Houghton International Horse trials review

Pony Club teams battle it out in the showjumping. Picture: Christopher Doyle

Pony Club teams battle it out in the showjumping. Picture: Christopher Doyle - Credit: Archant

Local competitors had a unique opportunity to compete at the prestigious Houghton International in a host of unaffiliated classes over the Bank Holiday weekend.

The showjumping classes were hugely popular and the successful winners beat a huge field.

In the Pairs Relay, Katie Cameron and Victoria Mcilwraith displayed a combination of speed and accuracy to win in a flying finish.

In the Ride and Drive, Katie May Holland, on the appropriately named The Stig, were the Lewis Hamiltons of the equestrian world and thrashed the competition in an excellent time of 63.25 seconds.

Jasmine Hunter on Oberons Fantasy won the Chase Me Charlie with Katie May Holland settling for second. The 75cm two-phase class was fiercely fought, but Holly Hethrington and Penny came out on top with well-known local showjumper Charlotte Peasley eventual winner of the 1m class on Star Rocket.

The very popular Horse and Hound class saw riders trade their ponies for pooches half way round the course; Jasmine Hunter with her doggy duo Gizmo stole the show and won the class in flying colours.

In the last class of the weekend India Taylor and Coastguard Popeye had clearly been eating their spinach; they conquered the Top Score class and took the final prize of the weekend.

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A showdown of local riding clubs commenced on the Sunday in the dressage arenas at Houghton.

The winning team eventually went to the Carousel Riding Club whose team consisted of Phillida Hurn, Rebecca Clark, Jessica Lawrence and Georgia Key. Individual winners were Maggie Davies, who won the Prelim 14 on 72.92pc, and Hayley Chilver on Walden Lanasliae, who won the Novice 30 on 68.85p

Amongst the celebrations, Houghton suffered the tragic loss of an equestrian athlete. Cavalor Telstar, ridden by Raf Kooremans for the Netherlands in the CICO***, collapsed and died after the cross country on Saturday

The horse's final result would see him complete an excellent double clear for his country and finish in 25th position. In the Inter-Schools competition Beeston Hall School were triumphant in two out of the four classes with Alderman Peel High and King Edward VII scooping top honours in the other classes.

The fiercely competitive Pony Club showjumping teams saw the West Norfolk Hunt win the 80cm class with the Burghley Pony Club clinching victory in the 90cm.

Every year Houghton sees a huge interest in the Eventer Grand Prix. Local and top riders alike take to the ring in an attempt to be the quickest, cleanest and most accurate across the course.

Competitors first jump a small round of showjumps, immediately followed by cross country fences then back into the ring for some more showjumping, all against the clock.

In the Open class Caroline Powell, on Mr Alan Bell's Thornfield Jones, were faultless around the course to secure victory. In the Novice Grand Prix, Daisy Vaughan-Jones on Deadly Dudley, proved an invincible partnership. In a class of more than 90, they were clear in a time of 90.69 seconds, two seconds faster than the nearest rivals.

On Friday the Hood name was a familiar one on the leader board. Oliver won two of the three Hunter classes on Bridgeham and Act Flyn Lad before scooping both the Hunter Champion and Reserve Hunter Champion on the two horses. Then Allister rode Diamonds Are Forever to first in the Small Riding Horse and to Champion for owner Miss A Jenks.

On Saturday Andrea Usher, on her 13-year-old Thoroughbred cross Paco, were outstanding winners of the day taking the Ridden Championship. They went on to finish the showing festival by taking Champion in the Tuffa Footwear Champion ridden and Champion In-Hand class.

Isabel Meadows-Gibbs rode Lizzie Meadows Maisie to Ridden and In-Hand Veteran Plus Horse/ Pony winner, but got starstruck on the way back to the worry, Lizzie says, 'Zara Phillips stopped to talk to Isabel on the horse walk. Zara was absolutely lovely and Isabel was thrilled – it's made her year!' Lizzie added, 'I was pretty chuffed a little later on when Lucinda Fredericks came over to say how well Maisie looked for 27.'

Special Mention must go to Sophia Lee, based in Wacton in Norfolk. She started the weekend by brilliantly claiming the Sports Horse Jumping on her own five-year-old, Artic Echo, on the Friday. Then, with Georgina Wood on-board, they claimed the Express Equine Supreme Champion. Unfortunately the weekend did not end as happily.Riding her Intermediate horse Porters Hill in the CCI** she suffered a traumatic fall and as a result has lost three teeth and received seven stiches to her face.