Well done to our riders at the RDA National Championships 2016!

25 July 2016

in Events, The Latest News, The Riders

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A message of support from Carl Hester, to our riders, gave a huge boost to our Hartpury campaign, which started Friday afternoon. Badger and Kiera were cleaned; scrubbed and polished, and soon realised an outing was on the cards.  Some very enthusiastic showering resulted in Christine and Val accompanying the ponies under the heat lamps to dry off!  Nigel arrived with the lorry and as soon as Kiera had gone up the ramp, Badger wasn’t far behind! With ponies, hay, buckets, fork and the “Stratford” trunk safely loaded, the adventure was underway.  Arriving early evening, the ponies were met by Jill, Gill and Donna and settled into their very smart stables “with a view”.

Liz, Jill and the team were up early on Saturday, plaiting and ensuring Badger was looking his very best to meet Jo. Both were beautifully presented and received some lovely comments from the Best Turnout judge!  Walking down to the warm-up arena, with Kiera as companion, Badger seemed to sense the occasion and what was expected.  There was a moment of excitement in the warm-up when he took exception to a small pony trotting directly towards him. However, once in the arena, Badger was completely tuned-in to Jo, producing a smooth, accurate and rhythmical test. As an early starter, there was an agonising wait for all the scores to go up – but it was worth the wait.  Jo and Badger achieved a brilliant 67.94%, to come 5th.  A fantastic result in a very competitive class and I gather, a personal best too!  The highlight was a very good 7.5 (out of 10) for free walk and positive feedback from the judge regarding accuracy.  We just now need to work on improving the energy and activity of his paces, to gain higher marks.

Sunday was Kiera’s turn to be centre stage – once again her mane and tail was expertly plaited and her coat shone. Sasha and his family had camped overnight and he was up early to walk to countryside challenge course. Although it was his first time at Nationals, Sasha revelled in the atmosphere and was totally relaxed and keen to get going!  Although on the lead rein, Sasha needed no assistance to complete a balanced, active and accurate countryside challenge round. Kiera was very attentive and responded well to Sasha’s aids; together they were a harmonious partnership. (He was only let down by some apparently inadequate leading from yours truly!)  The resulting score was a massive 82.75% and a 5th rosette – well done Sasha!

Isabella our independent rider, who trains with Natalie, was in the same class. Riding Henry off the lead rein, Isabella showed good control and rode confidently through the course.  Unfortunately Henry became a little distracted by some sheep (wooden, not real!) on the side of the course. Nonetheless Isabella scored an excellent 80.25% to come 7th, just missing out on the rosettes but very well ridden.

Next were the dressage classes. During the warm-up Kiera was getting into her stride – literally – as her bouncy trot turned into a little canter! No problem for Sasha – but not good for me as I tried to keep up!

In the arena, they performed a lovely test, maintaining active, forward paces throughout (assisted by clapping and cheering at the nearby awards ceremony!). The score was 72.22% ! A well-deserved result and the only 70+ score in the class.

As part of the “combined training” competition, the dressage and countryside challenge marks were added together to produce a placing. Once again there was an agonising wait for the results to be calculated, but everyone was delighted when Sasha achieved a remarkable 2nd place!

Isabella and Henry took part in a walk and trot dressage class. It was a very competitive class and they went well to gain 58.88%.  Both riders also entered the Best Turned Out class.   This is contested by many riders, throughout the day and standards are very high.  Sasha scored a respectable 85, to come 9th, just out of the rosettes.  His own turnout was awarded a massive 19 out of 20 – thanks to his stock and very clean boots!   However Isabella and Henry were outstanding in all areas – with immaculate pony, rider and tack – scoring a massive 92 and coming a well-deserved 2nd.  Very well done Isabella.nationals photo 3

Isabella and Sasha both also showed their knowledge of looking after ponies, by taking part in the Horse Care and Knowledge competition.  By Sunday afternoon, there were some very tired, but happy riders. HUGE THANKS to everyone, in whatever capacity, who enable our riders to have such fun and achieve so much. It wouldn’t happen without you.  Special mention goes to Kiera and Badger. Their behaviour and willingness to please, gives our riders such confidence and they truly are a credit to our Group.  Karen

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Hilary July 25, 2016 at 7:11 pm

Well done every one who ventured to Hartbury at the weekend.
What a wonderful time you must have had and good weather to boot .
Congratulations Sasha, Isabella, Natalie & Henry you are a credit to Stratford RDA making all the amazing preparatory work done by the willing helpers so worth while. Karen you must be so proud!


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