britain's leading ladies claim 4* victory
Piggy March and Laura Collett reigned victorious at the Childeric Saddles Little Downham International CCI4*-S, claiming a section each after an action-packed second day at the Ely Eventing Centre.
March added a fourth international victory to her 2020 tally, taking Section P with John and Chloe Perry and Alison Swinburn’s Brookfield Quality. She moved up from fourth place after dressage to the eventual win after adding just four time penalties across the country to a first-phase score of 29.2, giving the horse his first four-star win on just his second start at the level.
“I was delighted with Brookfield Quality,” she said. “I have to get my brave pants on with him because he’s a big-striding horse and he’s not very easy to adjust, and so to go fast has taken us a few runs together. I can’t afford to make mistakes on him, so I really have to get myself in gear and make sure I’m on my A-game.”
For March, the influential Jonathan Clissold track – which saw a 62% clear rate across the sections – will have played a crucial role in the development of the 11-year-old gelding.
“He’s a big, scopey horse with lots of stride, and he really wants to do the job – but he’s still fairly inexperienced at this level, so I was just delighted with how he went and how confident he’s finished this round,” she said. “This track, I think, is brilliant – you really have to get stuck in. It’s very educational for them but you’ve got to make it happen. There’s lots of questions out there and it’s beefy enough. I’m just delighted with him – winning was a bonus today.”
March enjoyed a successful two days aboard her three other rides, taking second place in section P with the former Emily King ride Dargun, who added 12.8 time penalties, and second in section Q with Brookfield Inocent – the only horse to finish inside the time – and third with Fonbherna Lancer.
Laura Collett took section Q aboard her own, Karen Bartlett, and Keith Scott’s London 52. Like Piggy, she added just four time penalties to her first-phase score – a 24.4 that saw her lead from pillar to post. This win marks a final run before the eleven-year-old gelding – who also won Boekelo CCI4*-L and Chatsworth’s Event Rider Masters leg in 2019 – makes his CCI5* debut at Les 5 Etoiles de Pau in a fortnight.
“All year – even through lockdown – he’s felt like a totally different horse,” she said, recalling to the mid-season blips that marked his record before his end-of-season victory last year.
“The best thing that could have happened was being able to take him to Boekelo – I just felt like we both needed it. We put it to bed and he’s come out stronger, both physically and mentally. He just feels phenomenal – I actually get goosebumps, I’m so lucky to ride him. I have to pinch myself!”
Collett, too, was full of praise for the track, which gave competitors a chance to tackle questions of a similar technicality and feel to 2020’s only CCI5* at Pau.
“I walked the course here and thought the ground was great on cross-country and there were a lot of questions. It was really nice because, to put the horses to one side, I felt like I hadn’t really got stuck in and ridden a proper course this year,” she said. “I was really glad that it had a real Pau-type feel with skinnies on mounds and blind turns and really committed distances. It was so nice to get stuck in and have nice rides around. It made you think as a rider, and they did a phenomenal job to put it on and build such a cracking course.”
Collett also finished fifth in this section aboard Mr Bass, who joins London 52 in heading to Pau in two weeks’ time. Mollie Summerland and Charly van ter Heiden, one of Britain’s most successful young four-star partnerships, narrowly beat them to finish fourth, inspiring plans for a long-awaited five-star debut.
Despite the challenges of international eventing in a pandemic, the CCI4*-S hosted a global field, with Ireland’s Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue finishing third in section P and Japan’s Kazuma Tomoto and Brookpark Vikenti finishing fourth. British team stalwart Harry Meade rounded out the top five in this section with the inexperienced but exciting Cavalier Crystal.
Little Downham’s autumn CCI4*-S fixture was run behind closed doors in accordance with government regulations this year, but the organising team – headed by Tina Ure – looks forward to welcoming spectators to this exciting new addition to the calendar next year
NAtional classes abandoned - tuesday
It is with great regret that we announce the abandonment of national level classes at the Childeric Saddles Little Downham International Horse Trials on October 6, 2020.
