Sophie Wells

British riders taste team success as Paris Paralympics beckon

Dark clouds and rain did nothing to dampen the atmosphere on the second day of competition at the NAF Five Star Hartpury Festival of Dressage.

It was an early start in the International Arena for the Hartpury University and College-sponsored CPEDI3* Grand Prix Test B Grade IV. Great Britain’s Izzy Palmer and Last Gift (70.919%) performed a lovely test managing to turn the results around from yesterday taking the win from another home rider Nicola Naylor and Humberto L on 70.805%. Australia’s Sharon Jarvis on Furst Crusader improved her mark from yesterday (67.486%) and took third place.

The second para dressage class of the day, the Hartpury University and College CPEDI3* Grand Prix Test B V got under way at 9am. The brilliant British rider Sophie Wells repeated her wins of yesterday taking first and second place again. She took the win on the brown gelding Don Cara M with 76.421% and second place on The Lady Joseph Trust owned LJT Egebjerggards Samoa with a score of 73.553%. Taking third place were Charlotte Cundall and F J Veyron on 69.184%.

Georgia Sheffield managed to repeat her win of yesterday in the CPEDI3* Grand Prix Test B Grade II riding Sakura with a score of 73.800%. However, the England based Canadian rider Roberta Sheffield and the Gelderlander-cross mare, Fairuza, improved one place finishing in second with Georgia Wilson on the last ride of the class, Faside Got The Love taking third with 69.200%.

The CPEDI3* Grand Prix Test B Grade I started in grey but thankfully dry weather. The results were a repeat of yesterday with Gabriella Blake and Strong BEau taking first with a fabulous mark of 75.083%. Mari Durward and her black mare Athene Lindebjerg (72.792%) came second and Ireland’s Michael Murphy on Cleverboy took third with 70.625%.

The final para class of the day, the Hartpury University and College CPEDI 3* Grand Prix Test B Grade III, was won by Great Britain’s Natasha Baker and Keystone Dawn Chorus repeating their win of yesterday with 72.733%. Erin Orford on her bay gelding Dawn Chorus took second with 71.100%. Taking third, Columbia’s Daniel Valderrama and The Don with 66.033%.

The CPEDI3* team competition has often been a clash between Great Britain and Ireland, and the 2024 running was no different. This year, the Brits came out on top with a total team score of 423.058, while Ireland completed on 403.638. Ireland will hope to turn the tables at the Paris Paralympic Games later this year. Individually, Michael Murphy with Cleverboy came out best with 142.792.

Later in the afternoon both International Arenas hosted the Fairfax Saddles Prix St-Georges sections. Section A was the smaller of the two, dominated by British riders and won by Laura Tomlinson on her own and Mrs Ursula Bechtolsheimer’s bay gelding Full Moon 11 with 70.686%. Second place was taken by Sara-Jane Lanning on Choice 1 with 68.137%. Michael Eilberg took third on Saubermond. (67.990%).

Section B saw the top three tests ridden in the last third of the class. The win was taken by  Matthew Frost and Kerouac who started their test impressively with his trot work especially catching the eye of Anne Prain of France at C. Second place went to Deborah Childs on her own and David Child’s PK Van Graf with 68.431% and coming a very close third Vikki Pengilly and Indiana on 68.382%.

The Hartpury Arena started with the Premier League Advanced 105. A small field came forward  with Sharon Edwards and El Greco taking the win with 67.292%. The England-based Polish rider Anna Wilson and Ivano II took second on 63.959% and third Beatrice Butterworth and Ivo 11 on 58.958%.

Jessica Hickey, a BSc (Hons) Equestrian Sports Science student who is about to graduate from Hartpury University, rode Eagle Nouvelle in the Intermediate II. Jessica, who is also a member of the Equine Academy, said: ‘’The academy is very helpful with the support and training on site and they get great coaches in. It's a real privilege to be a part of and the whole community is really nice to be with’’.

22 Combinations came forward for the Stubben Intermediate II. Olympic-bound rider, Becky Moody, was the penultimate rider with Jack Diamond and they certainly caught the judges eye and took the win with 71.324%. Michael Eilberg and Figlio came a close second on 70.490% and Lilah Gibbs with her black gelding Dude III taking third (68.530%).

When Becky Moody was congratulated on being selected for the Paris Olympics on Jagerbomb she said: “He is a bit of a legend and competed in his first CDI here at Hartpury last year.’’

Like many other riders at the show, Becky was very complimentary about Hartpury’s state-of-the-art equestrian centre, saying: “Hartpury is one of the premier venues in the country with super stables, amazing arena and great surfaces. The staff are really lovely and everyone is always super helpful.”

The action continues on Thursday 4 July.