Total Eclipse leaves rivals in the shade
It was a busy weekend for Blundeston's Lee Wright who travelled to Little Downham Horse Trials in Ely for this well-supported event.
Entries were high and the sun beat down as riders contested Rodger Howe's show jumping track and Mr P Herbert and Mr J Clissold's cross country course on the level ground in Cambridgeshire.
Wright made the cross country look easy as she rode Alison and Rosemary Rushmer's 13-year-old mare Total Eclipse into first place in the BE 90 Regional Final, clinching a qualification to next year's Badminton Grassroots final.
Not content with first place, she also completed a strong double clear on Caroline Oaks' ten-year-old chestnut mare Darcy, who was bred locally by Teresa Swift. The partnership secured second place, just 1.5 penalties behind her previous ride. Wright said: 'Both of these horses have been consistent over this season and unusually there is nothing really to separate the two, they are both on equal form.'
Winning horse Total Eclipse has only been eventing for two years after having previously turned her hoof to dressage – helping Wright along at this event with a great score of 31. Wright has had a fantastic season with these two horses, clocking up a first and second at Poplar Park as well as two firsts at Great Witchingham (2) and is now aiming to compete in show jumping and dressage over the winter with the aim of completing a few pre-novice events before contesting the Grassroots final in spring next year.
Another rider to secure the one-two in her section was 12-year-old Isabelle Upton from Herringswell.
This talented young rider who is a member of Newmarket and Thurwell Pony Club rode her own nine-year-old gelding Howen Loganberry to first place in the BE100 under 18 Area Final, finishing on her dressage mark of 33.5.
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She also rode her other pony Alfie XI into second place, with just one down in the show jumping giving her a final score of 37. Upton has only owned these incredibly talented yet diminutive 14.1hh ponies since July, but already they are clearly on track for success.
Her mother Rachel Upton said: 'Isabelle was by far the youngest in the class but really held her own, despite feeling unwell and after a very early start because I was competing in the morning.'
Isabelle will be heading to Stowe School next year but her ambitions to be a professional rider are set. 'She has her route to success all mapped out and she really wants to get onto the British Pony Teams,' added Rachel.
Plenty of other local riders made the trip over to Little Downham, with huge success. BE90 section A was won by Angela Haag from Framsden, near Stowmarket, riding Rowleyfarm Amethyst and section B was won by Thetford rider Tiffany Hewetson on Lord Rannoch II.
The French sisters were also on form at Little Downham, with Piggy winning Monday's Open Intermediate class on Wutella and Intermediate section K on Riocca.
Nini French picked up a red rosette riding Sarah Jewson's Frank Discussion in BE 100 section G, with a double clear helping her to the top spot. This six-year-old gelding was originally found by Jewson in a French field and has been superbly brought on by Nini, earlier this year winning BE 100 at Burnham Market (1) as well as accruing other top placings this season.