Stars shine at Houghton spectacular
Top riders from across the world featured at the Subaru Houghton International Horse Trials last week, with the likes of Pippa Funnell, Betttina Hoy, Jeanette Brakewell and Paul Tapner competing across three main sections.
A selection of lucky unaffiliated competitors, taking part in show jumping and dressage throughout the weekend, also enjoyed the thrilling atmosphere.
The CIC* concluded on Saturday with Funnell managing to hold her dressage lead, clinching first place on Billy Black Jack ahead of rival Emilie Chandler, who also held on to her second spot. A pole down in the showjumping meant that Piggy French slipped down one place, allowing Jeanette Brakewell, riding the gorgeous dark bay stallion Wesuvio, to come through with a clear into third place. Sarah Wales and Valentin was the highest placed Norfolk rider, jumping a great double clear to finish in a creditable 10th place in this hotly contested section.
The international CIC*** cross-country course proved to be a tough test, with winner Tapner describing it as 'riding a bit bigger than it walked.' Tapner was clearly pleased with his result, adding: 'It was a bit close on the time but I'm very happy with the horse and he is very experienced. I gave the spectators at the water lots to 'ooh' and 'aah' about though – I didn't jump in very well and there was lots of flappy reins and legs!'
The CCI** concluded on Sunday, and once more Funnell took the top step on the podium, this time on another Billy Stud horse, Billy Beware. Despite picking up 7.2 time penalties on the tight cross-country course, her solid dressage of 42.8 had positioned her in joint second place.
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Overnight leader Rodney Powell, however, was another to fall foul of Alec Lochore's tough track, leaving Funnell to enjoy her second win of the event. Suffolk rider Mary Edmundson put in a great performance, finishing in 10th position following a fast double clear on Sonny Early.
While top-level eventers were picking up prizes, all weekend competitors in the unaffiliated dressage and jumping classes were enjoying the excitement of competing in the same surroundings as the world's elite.
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Class 1, the 75cm showjumping, was won by Jessica Mountain on Dolly Socks, who finished just 0.3 seconds faster than joint second placed riders Sarah Earl and Early's Ecstacy and Scarlet Simmons riding Mr Kipling. Scarlet also rode a great round in class 2 the 100cm showjumping, riding Splash. The pair were more than four seconds faster than second placed Mollie Rix and Fankino Fillibuster.
EQ Magazine sponsored the Unaffiliated Team Dressage, on Sunday. The teams came from all around the region and rode Prelim and Novice Dressage tests, with scores combining to a final result.