Three riders from Kent are on their way to the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) after qualifying at the Lawyers2You-sponsored Senior Amateur Championships (Wales & West). Monica Ballard, Carly Purves and Megan Williams were all on their own horses in a clean sweep to gain coveted tickets for the British Showjumping Amateur Classic, which will have its final at the NEC Birmingham in October.
Monica headed the class on board Miss Cartier with Carly and Rowena II finishing just 0.43 seconds behind in the jump-off. Megan did just enough to finish third and take the final qualifying place with Madonna VI.
Cornwall’s father and son Adam and Donald Ellery were among ten riders who qualified for the National Amateur & Veteran Championships, to be held at Aintree in November. Two qualifiers were held during the show with a possible six going forward from each, providing riders had jumped clear in the first round. Riders to go through from the first qualifier were Helen Rees (Carmarthenshire) on her own Rumers Gucci, Adam on Rosemary Ball’s I M Downtown, Exeter’s Jenny Spiller on her own Robbie VI, Jessica Nutbeen Slowley from Gloucestershire on her own Amenco, Leicestershire’s Helen Duffield on her own Aephi Van T Free and Claire Powell from Hertfordshire on Lucy Holt’s As D Exploit Van Groenhove.
Donald Ellery headed the second qualifier, where only four went forward, on board the horse ridden by his father. Cheshire’s Tony Barker was second with his own Rio V, Laura Whitfield – who had travelled all the way from Northumbria – was third on her own Wonder Z and Zoe Henshall from Bewdley in Worcestershire was fourth on Michelle Thompson’s Warno.
The six Senior Amateur Championships were at heights of 70cm, 80cm, 90cm, 1.00m, 1.10m and 1.20m, ridden over two heats with points accumulated in each heat; the second round points were of higher value so it was all to play for as each Championship went into the deciding heat.
Kent riders featured strongly with Monica Ballard and Mollie Etheridge the only two riders to win both heats in their respective Championships. Monica, once again on board Miss Cartier, completed on maximum points in the 1.10m Championship for a clear win over second-placed Gayle Evans (Pembrokeshire) riding Ballinteskin Stud’s Touch of Gold. Somerset’s Bina Ford was in third place on her own Tea Time III.
In the 1.00m Championship Mollie Etheridge rode her own Bilwood Dolly Dotsman to victory over Holly Broad, also from Kent. Riding Tracy Broad’s Cruella, Holly was breathing down the victor’s neck after finishing third in the first heat and second in the decider. Bristol’s Emily Harding was third on her own Ivan Opportunity following fourth and third placings.
The 1.20m Championship proved an Essex whitewash – and a commentator’s nightmare – when Melissa Eagles, Michaela Huntington and Michelle Mason took the top three places. Riding Emma Maguire’s Tithus Van Het Rietven, Melissa finished 25 points clear after winning the first heat and was just 0.15 seconds off the pace to take runner-up slot in the decider. A second and third place gave Michaela, riding her own Zulu Maeva, enough points for the Reserve Championship with Michelle in third on board Gerald Munson’s Darcy’s Lady Annabella.
Melissa also came third in the 70cms Championship, this time riding Julia Eagles’s Mister Tiggs. Two second places gained overall victory for Kent’s Heather Broad – sister of Holly – on Tracy Broad’s Limes Play It Again with Surrey’s Sharon Sanders splitting the two on her own Urielle IV.
The south east county (Kent) produced a further Championship winner in the 80cms when Dominique O’Mahoney rode her own Toberona Touch Down to victory following two second places. She headed two Welsh riders, Hayley Joshua from Pontypridd on her own Hawthorn Zorro in second and Jill Higson from Denbighshire. Riding her own Reustrade, Jill pulled herself up to third place overall by winning the second heat ahead of Dominique.
Louisa Coleby from Essex just missed out on a full house of points finishing with a first and second place on her own Opium Dux Centrer to take the 90cms Championship. The winner of the second heat, Sarah Jones from Ynysybwl, Pontypridd, pulled her ranking up to second place on board Amanda Jones’s Belle Faerie after the first heat only gained her points for a clear round (5). Just five points overall behind Sarah was Kristy Nelson (Surrey) who took third place riding her own Romeo H.
Full results can be found on www.the showground.com