The Saddlery Aberconwy Equestrian & Pet Supplies DRESSAGE CHAMPIONSHIPS at AINTREE
The early May Bank Holiday weekend saw a busy three days of competition culminating in some high-class championships on the final day.
Cementing her partnership still further with Hagelkruis Valentijn (Val) was Morgan Ross-Sawar who won the junior elementary.
Morgan is just twelve months into her partnership with Val, who won the 2015 Hickstead CDI pony FEI individual test and was placed in the team and dressage freestyle classes for former rider Angus Corrie-Deane.
“I had always admired and followed this pony and as that was Angus’s last year with Val we wanted to buy him to take Morgan up to the next level,” explained Morgan’s mum Sabrina
As Val was originally sent to Germany to sell, it proved a long-distance transaction, but Sabrina eventually brought the Dutch bred gelding back to England.
“We clicked straight away,” said Morgan, who after just a few weeks with the 13-year-old 148cm pony, represented England at the 2017 “Home Pony International held at Rockwood in Scotland.
“He knows his job and needs very little warm-up and his extension and medium trot really does have the wow factor,” added the 13-year-old Burnley rider.
Also making good progress to a higher level is Charlotte Calvert who won the junior novice championship riding the Bronhelog Royal 11-year-old Broneulog Alycat (TJ).
The Welsh Section B pony had previously only competed in show jumping classes, but as her mum Alison did dressage, Charlotte wanted to follow suit.
As Charlotte’s pen pal is Phoebe Peter’s, she picked up lots of tips and encouragement from the 2013 and 2015 pony European champion.
“Charlotte has ridden her socks off for the past two years and is now training at medium level at home,” said Alison.
Last year, Charlotte gained a place on the inter-regional team and finished fifth overall and she is applying for re-selection again this season.
“TJ is a great pony who for his size has big paces and a great medium trot.
He goes along with a smile on his face and at home he loves to jump and do farm rides,” said the 11-year-old Oswaldtwistle rider.
In her first full affiliated season, Paula Coogan won the senior prelim championship riding Cottage Farm Touch and Go (Lennie).
Paula bought her part-bred Hannoverian six-year-old, who had previously evented last year and after a few months getting to know him and a couple of educational outings, Paula did her first BD competition in December and they are Aintree bound again after earning Petplan qualification.
“We are still in the early stages of our training, but the element of dressage from eventing was there for me and my trainer Rebecca Brennand to work with.
Lennie did a nice test and I was happy with what we had done.
He has the most fabulous walk and that’s a pace that is difficult to change, and it was nice Lennie’s previous owner (Jordan Bannister) came to see us win our first championship,” said Paula.
Alex Ratcliffe was another rider who worked her way up from local level to BD competitions last year and she took the senior novice title riding her partner of six years, the German bred mare Shadana (Shaz).
Highlights for the pair last season included finishing fifth at the Le Mieux National championships.
“She is a big horse (17.1) with naturally big movement, but to move up to elementary, we do need to continue working on tension and flexibility.
We regularly compete here at Aintree and she did feel more relaxed for the championship, but to move up I’m aiming to get her more supple.
Our hacking isn’t great at home, so Shaz enjoys playing in the field and some pole work” said Alex.
Georgina Dorian has made a successful switch from showing to dressage with her 13-year-old Dutch warmblood Astor, who won the senior intro championship.
Astor previously competed in lightweight hunter classes, but Georgina thought a change of disciplines would work and is convinced he prefers dressage.
“There is much more going on with dressage and although everything is still quite basic, he does seem quite proficient.
This is our first serious year and I think we are making good progress,” said Georgina.
Also winning their respective championships were Hannah Roberts and Harry (junior intro B), Beth Davies and Blu Lou Boy (junior prelim 17A) and Erin Denney and Rafferty (senior elementary 59).
The Championships were once again very popular this year and special thanks to The Saddlery Aberconwy Equestrian & Pet Supplies for their kind sponsorship for this show.
This show report will also feature in our Aintree Newsletter in June
Photos by Majestic Photography