Following dry weather on Monday, all areas of the site had dried significantly, almost to miracle standards. Sadly, further rain was received in the early hours of this morning which has compromised the lorry park. The going on and access to the CCI4*-S competition areas remains good and we will continue with these classes as planned.
PIGGY MARCHES TO A DOUBLE 4* LEAD
Piggy March has taken a decisive lead in the Childeric Saddles Little Downham International CCI4*-S on the first day of dressage, taking top spot in both sections and holding fort in the top five with each of her four rides.
77 horse-and-rider combinations produced tests for the assembled ground jury today across sections P and Q. Riding the syndicate-owned Dargun, March delivered a 26.4 to lead the way in section P, which was presided over by judges Nikki Herbert and Richard Baldwin. Her strong mark was most closely challenged by Kitty King and her 2019 Bramham winner Vendredi Biats, who end the day on 27.3 after a clean test punctuated by some minor cheeky moments.
“We had a few little wobbles and some basic mistakes – and he was quite spooky about the flowers and the wind,” she says. “But on the whole, I was pleased enough in the conditions. I’ve entered here for a bit of experience with this horse; it’ll be our first time at the level together, so I’ll be interested in how our day goes while still trying to be competitive. It’ll be building blocks, but we’ll give it a good go!”
March also sits fourth ahead of tomorrow’s jumping phases with the relatively inexperienced Brookfield Quality, owned by John and Chloe Perry and Alison Swinburn, who posted an impressive 29.2 to redeem himself after some green mistakes in his test at last month’s Burnham Market CCI4*-L.
“We call him Nervous Norris at home, because he’s a bit of an odd character,” she laughs. “I was really happy with him today. He’s a new horse at the level – a lovely horse with fabulous movement – and his changes were a bit green today, which was the only disappointing thing about the test. The whole weekend is a learning experience for him, and we’ll hopefully have a fun day tomorrow.”
Ever the pragmatist, March wryly muses: “At least I halted square with this one – I didn’t with the other horses!”
She was usurped for third place by former student and young Irish talent Susie Berry, who produced a 28.3 with Helen Caton’s John the Bull, formerly ridden by Jonty Evans, while Japan’s Kazuma Tomoto and his Blenheim runner-up Brookpark Vikenti round out the top five overnight on 29.9.
“I’m thrilled with him – he has it all there, but that’s the first time I’ve had it all together in the ring,” says Berry. “I’ve put quite a lot of pressure on him, because he’s been so competitive at the level below. At the last two four-stars we’ve had some silly mistakes – mainly me! – but this time, we had a clear round.”
While Section P will head directly into showjumping tomorrow morning, a further twenty combinations will come forward to present a test to judges Ann Bostock and Judy Hancock in Section Q tomorrow – though here, too, March’s domination of the first phase will be tough to overthrow. She sits in first and second place here, taking the lead with John and Chloe Perry and Alison Swinburn’s Brookfield Inocent on 25 and sitting second aboard the Lancer Stud’s Fonbherna Lancer, who scored a 26.2.
Kazuma Tomoto finds himself in the top five once again in Section Q, earning a respectable 30.2 with Bernadette Utopia for third, while Australia’s Kevin McNab holds fourth on 31.9 with the Pau-bound Scuderia 1918 A Best Friend after revising his warm-up tactic with the ‘big but anxious’ gelding.
“His Burnham Market test wasn’t his best, and we’d been trying something new there – we experimented with doing a bit less and keeping him a bit fresher going in,” he explains. “But for a big horse, he does get a bit anxious, and so now we’re back to the original plan and just letting him do a little bit more so he can settle into it.”
