The challenging terrain caught out a few experienced riders, but played to the strengths of others, including duos Music Man and Georgie Simpson, Curra Oko and Katie Corteen and Walter Tate, ridden by Amy Osborne. All three combinations not only placed first in their section, they were the only ones in their respective sections to complete the cross country course within the optimum time.
It wasn’t just the cross country course that caught out riders; the showjumping arena also tested this weekend’s athletes. A mix of combinations and tight corners made for a complex course, catching out a number of riders with faults incurred.
Despite the weekend’s challenges, it was cause for celebration for Katie Stephens-Grandy, a regular competitor at Bishop Burton College. Katie, riding Trendy Magic Touch and Mr Music, both her own horses, stomped to victory in the BE100 Plus (Section D) and BE90 (Section K), jumping clear in the showjumping arena and finishing both cross country courses within the optimum time.
“This weekend has been a fantastic experience and marks my seventh and eight wins of the season,” said Katie. “This weekend has been tough going, but you couldn’t have asked for a better event. The organising committee has done so much to keep us riders safe this weekend, so on behalf of everyone here, I’d like to thank them for all their support.
“I love competing at Bishop Burton – it’s been a challenging event, but I’m really pleased with how we’ve performed this weekend.”
Of the 300 riders, just 20 managed to complete the cross country course within the optimum time, with soft ground making it hard going for many riders.
The course, this year designed and built by Joe Weller of AJW Equestrian, made full use of the college’s undulating park land, and explored new combinations ahead of next year’s FEI European Pony Championships, which are being hosted by Bishop Burton College.
“Despite the less than perfect weather this weekend, we’ve had some excellent feedback from competitors,” said Kim Knightley, Bishop Burton’s equine director.
“Joe and his team responded well to the ground conditions throughout the weekend, finding solutions wherever possible to ensure the course could withstand the volume of riders. I am very pleased that we were able to see all riders through to the very end and the fact that we could is testament to Joe, his team, and our BE officials’ quick thinking throughout the competition.”
The BE Bishop Burton 2 Horse Trials is the second eventing competition of the year held at the College, based in East Yorkshire. In August 2018, the College will play host to the FEI European Pony Championships, a five day competition which will see young riders from more than 20 European nations compete in the three stages of eventing; cross country, dressage and showjumping.