A long journey to Sparsholt College in Hampshire on the second Saturday of the half term, for a VERY long day of competition, was rewarded with three show jumping qualifications for this year’s National Championships in October. Gaining such early qualifications is a real boost for the Equestrian Team and hopefully the start of another successful season.
The organisers were inundated with entries and so competition was fierce with only two qualifying spots available at each height. Therefore, with 25 teams in the first class of the day (the 70cm), it was a phenomenal success for a young Cranleigh team to take top spot. All four riders, Jess Pilling, Phoebe Wates, Poppy Watkinson and Sophie Miller, went clear but more impressively they were fast enough to overcome some stiff competition. Sophie Miller finished in third place individually in this huge class in only her first competition on her new pony.
The same team competed in an even bigger 80cm class contested by 27 teams, and this time were just pipped into second place, but still secured a qualification. Sophie Miller put in another fast clear to finish sixth individually. Director of Riding, Sophie Spear, was particularly impressed with the way these youngest riders performed and supported one another.
The 90cm team of Tom Lane, Hattie Allison, Fred Philips and Zoe Solt were unlucky not to qualify, finishing in third spot, with lovely clears from Fred and Zoe. Tom, Hattie and Fred were determined to put this right in the 1m Open class; however, they carried the disadvantage of being just a team of three. Nonetheless they rode on in fine style, over a big course, finishing on the same team score of four faults as the first placed team, with one second dividing them on time. Yet second place was good enough for our third qualification of the day, and there was an individual sixth place for Hattie also.
It was a fourteen hour day by the time all the riders were safely home but well worth the cold wind and the heavy rain!