Showjumping: International and National success for Scots

Unprecedented circumstances saw Covid-19 call a halt to all show jumping competitions in the UK with England and Europe starting up months ahead of Scotland which remained in a semi-lockdown state until the beginning of August. Having owners paying for horses to be out and about the pressure was on some riders to look further afield to compete. James Smith had some time at home before he packed his truck up and headed off to France then returned closer to home at Bolesworth where the super consistent Elmo Brown headed a Grand Prix qualifier before finishing third in the final.

This pair remained on form at Scope to secure the Ladies and Gents title against some of the best riders in the country. Simply Splendid won a class at Bolesworth before he too brought home the money by standing at the top of the line in the Grand Prix. Edinburgh-based Claire Leitch travelled to South View for a warm up only touching one pole throughout the show with Warhol Wulfselection Z, but it was at the National Championships she landed the big one winning the Silver League Championship and a winner’s purse of GBP500 to go with the championship rug.

Claire also keeps busy driving son, Owen, around the shows. Six-year-old Owen is already putting some adults to shame jumping double clears in classes up to 90cm including finishing eighth in the Springboard final on the amazing Tatty Desire. Kelly Connor was one of the first to break ranks and head south with a truck full of horses returning with some good results.

Kelly’s Barkeldy Equestrian team consists of Ben Wentink’s George XXX who has moved up to 1.40/1.45m classes jumping double clears at Arena UK and the British National Championships. Mandy Haig’s Grand Kannan, a son of Mandy’s good mare Parisienne joined Kelly in January jumping some super double clears at Onley, Arena UK and Weston Lawns. Kelly still has Bailande Van De Kapel to join George in the bigger classes and Ben’s Cornet Obolensky stallion Cornet’s Diamond coming up through the ranks.

Declan Irvine was consistent at Fontainebleau with the ever-reliable winner Keeford Carousel as well as Dior Van Overis and a new ride for him, Just Max with all jumping double clears. Kirk Ritchie travelled with Declan and was seen jumping clear in a 1.1m at his first international show with MB Mullentine Magic. In July, Stephen Lohoar left his St Andrews base and headed for Opglabbeek, in Belgium, with a team of five horses jumping some good rounds in classes up to 1.45m.

Codie McGowan gained some mileage jumping her lovely five-year-old stallion Kasper at Arena UK, Harrogate and the National Championships the latter at which she jumped a good clear in the age class qualifier to stand equal first. At the National Championships, the Scottish Advanced Academy team scored a victory despite having not jumped at a show before this one. Warming up at home with Nadine Warwick the team of Keira Rankin, Lucy Rennie, Brooke Walker and Shannon Jardine thoroughly enjoyed their lap of honour round the huge arena taking the gold home to Scotland.

Another winner at the National Championships was Dumfries-based Eleanor Archibald who put her head down and her leg on to ride a fast and accurate jump off on Pondhead Dexter to take the National 128cm championship. After a very determined round they deserved the sash, rug and lap of honour to celebrate. Eleanor then swapped onto the evergreen twenty-two-year-old My Little Sweetheart to jump double clear in the Hickstead main arena to finish fourth in the Winter 128cm championship.

Millie Lawson made the right call not going so fast in the 138cms Championship with Noah’s Lady opting to take it a little easier on the grass. The tactics resulted in an easy double clear and fourth place with this combination coming home to rack up first round double clears at Blue Ridge when they came home. The tactics paid off for Charlotte Gaw who from an early draw opted to go for a speedy round in the Springboard final at Scope.

Rolling one pole Charlotte had an anxious wait watching the rest of the competitors but one by one they had fences down in slower times leaving her the clear winner on her own Coltstown Dun Cruiser.