Last Friday saw the pupils, parents and ponies of the Sidcot Equestrian team set off for Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire to represent Avon in the National Schools Equestrian Association (NSEA) county show jumping finals.
It was an early start on Saturday morning for the 70cm team of Henry Blair on Ivy, Elsa Cardale on Floss, Sophie Lee riding Eden (all third form) and Erin Crofts with Rosco (lower fourth). Riders had to compete two rounds, one in the outdoor arena, the second indoors. As this was a championship the height of the fences and technical difficulty of the course were both raised from the qualifying competitions. Knocked poles and refusals incur penalty points or faults, the lower the number of faults the better. Riders also had to complete a timed section in the second round, the aim being to get the fastest time without knocking any poles. All the Sidcot riders rode lovely rounds and the team went forward to the second round on a score of 0. The indoor course was more technical and challenging for the ponies and a couple of poles were rolled giving the team faults, however they had some fast times which put them in 5th place overall which was a great result.
Next it was the turn of the 80cm team of Henry and Elsa, joined by Lottie Gunter on Rohan (Lower Fourth) and Caoimhe Collery on Harper (Lower Fifth). Again excellent rounds were ridden by all the team as they all coped well with the increased height and difficulty of the jumps. Fast times in the timed section meant that the team went to the top of the leader board, there then followed a nail biting few hours as the rest of the riders in this large class completed their rounds. The good news was that Sidcot was placed second out of a field of 34 teams from across the UK and qualified for the national finals in October – a fantastic achievement!
The following day Lottie and Caoimhe were joined by Freda Cardale riding Sienna (Upper Fifth) for the 90cm class. All three riders executed lovely rounds but unfortunately a couple of poles fell which put them just out of the top 10.
All in all it was a great weekend for the Sidcot equestrian team, who are now looking forward to their next national competition at the NSEA Arena Eventing Championship at Hickstead at the end of May.
Equestrian team Manager