GALLERY: Poplar Park Horse Trials
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
The 31st annual Poplar Park Horse Trials were a huge success this weekend with competitors from as far afield as India making the special journey to compete.
Just outside Woodbridge, the characteristic sandy heathland of the area offered near perfect going for what has been an unpredictably dry April.
Adding to the excellent going, event organiser and course designer Jim Hardwick included some new additions to the course which caught out even the most experienced riders.
Despite a seemingly ideal course, Hardwick said that they had faced some issues: “The biggest problems we face here are the rabbits, the land is ideal for them and with the mild weather they have thrived. But with that issue under control we re-routed the novice course which has given it a great new vantage point.”
Hardwick’s new improvements to the course were welcomed by riders who described the changes as ‘more testing’ than in previous years, with plenty of combinations on course to slow riders up and make it harder to get inside that ever important optimum time.
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On Saturday, BE90 classes were the feature of the day with Norfolk and Suffolk riders dominating the leaderboard.
In BE90 Section A, Bury St Edmunds rider Hetty Keyes won against the odds on her own Sir Charlie Hutch, after the gelding had major spinal surgery last year. Just 0.5 penalties behind her was Max Wolstencroft on Gainstown Heather to take second.
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Norfolk rider Jane Anderson rode a fast round cross-country on Jims Patch to take winning position in section B, with best Suffolk rider going to runner up Emma Harwood on Irco Dakar GII.
Colchester rider Louise Clover took the win in section C, with local lad Zachary Thorne claiming runner up position on Miss Isabella Paul’s Trafalgar II. Norwich rider Harriet Hustler on Hearnesbrook Kildrummy added nothing to a dressage score of 33 to take home a well-deserved third place.
It was Norfolk versus Suffolk in the BE90 Open section, when Stowmarket rider Caroline Smith pipped Brampton girl Cheryl Hunt to the win by the smallest of margins after the riders ended on the same score.
Caroline eventually took the win, with her cross-country round just one second closer to the optimum time than Cheryl’s.
The end of the day saw Novice wins for regular attendee of Poplar Park, John-Paul Sheffield, who took first, second and fourth in section E and it was international rider, Ajai Appachu from India, who claimed the open novice title on Cocky Locky.
The second day of competition saw Suffolk riders notching up the winnings with Sharon Grindey from Stowmarket taking BE100 section G, with Mary Edmundson and Dinky III close behind in second.
Jo Chipperfield and Hyde Park III took BE100 section H while Camilla Kruger took the win in the BE100 Open section with Princability. Suffolk’s young riders came out in force in the BE100 under 18 class, with the eventual win going to Katherine Cross of Bury St Edmunds on her own Watchover Jackanory.
But the weekend’s top win went to Kiwi and EQ Life cover star Caroline Powell on Mr Cameron Crawford’s eight-year-old gelding Up Up and Away, who took the Open Intermediate class.
Caroline followed it up with an impressive third on Mr Alan Bell’s Thornfield Jones in the same class, with Jo Chipperfield coming second with On Your Marks.