Eliza Stoddart and Priorspark Precocious sit in overnight fifth on 32. Tomorrow’s morning dressage session will see several exciting names vie for a competitive slot atop the leaderboard, including Ireland’s Cathal Daniels and Dr Sarah Hughes’ Barrichello, Laura Collett and her two Pau-bound stars Mr Bass and London 52, and young talent Mollie Summerland and Charly van ter Heiden. Dressage will recommence at 8.30 a.m., with showjumping under way from 8:15 a.m. and cross-country starters’ orders at 9.00 a.m. The pivotal cross-country phase, designed by Jonathan Clissold, will be live-streamed in its entirety by Horse&Country TV.
NATIONAL CLASSES ABANDONED - MONDAY
It is with great regret that we announce the abandonment of national level classes at the Childeric Saddles Little Downham International Horse Trials on October 5, 2020 after two initial, successful days of competition. Tomorrow’s partial abandonment marks the first cancellation of any competition in twenty years of running events at the venue, and the Little Downham team has every intention of running the National and International classes on October 6 as planned.
Following continuous rainfall and a subsequent extensive ground inspection, the decision to pull national classes from Monday’s schedule was deemed necessary in order to allow for the best possible chance of running the remaining classes on the schedule. The course plan for tomorrow’s national classes – which cover Novice and Intermediate levels – dictated their withdrawal from the schedule, as their location would have required competitors to cross the tracks used for Tuesday’s CCI4*-S, creating potentially dangerous areas of depth in isolated patches of the latter class’s course.
A new addition to Britain’s FEI calendar, the CCI4*-S class serves as an essential chance to gain a qualifying result ahead of the 2021 season, as well as providing an opportunity for a final preparatory run before this month’s CCI5*-L at Les 5 Etoiles de Pau. It is of utmost importance that optimal conditions are provided, despite the best efforts of the weather, in order to minimise risk to horses and riders.
The CCI4*-S dressage will go ahead as planned on Monday, making use of previously unused areas of the venue, and will be followed by a subsequent thorough inspection of the grounds ahead of Tuesday’s competition. The class will benefit from a relocated showjumping warm-up area on fresh ground, while the competition arena has been enlarged and fences moved to allow for improved conditions in this phase. The cross-country track remains on almost wholly untouched ground, and will benefit from a drying day tomorrow before its use on Tuesday.
The grounds team remains fully committed and has every confidence in their ability to run the CCI4*-S class and Tuesday’s national classes in their entirety. The Ely Eventing Centre benefits from historically fast-draining footing, and the assembled on-site team continues to make every possible provision for a safe and successful final two days of competition.
FINAL CALL FOR LITTLE DOWNHAM ENTRIES
With ballot date for the Childeric Saddles Little Downham International Horse Trials looming the event prepares for its inaugural CCI4*-S fixture this October.
The fixtures offer competition for all levels of eventing with a full range of classes from BE80(T) to CCI4*-S, showing just how inclusive both the sport and the event are. Ballot date is Tuesday 15thSeptember at 12 noon and riders are encouraged to enter prior to this time.
The timetable of classes has been worked to allow competitors the best level of access to classes, not only at Little Downham but taking other events running at the same time into consideration.
“I am really looking forward to Little Downham International, especially now it has a 4 star. It is fab that I can take all the young horses as well as my top horses and it is supported by my wonderful long-term sponsors Childeric. The courses are always tough but fair and they always look after the ground so well. I have 2 special horses entered for the big class and I can’t wait to give it a good crack! "commented British Olympian, and Childeric Saddles brand champion, Gemma Tattersall.
The venue’s July and August fixtures received much praise in regard to the slick and safe running of the events, management of the warmup areas and the going. With Grade 1 peat soil, Little Downham is confident in delivering the very best going and will utilise all of the space available to them to deliver different courses and tracks for the different levels. Volunteers and officials also praised the event for being among the leaders in the technical revolution of the sport, embracing their own judging app development to minimise contact points and further the sustainability for the future of the sport.
“Our national level events in July and August ran very smoothly and we’re hoping for a repeat this October. We invested heavily in our new 4* track, along with other areas of the course, over the winter and we’re just pleased to be able to keep running in this difficult and turbulent time. We’re very much hoping that riders of all levels will support this fixture and enable up to finish the season on a high.” – Tina Ure, landowner and organiser at Little Downham.
