Super Saturday for Equestrian Team

Over the first weekend of half term, over 700 riders from 232 schools around the country converged on Hickstead Show Ground for…

Over the first weekend of half term, over 700 riders from 232 schools around the country converged on Hickstead Show Ground for the National Schools Equestrian Association Eventers Challenge Championship and National County Dressage and Show Jumping Championships.

Taking place over three full days of competition, the Saturday belonged to Cranleigh riders who stood on the top of the podium in all three Championship classes of the day.

Our Junior Eventers Challenge team was reduced to just a team of three so we knew that the scores of all three riders would have to count, and that only clear rounds over the course combining show jumps, fixed cross country fences and a large water feature would be enough for a top eight finish. Just going clear is not enough either. Riders have to judge their pace to be as close to the optimum time as possible and all three of ours did just that, with Caia N finishing 0.31 seconds off the optimum time in her team round. Ete M was only slightly slower and Sophie B a touch too quick, but still within four seconds of time. They went into the lead at 10.45 in the morning but had to wait until all 38 teams had finished several hours later before being able to celebrate their first National title. In addition, Caia clinched fourth and seventh place individually out of 198 riders, which was a phenomenal achievement at her first Championship event.

Not to be outdone, the Open team went on to do the double, scooping both the National County Dressage title as well as the Open Eventers Challenge title. The dressage competition was very closely fought between us, Mayfield and Dean Close, with less than 1% separating first and second. So often it has been us who has been on the wrong side of the division but on this occasion the Cranleigh team were victorious: Tara M; Madeleine R; Rory S and Gracie G. Gracie also produced a test scoring 72.69% in the Restricted Prelim Individual Championship to take the silver medal position.

A few hours later the same riders donned cross country gear and produced four outstanding clear rounds over their technical Eventers Challenge course: they were the only team to finish on a zero score but they were the team closest to the optimum time too. It was an exciting end to a long day.

Sunday was a day off before returning for the Hickstead Elite Show Jumping final on Monday. Rory, Tara and Madeleine were joined by Anya M who was returning to the team with a new horse. We finished on a team score of zero once again with only three seconds dividing the teams from second to fifth, but our overall time being the slowest of these. It was another very creditable performance, however, and rounded off the weekend in style.

C Allison, Head of Riding

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