Prestigious event proved a success despite 50mph winds

Mark Jackson at Belsay Horse Trials. Picture by Kate Sanderson, KS Artwork & Photography.
Mark Jackson at Belsay Horse Trials. Picture by Kate Sanderson, KS Artwork & Photography.

High winds created a major challenge for competitors at Belsay Horse Trials, which attracted a high-class field.

The event was staged on Saturday and Sunday and gusts of up to 50mph on the opening day made it tough for riders.

Paul Langford at Belsay Horse Trials. Picture by Kate Sanderson, KS Artwork & Photography.

Paul Langford at Belsay Horse Trials. Picture by Kate Sanderson, KS Artwork & Photography.

However, the going was made easier on the second day, as the sun shone.

Five Badminton riders, including two Olympians, competed at Belsay alongside a host of local well-known event riders, as well as those who had travelled from much further afield.

Nicola Wilson, Team GB silver medallist at London 2012, had eight horses entered across the two days and enjoyed success on several of them, including two second-placed finishes – Ballinagore Coal in the Fit for Less Novice Section D and Khanamore in the UBS BE100 Section L – a fifth in the Gibson & Co Section I and a sixth in the Ryecroft Glenton Regional Novice Final.

The Regional Novice Final was won by Dutch Olympic team rider Andrew Heffernan on Pewit Setimo. He also rode Lawless Lil to come eighth in the Go as You Please Intermediate Section F.

Nicola Wilson at Belsay Horse Trials. Picture by Kate Sanderson, KS Artwork & Photography.

Nicola Wilson at Belsay Horse Trials. Picture by Kate Sanderson, KS Artwork & Photography.

Badminton Rider Ben Hobday was first and third in the Gibson & Co BE100 Section I.

His girlfriend, Emma Carmichael, whose parents run Todburn Equestrian Centre, near Longhorsley, had to withdraw her good horse Cooley Lucky Strike from the Open Intermediate Class, but she did compete another younger horse, Henry’s Best, in the Sanlam Private Wealth BE100 Section J.

Other Badminton 2015 riders who came to Belsay included leading Scottish rider Louisa Milne-Home and UK Nation’s Cup Squad Member Paul Simms.

The biggest class of the weekend, the Barbour Open Intermediate, was won by Katie Magee from Richmond on Dollarney, with Durham-based Jamie Atkinson in second place on Celtic Fortune and Julie Lawson third on her home-bred Primitive Faerie Tale.

Andrew Heffernan at Belsay Horse Trials. Picture by Kate Sanderson, KS Artwork & Photography.

Andrew Heffernan at Belsay Horse Trials. Picture by Kate Sanderson, KS Artwork & Photography.

Scottish rider Emily Galbraith was fifth and sixth in this class on Fernhill in Action (owned by co-organisers Edward and Jane Pybus) and IPW Nom de Plume.

Tom Carr won the Land Factor Open Intermediate U21 class on Chelka Z with Charlotte Parry-Adams second on Onwards and Upwards II and Gemma Burvill third on Exocet Missile.

Yorkshire’s James Adams not only won Go as You Please Intermediate Section F on Lawly, but was also awarded a £250 bonus prize for being the rider nearest the Optimum Time in the Intermediate Sections.

Daniel Scott was second in this class with north Northumberland rider Jessica McKie coming third on Madam’s Law.

Hannah Bate was the winner of the Brewin Dolphin Intermediate Novice Section A on Dooney Hill, beating Heidi Woodhead on DHI paparazzi (who was also fifth on DHI Enterprise) and Sophie Dodds on Be touchable.

Carole Dennis won the Benfield Novice Section C on Trumpstoo, with Sanne de Jong finishing second on Enjoy III. Local rider Emi Rowell came third on Hi Silver and Jamie Atkinson was fourth on Etilia.

Emily Galbraith won the Fit For Less Novice Section D on Annaghmore Eagle Chief, with Nicola Wilson second and Jamie Atkinson in third on Charlotte Ridley’s Wot about Wottie.

Christopher Whittle dominated the Lycetts Open Novice Section E, coming first on Mehendi, third on Suedip and sixth on Foxglove Skylark. Meldon-based Mark Jackson was second on Captain Cool. He also won the Auchendinny Carnegie Trophy for the Highest Placed Northumbrian rider in the Novice Classes.

The BE100 and BE90 sections were full with local riders competing against better known ones.

Stephen Rankin from Darras Hall competed on both days with four horses. He was ninth in the Gibson & Co BE100 section, second in the Sanlam Private Wealth BE100 Section J on Edouard Van Het Cabernhol and eighth in the BE90 Section P, sponsored by his own firm Portland Green.

Francesca Richardson, from Kirkley, was second in the Bond Dickinson BE100 Section K on Drakes Drum II and was also awarded the Gill Gilbertson Memorial Salver for the best performance in the Grassroots classes by a re-trained racehorse.

The Queen Margaret’s School BE100 U18 Section M was won by Eliza Yeardley on Prince VIII with Robyn Bowness in second and Alice Davies-Cooke in third.

Delilah de Wesselow, daughter of the other co-organisers Peter and Laura de Wesselow, was 10th, with younger sister Xanthe in 12th on Lakeview Rocky.

Dressage rider and trainer Paul Langford, from Durham, took up eventing at the weekend and stepped in to ride some of partner Will Murray’s horses after Will had a nasty fall at home on Friday.

He won the Hello Activ BE90 Section O with a final score of 18. Hayden Bridge-based Georgina Clarkson won the Rural Solutions BE90 Section Q on her pony Orkney’s Classic.

The big story of the horse trials this year was the new Bond Dickinson Show Jumping Arena with its state-of-the-art Sports Drainage System and it was given rave reviews by all riders.

Live scoring was another big innovation for the event. The system enabled scores to be beamed directly on to TV screens in the public and corporate hospitality tents and kept competitors up to date with results as they came in. Competitors, spectators and sponsors were all delighted with it.

The event’s stellar line up of sponsors was led by Barbour.

A raffle was held over the two days and raised £1,600 for Morpeth Riding for the Disabled. Other attractions included fairground rides, archery and trade stands.