With sport still running behind closed doors spectators will be unable to attend. The event is therefore delighted to confirm that the feature CCI4*-S class, along with the national level Advanced, Intermediate, Intermediate Under-21 and Novice classes, will be live streamed via Horse & Country TV on Monday 5thand Tuesday 6thOctober.
“It is really important to us to showcase what the sport has to offer and give some additional exposure to our loyal, and new, sponsors. We’re therefore delighted to be working with Horse & Country TV to offer a livestream service for all of the cross-country on Monday and Tuesday of the event.” Sarah Skillin, Marketing & Media Manager for the event.
All entries taken via www.britisheventing.com
little downham international - entries open!
Entries for the Childeric Saddles Little Downham International Horse Trials opened today as the event prepares for its inaugural CCI4*-S fixture this October.
The fixture offers competition for all levels of the sport with a full range of classes from BE80(T) to CCI4*-S, showing just how inclusive both the sport and the event are.
The timetable of classes has been worked to allow competitors the best level of access to classes, not only at Little Downham but taking other events running at the same time into consideration. Those looking to compete in the Intermediate, Advanced and CCI4*-S on Tuesday and concerned with a potential overlap with Thoresby trot up and dressage can be assured that the sectioning, timetabling and times will allow riders to compete at both events, without compromise.
The venue’s July and August fixtures received much praise in regard to the slick and safe running of the events, management of the warmup areas and the going. Volunteers and officials also praised the event for being among the leaders in the technical revolution of the sport, embracing their own judging app development to minimise contact points and further the sustainability for the future of the sport.
“Little Downham is always part of our eventing plan, it’s one of those events where you’re guaranteed good going and good courses all year round. With so many changes of plans this year and so many cancellations I’m looking forward to taking Ivar Gooden to tackle their new 4* track. I just feel that supporting our UK based events this season is incredibly important for our sport and reducing our international travel is a safer option for our team” commented 5* rider Imogen Murray.
Little Downham benefits from exceptional ground conditions, all year round, with their grade 1 peat soil. All cross-country courses will be different to those used in the July and August fixtures, with the CCI4*-S being subtly different to the Advanced track to provide the correct level of difficulty. All tracks are up to height and substantial but with lots of alternatives at the more challenging fences. The event aims to provide educational and inviting courses at all levels.
Riders are encouraged to enter as early as possible to enable the event to plan effectively. Ballot date is set for the 15thSeptember at 12 noon, with all entries taken via www.britisheventing.com
XC SChooling Course
The cross-country schooling course will be remaining closed for independent schooling for the foreseeable future.
The course is available for hire for clinics and private coaching. Please keep an eye on our 'What's On' page for clinics, events and teaching days.
Unaffiliated training events
Further information regarding our Unaffiliated Training Day (18th July) and ODE (19th July) have now been finalised.
Training Day 18th July:
DRESSAGE – Test BE96. The judge will provide feedback after your test.
Dressage test may be commanded. Start times will be issued and must be adhered to.
SHOW JUMPING – 80cm, 90cm or 100cm to be jumped in a clear round style.
Start times will be issued and must be adhered to. A coach will be available in the warm-up arena and with offer support and advice, as well as being on hand to adjust warm up fences. Show jumping judge Sue Peasley will then offer advice following the completion of the round.
CROSS COUNTRY – 80cm, 90cm or 100cm to be jumped in a clear round style.
Course designed by Tina Ure and will include educational exercises that focus on the skills for good cross-country riding. Timed to aid rider’s skills in riding to an optimum time.
Riders may re-mount after a fall but must leave the course after a 2ndfall. If the rider has 2 refusals at a fence they may move on to the next fence. Fence judges will look after groups of fences and the course will be overseen by an experienced steward. Riders to go to XC ASAP after showjumping.
Dressage + SJ - £35 entry fee.
