A Super Sunday for Cranleigh Riders
Sunday was most definitely Cranleigh’s day at the recent National Schools’ Equestrian Association Championships held over two days at Addington Manor in Buckinghamshire. Of the four jumping classes held on the final day of competition, Cranleigh were crowned Champions in three of them, making them, once again, the most successful school of the 120 represented over the three days of competition.

First to gain a National title was the Novice Arena Eventing team of Sophie Miller, Caileigh Faure, Chantelle Phillips and Phoebe Wates (CPS). All four riders rode excellent clear jumping rounds within the optimum time on the cross-country phase, and with good style marks, thus placing them well ahead of their nearest rivals, Packwood Haugh, to win this big class of 24 starters. In the individual section of this competition, Erin McCombe finished in seventh place.

The Intermediate Show Jumpers then took a very exciting final by storm: having only just qualified in eighth place from the original 32 starters, they had to ride first in the final. After a gutsy ride from Amelia Adorian as our first rider, the next three were instructed to ride for clear rounds and they did – Henrietta Walker-Duncalf, Amelia Holden and Amelia Shotter. As each consecutive team accumulated faults, we were left as the only team on a zero score to win the title.

As if this had not been enough excitement for one evening, our Open team were in the same situation, they too having qualified for the final in eighth place. Over a big and testing track, they accumulated eight faults in total, with clears from Tom Lane and Henrietta Walker-Duncalf and eight each from Fred Philips and Amelia Adorian, but with Fred’s speed helping us to a good time. Consecutive teams once again came apart under the pressure and although the team from Mayfield equalled us on faults we were the faster team to become National Schools’ Show Jumping Champions 2012.

However, just as much pleasure came from some of the other classes where we may not have won, but we were none-the-less very highly placed. Our mini teams did us proud in both their Show Jumping and Arena Eventing classes, with both Show Jumping teams making the final and finishing in fourth (Jess Pilling, Lucinda Watkinson, Sophie Miller and Phoebe Wates) and eighth places (Charlie Johnson, Lily Hibbert, Sam Hollidge CPS and Lila Millard CPS). Both teams also made the final line up in the Arena Eventing competition, this time finishing fourth and sixth: to have two teams in the final line-up of these competitions is a real testament to the strength and depth of Cranleigh riding.

The Novice Show Jumping team of Charlotte Livingstone, Sophie Miller, Chantelle Phillips and Phoebe Wates made it to the final of their competition and finished the Saturday evening with a seventh place, and on Sunday the dressage team of Phoebe Osborn, Tom Lane, Amelia Adorian and Henrietta Walker-Duncalf (the latter three amidst their busy jumping schedules) finished in seventh out of the 24 dressage teams who contended for this title. Particular mention should go to Phoebe Osborn who finished in third place in her arena to boost our team score considerably.

With a ninth place for the Intermediate Arena Eventing team and for Fred Philips in the Individual Advanced Show Jumping, there was only one jumping competition throughout the weekend where we did not finish in the top ten, a phenomenal achievement that has firmly put as at the top of the rankings for 2012.

The parent of one rider summed up the weekend when he said: “winning is not everything but when it does come your way it certainly turns a lovely occasion into something very special and a first National title is definitely something very special. The big smiles and the huge buzz in the car all the way home were testimony to that!”

Director of Riding, Sophie Spear, who has masterminded the preparation necessary to get our riders to the standard required to achieve such results, was understandably delighted at the end of a very long weekend: “we had a hugely successful and enjoyable weekend and Cranleigh should be very proud of its riders, not only for the way in which they rode to success, but also for the way in which they supported each other and represented the name of the School. We will be hoping to build on this success over the coming months.”

MCA