Local riders shine at Poplar Park Horse Trials

The Poplar Park Horse Trials at Hollesley.

The Poplar Park Horse Trials at Hollesley. - Credit: Archant

Last weekend saw the 33rd running of the Poplar Park Horse Trials, hosted and organised by the Hardwick family.

The organisers had made a huge investment, both on the Cross Country course and the new Showjumping warm-up arena, which proved very popular with competitors over the two days of competition.

Run in aid of Riding for the Disabled, East Anglian Air Ambulance, and The Woodbridge Injured Soldiers Fund, the event saw competition from BE80 (T) all the way up to Advanced-Intermediate.

Despite the massive midweek downpours the going at Poplar was near to perfect due to the sandy soil. Sixteen sections over the two days brought East Anglian-based riders out in force.

The first three placings in all four BE90 sections went to local riders, with the Juddpurs BE90 section headed by Matilda Dawson, riding Thunder III, finishing on her dressage score and beating Corinne Roberts on Recession by only 0.2, with Rhiannon Cohen and The Brook, close behind.


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The Coltsfoot BE90 was won by Emily Uden on Campion Capella with a good score of 19.5, while Joanne Watts finished second on Darc Legend, and Harry Horton finished third on Medlar II.

The second Juddpurs BE90 section was spearheaded by Woodbridge-based rider James Pratt, who led from start to finish with Churchside Reflection, and Joanne Foley added just 1.6 time penalties across-country to finish second with Chakir S Z.

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The Cards for Equestrians BE90 Open section was very close with the top three within two points.

Michelle Chandler with Willows Santana Classic won on her dressage score, closely followed by Caroline Smith on Brother Barnaby.

In the first Airowear BE80 (T) section Jodie Howie claimed the win adding just 0.8 time penalties across-country to her leading dressage mark on Rickamore Monty, with Katherine Whiting finishing in second with Flying Solo.

The second BE80 (T) section was won by Suffolk rider Sally Hayes on Chin Chico B, and the three top placings in the final section all went to Suffolk riders too, with a win for Abi Jacobs on Barney XIII, second for Danielle Lawrence on Atlanta Roo, and third for Shirley Stagg on Timatia.

The Donald’s Volvo BE100 section saw another close finish with the top three finishing within 1.7 penalties, with Johnny Hustler being the highest-placed local rider in third on Ich Heisse Peanut.

The Five Winds BE100 section saw Alyson Parker and J J Malone just pipped for first place after adding 1.2 time penalties across-country to their leading dressage, by Sophie Forbes and Tricky Johnie.

Mary Edmundson followed closely in third with DG Maradona (who was second at Isleham the previous weekend).

In the Bed-Down BE100 Open section Caroline Smith had a very costly XC time penalty, leaving her in second place again, with Classic Jasper, behind Esther Anderson and Eldorado.

It was a win in the Nelson Potter BE100 U18 section for Suffolk rider Alice Hallows on her father’s ride Newferry Irish Mist, finishing on her dressage score of 17.3, with fellow Suffolk rider Leilia Paske on Young Tommy Hilfiger claiming second.

The Open Intermediate and Advanced-Intermediate sections attracted several top riders, with Oliver Townend, Pippa Funnel, Laura Collett, Izzy Taylor and Austin O’Connor (IRL) all with multiple rides, no doubt giving the organisers a few scheduling headaches.

The OI was won by Laura Collett on Pamero 4 (owned by Clive Smith who also owned the great Kauto Star). Laura was also fifth on Cooley Again, with Laura Normand and Vardigo taking second spot ahead of Oliver Townend on Ballaghmor Class.

In the Advanced-Intermediate Oliver had a one-two on Cillnabradden Evo (who finished on his impressive dressage score of 18.8) and Cooley Master Class, ahead of Izzy Taylor on Orlando in third, whilst Austin O’Connor (IRL) took fourth and fifth.

The ECR Properties Intermediate section was won by Grace Taylor on Coogee Storm, who were the only combination to finish on their dressage score.

The final two sections of the event were the Shadwell Stud Novice and the Poplar Park Open Novice.

The former was won by NZ rider Lucy Jackson on Superstition II, ahead of Ian Wills on Extreme Endeavour, with Essex-based Caroline March in third with Barrichello.

The Open Novice saw Mary Edmundson round off a great weekend of competition with a win on homebred Dinky III, just ahead of Nat Dixon who must be rueing her one-time penalty in the Showjumping phase on Hot Party Juice.

Suffolk-based U18 Zara Lye with Jana De Cavaignac went well to finish sixth on their dressage score, whilst another local rider Virginia Wells finished in eighth on Cassino Reeb, having also finished ninth and best Suffolk rider in the Intermediate on Cooley Absolute Altitude.

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