Showjumping + Cross-Country - £55 entry fee, no start fee
All 3 phases - £75 entry fee, no start fee
ODE - 19th July:
Entries will be taken on www.bdwp.co.uk on a first come first served basis. Prices are inclusive of VAT. Entries opening 24th June.
UPDATE TO JULY CALENDAR
With everything very firmly crossed for the further relaxation of lockdown requirements we are pleased to confirm our July eventing dates.
𝐂𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐜 𝐒𝐚𝐝𝐝𝐥𝐞𝐬 𝐋𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐃𝐨𝐰𝐧𝐡𝐚𝐦 𝐇𝐨𝐫𝐬𝐞 𝐓𝐫𝐢𝐚𝐥𝐬 (𝟐) - 𝟐𝟖 - 𝟐𝟗𝐭𝐡 𝐉𝐮𝐥𝐲
Follow consultation with British Eventing we have taken the decision to move our dates back slightly. We believe that that 18th - 19th BE fixture would still be quite 'fragile' given the Government's timelines for relaxing the rules enough to allow us to run.
Moving to Tuesday 28th & Wednesday 29th gives us more time and a fairer chance of being able to produce an event we believe that people would like to run at.
The schedule for the new dates is being finalised but will definitely feature BE100 and Novice classes. Entries are expected to open around the 30th June with our decision to run/ballot date expected to be the 14th July.
𝐓𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐄𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐭 - 𝟏𝟖𝐭𝐡 𝐉𝐮𝐥𝐲
Moving our BE fixture back gives us the flexibility to run a training event on our original weekends.
A schedule for this will be published in due course but it will offer riders the ability to 'train' over all three phases and will be offered at 80, 90 and 100 level.
Unaffiliated ODE - 19th July
In response to public demand for BE80 competitions in this area we have decided to run an unaffiliated ODE on the 19th July at 80 and 90 level. The schedule will be published in due course.
phased re-opening & little downham 1
Following the relaxation of England's lockdown rules, and taking into consideration the latest advice and guidelines from both the BEF, BHS and BE, we are pleased to confirm a phased re-opening of facilities and coaching at Little Downham.
16th May - Flatwork and Showjumping
From this point Tina Ure will be available for coaching, either from Ely Eventing Centre or travelling to other locations. This will be on a 1-2-1 basis, with shared sessions being available by arrangement. All social distancing guidelines will be followed and Tina will be providing her own gloves and sanitiser to use.
There will be a cost of £40 per session, with travelling costs applicable for external sessions. Where there are 3 sessions or more at the same location travel costs will not be charged.
To book click here.
22nd May - Cross-country
From the 22nd May Tina will be conducting 1-2-1 cross-country coaching at Ely Eventing. Sessions are charged at £60 per session, with shared sessions being available by special arrangement.
Horses should be fit to jump and be fully prepared to jump in an open space and on grass.
23rd May - Approved Coaches
From this date approved coaches may use the cross-country schooling facilities to conduct 1-2-1 sessions. Riders will be required to pay our standard £30 per person hire fee. We will be limiting access to 2 coaches at any one time.
Coaches will need to reserve their dates/times via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we are then encouraging all coaches to make use of our online booking facilities, to help minimise the contact required for cash payments.
In accordance with social distancing guidelines we request that those attending only travel with 1 other member of their household
Independent schooling will not resume until there is a clear plan for the resumption of eventing sport, by British Eventing.
For full details and further guidance please download the PDF below. Updated Terms & Conditions can be found here.
Little Downham 1
It is with regret that we can confirm that Little Downham 1, that was due to run from the 29th - 31st May, is officially cancelled following the Government's announcement that sporting competition is not to resume before 4th July.
We are hopeful that our July fixture will be able to go ahead, with adjustments for social distancing. Preparations for our international CCI4*-S in October are still moving ahead as planned.
From the 1st March 2020 cross-country course hire will rise, by £2, to £30 per horse.
The prices have remained the same for the past 2 seasons, however we now need to increase costs, in line with other venues, to help cover the continual reinvestment in the facilities and the ground care.
