Mum, Clare was in floods in tears, and I was choking up too – it was quite a spectacle and Floss really was the star of the day at this point!

Next Jess was warming up for the 85cm, and still sadly no sign of the farrier, so after trying the practice jumps, we decided Bluey was sound enough to compete, so off they went. They had a super start, and the commentator was clearly very taken with this honest pony giving his all to jump a challenging course, when, at jump 5 Jessica had a stirrup malfunction, and felt it best to retire! A very brave and mature decision!

The return to the stables found that Charlotte and Amanda had kindly done the mucking out, and then the Dickson’s cleared down the stables, whilst Clare and I packed up the camp area. Once ready to leave we met at the secretary tent for final farewells, to collect test sheets and grab this photo! The photo shows the happy and tired faces of the team, all sporting their championship clothing, which excitedly has the names of all their horses on the back! Everyone got home safely, and I think are looking forward to next year to try again, with several lessons learned. Time to think about the winter championships now, especially sleeping alternatives to a tent LOL – please get in touch if you would like to join us at gippingteams@gmail.com.

Jill x

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