Given the phenomenally high standard of entrants, running away with the National Schools Equestrian Association Dressage title at the recent Winter Championships had not necessarily been on the agenda for this two day competition. However, this is exactly what our team of Tom Lane, Mads Iafrate, Briony Pearson and Chloe Allison did on the first weekend of Long Leave. Both Tom and Briony won their arenas and Mads posted a third place to ensure that we beat second placed Gillingham by an outstanding five points.
Tom, Mads and Briony also competed in the Individual Dressage Championships where Tom and Mads gained eighth place in their respective competitions. This had given us a glimpse of how tough the competition was going to be in the Team Championship the following day and made our victory even more exciting.
Cranleigh were amongst the two most highly represented schools at Addington Manor for these Championships, where the best 24 teams from the Regional Qualifiers around the country fight it out for honours in the disciplines of Show Jumping, Arena Eventing and Dressage.
We started the weekend in fine style when we were Reserve-Champions in the 95cm Arena Eventing class when our team of Tom Lane, Indi Thompson, Mads Iafrate and Erin McCombe actually finished on the same score as the winners but lost out on one ‘style mark’! Incredibly we had a second team in the final line-up of this competition with Hattie Allison, Briony Pearson, Millie Adorian and Alex Adams finishing in fifth place. We managed two placings in the 85cm class too with the team of Chloe Allison, Erin McCombe, Alex Adams and Amelia Shotter finishing in seventh place just ahead of Mads Iafrate, Emily Brock, Zoe Solt and Issi Rennocks in eighth place.
Our 85cm Show Jumping team made it through to the final eight to jump off in the International Arena on the Sunday evening: having been the highest placed in the first round they were the last team to go and not only had to produce clear rounds but fast ones too if they were to maintain their position. The pressure was on, therefore, and in the end this led to errors and finally eighth place, although Emily Brock is to be congratulated for jumping a fast clear round under pressure.
We just missed out on reaching the final jump-off stage of both the Open and Intermediate Show Jumping but with young teams competing at this level there is plenty to look forward to next year and all the Cranleigh riders are to be congratulated not only for their notably good riding but for the way in which they supported each and every member of the team throughout this busy weekend.