Hiho hits the high note at Nunney
David Doel from Wiltshire headed the CIC2* at Nunney International Horse Trials riding Patsy Mason's 12-year-old gelding Mr Hiho.
More than 900 competitors took part in the Kingairloch Highland Estate-sponsored event, which was held at Southfield House near Frome in Somerset and saw some of the sport's most famous names in action.
David took over the ride on Mr Hiho in March and admitted he was "on the edge" in the dressage where they scored 36.9 putting them in second position behind Kitty King on Vendredi Biats. But a pole down for this pair in the showjumping dropped them down to second leaving David and Mr Hiho the victors.
"It all came together on the day," said the Chippenham-based rider who added, "It was a very fair track with enough questions. It's our fourth outing together and it is the first time I've really tested him and I put the foot to the metal cross country. He's such a poser and really loved the showjumping where there is plenty of atmosphere. He loves being the centre of attention."
The 12-year—old has plenty of good from under his belt having won Burnham Market CCI3* and the CCI2* at Ballindenisk.
"He was with Emily King who produced him beautifully, but he grew into a Ferrari and became very strong, so we moved him to Oliver Townend. The five-hour drive to his yard meant I couldn't see him very often. David is just an hour from where I live so it has worked perfectly," explained his owner Mrs Mason.
The pair will next be in action in the CIC2* at Barbury International later this month.
Kitty, who also took third on Billy Bounce, said: "The addition of the extra loop worked really well and gave the course more flow. It was a good track and the going was the best I have ever seen. Billy Bounce probably jumped the best he ever has and Biats wasn't quite with it in the showjumping. He lacked a bit of concentration and we took out a fence but he did a really good dressage test and was very good across country."
Kitty, who is hopeful she will represent Great Britain at the Rio Olympics riding 2014 two star victor Ceylor LAN, rode each round with Bonnieberry, a pony toy who is part of the Willberry Wonder Pony Charity, tucked into her back protector. "I rode all four horses cross country with Bonnieberry in support of Hannah Francis' charity. Hannah is an inspiration and she has never given up hope. She has inspired me to chase my dreams and it was so lovely seeing her last week and chatting to her. Earlier in the year she rode Ceylor LAN and I hope people donate to the charity she has set up."
Sweden's Ludwig Svennerstal headed an intermediate section after an impressive dressage score of 24.3 on Johan Lundin's ten-year-old gelding Carlzon L was followed by a double clear with the other section going to Rosie Thomas riding the seven-year-old Stellar Thomas,
Izzy Taylor's Allercombe Ellie, whose eighth place at Badminton earned them Olympic qualification, was second in the open intermediate behind Sir Mark Todd on NZB Campino. Zara Tindall was eighth on her Rio hopeful High Kingdom.
The open intermediate under 21 class was won by Alex Norris riding Minnie Moo with the novice under 18 class headed by Constance Chapman on Chillout Baby. Gubby Leach headed the novice regional final riding Lady Melissa Radnor's seven-year-old gelding Acis.
Organiser Bridget Parker: "It was three fabulous days of competition and we're delighted with all the positive comments we have received from competitors. Visitor numbers were up quite considerably and we were pleased that Friday, which is free, attracted plenty of spectators. We are so grateful to our title sponsors Kingairloch Highland Estate and to everyone who works so hard to make it all happen, particularly the British Eventing volunteers.
"We were rewarded this year with top flight competitors, many of whom will be representing their countries at Rio 2016."
Nunney International Horse Trials - 16th - 18th June 2017
Next year's Nunney International Horse Trials take place from June 16 – 18. The event is staged in the spectacular grounds of the grade II listed Southfield House where visitors are welcome to come along and watch top riders in action in beautiful un-spoilt farmland.
For three days, Southfield House, which is close to the A361 near the village of Nunney, becomes a hive of activity and as well as sporting action there's the chance to browse an eclectic range of tradestands and food outlets, all positioned around the main arena where showjumping takes place throughout the three days of the competition.
Selling everything from saddles to furniture, they will keep even the most seasoned shoppers busy, with benches around the perimeter of the arena enabling you to take a seat and watch the showjumping every now and again. Then you can head out onto the cross country course and watch all the action over the fixed timber fences. Midway, there's a coffee stop to refuel.
The event attracts some of the top names from the sport of eventing international stars with Zara Phillips, Harry Meade, Sam Griffiths, Kristina Cook and Izzy Taylor all competing there in the past.
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