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West Country Witheridge Hold Their Own

Witheridge Riding Club have fun at The Festival

Having successfully competed in our area Hunter Trial qualifier held at Pontispool Farm in Taunton on Sunday 7th April, our Senior Open and Junior Novice teams set off for the championships, held as part of “The Festival of the Hunter” at Grange Farm, Peterborough. This was quite an undertaking as it included a 500 mile round trip! The teams were as follows:

Prize winning senior open team (from left to right): Natalie Bucklar,
Claire Wilson, Carol Hayes, Rachel Davey

Senior Open

Rachel Davey…..Fluta
Natalie Buckler…By George
Carol Hayes…….Dolly’s Button
Claire Wilson…...De Beer’s Dominic

Junior Novice

Laura Sinclair…...Drayford Trinity
Alexandra Barnett...Gogland Amethyst
Lyndsey Cheffings...Midnight Gemini
Misty Parks…..Little John

The Senior Open teams campaign started with disappointment when Rachel Davey’s horse, Fluta had to be pulled up on course due to an injury. Carol Hayes and Natalie Bucklar lifted the Witheridge hopes when they both completed clear rounds with just a few time penalties between them. Claire Wilson, final team member, not only went clear but also proved to be the fastest competitor of the day, completing her fantastic round in the exact optimum time. It was later discovered that Claire was the only competitor not to exceed the time limit from 450 taking part!

The superb efforts of the girls meant that not only did Witheridge take the honours in the team competition but Claire also picked up the individual prize, winning a sash, ribbon and a silver salver trophy, the second national trophy for the club. This proved to be a really exciting day for Claire who, earlier that morning had also taken the Working Hunter Championship receiving yet another sash and ribbon presented to her by KBIS Insurance, sponsors of the show.

The cross-country itself was up-to-height, technical in places and the optimum time had been set at a very fast pace indeed . The ground was undulating and the course varied, incorporating woodland and many testing water features. The main water complex involved a drop into water followed by a jump in the water itself and then up a step to clear the obstacle. This jump caused many problems to riders, especially in the junior section but our team, not wanting to be outdone by the senior contingent rode very well with Alexandra Barnett finishing third individually on her home bred mare, Gogland Amethyst in a 94 strong section. Another one of our juniors, Laura Sinclair also took part in the Novice Ridden Hunter Championship being placed a creditable fourth in a class which was considered to be of a very high standard.

Our club would like to say a huge thank you to N.F.U. Mutual who kindly sponsored the junior team, allowing them to have the team colours of Emerald, Blue and Gold made up to match the seniors, meaning we also looked the part. We are extremely grateful.

Claire Wilson and De Beer’s Dominic


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