Coaching Rates from 1st March:
Private session (75 minutes) - £70
Shared session (90 minutes) - £55 per person
Group session - 3-4 riders (90 minutes) - £50 per person
Show Jumping session private (45 minutes) - £40 per person
Show Jumping session group (60 minutes) - £20 per person
SAVE THE DATE!
With fixture lists confirmed it is time to save the date and get your favourite Cambridgeshire event in the diary!
LDHT 1 - 29th - 31st May - BE90 to Advanced
LDHT 2 - 18th - 19th July - BE80T to Novice
LDHT International - 3rd - 6th October - BE80 to Advanced & CCI4*S
The more eagle eyed readers will notice a slight change to the International dates. We have taken the decision to extend the event by a day with the Novice, Intermediate, Advanced and CCI4*S running on the Tuesday rather than the Monday. This is due to the clash with Boekelo, which takes a large number of higher level riders abroad. It is hoped that the move to Tuesday will allow competitors to return from abroad, head to Little Downham to compete and then make their way on to Osberton who trot up on the Wednesday.
UKCC LEVEL 4 FOR TINA
We are very pleased to announce that Tina is now a certified UKCC Level 4 Coach.
After several years of hard work, a lengthy University degree and an extensive portfolio of work, Tina received her certificate at the inaugural BEF Coaching Forum held at Olympia in December.
Tina now joins a very elite group of Level 4 coaches - some of the most highly qualified and knowledgable coaches in the country.
The Level 4 coaching qualification is a bespoke two-year programme that includes a Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Practice in Sport Coaching delivered by the University of Gloucestershire, in partnership with the BEF and British Rowing.
a change to ldht international 2020
Following the publication of the International and Championship calendar for 2020-2025 earlier this year, we approached British Eventing in conjunction with Helen West (Organiser of Bicton International) and have since been in lengthy discussions in relation to the CCI3*-S and CCI4*-S classes planned for early October in 2020 and beyond.
These classes were originally allocated as part of the Strategic Fixtures Review, with Little Downham successfully tendering for both the CCI3*-S and CCI4*-S classes. However, it became clear that with the congestion of International events in both the UK and abroad, this was not going to provide the best balance of classes for both the Organisers and Members. Concerns were also raised about the potential demand for a CCI4*-S at this time of year.
As a result of a huge amount of good will and compromise on our part, and Bicton's, it has been agreed that the CCI3*-S class will move from Little Downham and return to Bicton in October 2020. The CCI4*-S class will remain at Little Downham. This will enable the Fixtures Team to assess the demand for a CCI4*-S at this time of year, whilst maintaining the popular CCI3*-S at Bicton International. Whilst the demand for the new CCI4*-S is evaluated the BE Board has agreed that this class will be held on its own within Little Downham International, also enabling BE to gauge the overall viability of running a standalone CCI-S class.
Chris Farr commented; “I am incredibly grateful to both Tina and Helen for their understanding and patience during this time. BE needs to ensure that we have the right balance of International Fixtures throughout the year, and the concerns raised with this specific challenge required the goodwill and patience of both Organisers. The Fixtures team will carefully monitor the demand for the CCI4*-S to ensure it delivers what is required for our members competing at this level.”
The Little Downham team were deeply honoured to have been awarded the international for October. However, when considering the available dates it was not feasible to run these classes to provide the best opportunity for the membership. As such we looked to work with BE and fellow organiser Helen West, to find a solution support those riders looking for a late CCI4*-S and CCI3*-S. We very much look forward to welcoming the 4* competitors to Little Downham International in October 2020.
Helen West added; “I am delighted to have been able to work with BE and fellow organiser Tina Ure. The permanent facilities at Bicton Arena make it an ideal venue to run at this stage of the season, as we proved last year when we hosted this fixture. I look forward to being able to re-establish the CCI3-S class at this fixture and very much hope that Little Downham get the support that they deserve for the late season CCI4-S.”