Riders are used to early mornings and long days and this has certainly been the case for the Cranleigh riders over the last three weekends, when they have been out in force and snatching the last few qualifying places for the National Championships over the first weekend of half term.
The first weekend of the term saw them out against strong opposition at a South-East Regional Qualifier for Arena Eventing. Our mini team of two Prep School riders (Phoebe Wates and Sam Hollidge) and two senior school riders (Sophie Miller and Charlie Johnson) started the day well with a second place that secured their qualification. The novice teams contested a very big field and were unlucky to miss out on a qualifying place, finishing in fourth and fifth places, but not as unlucky as the intermediate team of Henrietta Walker-Duncalf, Briony Pearson, Caileigh Faure and Amelia Adorian who finished in third place, despite four clear jumping rounds. They lost out on a qualifying place due to time penalties. The open team of Tom Lane, Henrietta, Amelia and Briony finished in a strong second place, however, to clinch another qualifying place.
On the second Sunday of term the ‘Indian Summer’ deserted us and the intermediate eventing team spent a VERY wet day at the Independent Schools’ One Day Event Championship at Stonar School in Wiltshire: another early start! Caileigh Faure finished in 7th place in her first ODE at this level and Erin McCombe finished in 10th. The team finished in a very respectable 11th place with Charlotte Livingstone riding in her very first ODE and Chantelle Phillips returning after a nasty accident earlier this year. Fortunately the journey home was long enough to dry out!
Yesterday, however, saw the full force of Cranleigh riders in action when they travelled to Berkshire College for a Southern Regional Show Jumping Qualifier. Entries were so huge that they were balloted and we were reduced to one team per class against the strongest opposition in the South of England: however, we stole the show, winning the Novice (Caileigh Faure, Hattie Allison, Amelia Shotter, Amelia Holden) and Intermediate (Caileigh Faure, Amelia Holden, Briony Pearson, Amelia Adorian) classes and coming second in the Mini (Charlie Johnson, Lily Hibbert, Sam Hollidge. Lila Millard) and Open (Amelia Adorian, Henrietta Walker-Duncalf, Fred Philips, Briony Pearson) classes, thus gaining further qualifications for the National Championships and ensuring that once more Cranleigh is going to be one of the most heavily represented schools at Addington.
We will in fact be taking 20 riders to compete in a total of 14 teams in the three disciplines of Show Jumping, Arena Eventing and Dressage (where we will be defending our National title.) Fred Philips will also be competing in the individual advanced show jumping pony class.
Henrietta Walker-Duncalf also travelled all the way to Dorset on Saturday to compete in a BE100 Regional Eventing Final. Her second place there has qualified her for the Badminton Grassroots Championships in April next year where she will ride in the shadow of some of our Olympic equestrians.