The Friday of Long Leave presented our riders with their first chance to qualify for the National Championships in October when they travelled to Bury Farm in Buckinghamshire for an Arena Eventing Qualifier.
The early start (and braving the cold) was well worth the effort, however, when our Mini Team (Lily Hibbert, Lila Millard, Sam and Issy Hollidge) won the first class of the day over a very big and demanding course that was too much for many in the class! Issy Hollidge, at eight years old, was only just old enough to be eligible to compete and was certainly on the smallest pony of the day when she completed the biggest and longest course she has been faced with to date (as the photo demonstrates). Lila Millard finished second individually to pick up an individual qualification along with the team one and Lily Hibbert was fourth, with Sam sixth: an excellent achievement to have three riders in the top six individual placings.
The Novice class gave us the chance to field two teams and they were to take the top two spots after some excellent riding in both the show jumping and the cross country sections of the course. Issi Rennocks, Lila Millard and Sam Hollidge did extremely well as a team of three to win the class, with Issi in fourth place individually, whilst the team of Chantelle Phillips, Sophie Miller, Lily Hibbert and Phoebe Wates finished second, with a sixth place individually for Phoebe.
The Intermediate class was extremely close right up to the last two teams, Cranleigh and Pangbourne. An excellent round by Sophie Miller, that meant she won the class individually, allowed the team to squeeze into second behind Pangbourne to pick up their qualification by just 0.5 of a mark from the third placed team, who had lead the class up until this point! Sophie was joined by Chantelle Phillips, Issi Rennocks and Phobe Wates.
This was an excellent start to the new season for the Cranleigh riders and they will be hoping to build on this success in the months ahead.