Report by Samantha Osborne
Following months of preparation at Richmond Equestrian Centre, Andrew and Abigail Turnbull, ran Richmond Horse Trials Friday 6th – Sunday 8th May 2022. With the buzz of Badminton Horse Trials running on the same dates plus the blessing of three days of glorious sunshine, the atmosphere was jovial and 550 competitors gained access to an efficiently managed show with top class facilities.
Course designers, Jamie Innes and Moray Nicholson, made several adjustments to this year’s Parker Prestige cross country courses and months of groundwork preparation had taken place to make this section a spectacle to be admired. The ground was also perfect for the Goodbye Flys dressage arenas, which ran efficiently over the three days, and boasted top class, calm working in areas.
The showjumping section (built by Tracey Strangeways) was kindly sponsored by Aiskew Equine and Pet Supplies. The local business is owned by Sarah Wilson who attended with a trade stand and kindly presented the Aiskew Equine and Pet Supplies Intermediate Section B on the first day of the show. Sponsors Equiseat Aid and Parker Prestige also brought a trade stand. Taking the top spot of this section was Harry Mutch (24) riding HD The One. The 10 year old Irish gelding is described by his rider to be, “The most lovely horse to ride, with so much more to give.” Harry shared, “The course really flowed and it provided my horse with so much confidence which will help for his first advance next week at Chatsworth.” Section A of the Intermediate was headed by Wills Oakden on Eluna.
The Equestrian Surfaces Under 21s category was won by Jaymee Savill who partnered Grange Ash Sparrow. The Open Intermediate section top podium spot was taken by Emily Orpwood and Highly Delighted. Both of these partnerships finished on a score of 32.7.
On day two, Emily Thompson (16) and Oxmountain Flyer jumped to success in the Parker Prestige Open Novice. Leased from Ellen Hobson, the former three star 13 year old bay gelding joined Emily in December 2021. The Millbry Hill sponsored rider trains with local riders, Sara Bowe and Will Murray. John Thornton and Kilwaughter Storm stormed to success on a score of 27.5 in Section K of the Novice category.
Also galloping to victory on day two was Angela Parkin who led the Super XCountry 90 (Section J) riding former hunt horse, Pallas Splash. With tuition from her instructor Katie McGee, Angela plans to step up to 100 tracks this season. Section I went to a striking 5 year old palomino. Partnered by Beccie Atkinson, Moonlight Vision (known as ‘Banana’) is stabled at Sue Chadwick’s yard in Huddersfield. The combination, who train with Becky Moody, aspire to ‘progress up the levels to BE Novice’. Another eye-catching duo finished in 2nd place: Hollie Aitken riding coloured traditional cob, Eddy Splash, who is owned by Erica and Shirley Hockney. Found tethered to the side of a road as a three week old foal, the talented pony is proudly described by his jockey to be a ‘character’. Hollie believes: “He is one in a million! He can be a monkey but he knows his job, pricks his ears and gets it done!
Section R and S of the 90 section ran on day three. Covering a distance of 2300m in an optimum time of 5 minutes and 7 seconds, Erika Sjostrom riding Watch Me Roll triumphed in Section R. Section S was claimed by Beth Harrison and Garthfach Whisky Rocks.
With the return of prize giving, following previous Covid restrictions, many riders enjoyed receiving rosettes with a round of applause from an audience. Presenting awards for Section O of the 100 class was Angie Johnson on behalf of sponsor, Bailey’s Horse Feeds. Holly Richardson and Calzache put on a cool performance and headed the section. Holly, who had several rides across the three days, credited her showjumping trainer, Robert Shields, for the progress the gelding had made on this outing. The pair hope to step up to Novice level at Warwick Hall.
Also heading to Warwick Hall for their next outing was Rachel Thomas and Swithins Law, owned by Claire Thomas. The homebred 7 year old Mill Law finished on a score of 29.3 to take first prize in 100 Section P.
Section three of the 100 class was won by Sarah Roberts on Lionheart. The pair receive lessons from Chris Bartle. The 10 year old gelding is owned by Sarah’s sister, Amy, who competed Lionheart up to Novice. Aberford based Sarah explained: “Lionheart is normally cool but today he was excited. The cross country course was a real adrenaline rush and I loved the new combinations.”
A tombola, organised by the Turnbull family, raised £1000 for their chosen charity: The Great North Air Ambulance. Abigail shared her appreciation on the Richmond Equestrian Centre’s social media pages: “Andrew and I are very grateful and would like to thank every volunteer, sponsor, contractor, competitor and spectator. Over 100 volunteers helped to man what is the highlight on our calendar and we must credit Horslyx who provided goodie bags for all helpers. Furthermore, we are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for the top 3 equestrian venues in the 2022 Equestrian Business Awards! This news was received shortly after our final competitor completed the course of the 2022 horse trials and so we really have ended the event on a high!”