The Cheltenham and District Riding Club (CDRC) Show Jumping ‘Panthers’ team shone at Hickstead recently, finishing 7th out of 103 teams!
This was made even more special due to the fact each team only has three members and all three scores count.
Team Manager Michelle Holder said ‘I am delighted and overjoyed by the result, not only for what the Panthers team achieved, but also because our two other teams, the Tigers and the Lynx, both came in the top end of the class. This is a national competition open to all UK Riding Clubs and all who represented CDRC at Hickstead have made us very proud.’ Michelle continued ‘The class was held as part of the Royal International Horse Show and took place on the same day as the King George VI competition – it was a great experience for all of us who travelled down to Sussex to support our members.’
The Tigers team were Lisa Hyett on Bella, Genevieve Reading on Scooby and Katie Mills on Solo .
The Lynx team were Louise Willkinson on Tarka, Arlene Mansell on Jackanory and Cassie Wood on Magic.
The Panthers team were Pippa Morris on The Bosun, Pippa Wilson on Dudley and Jeanette Stayt on Smirnoff. The competition, organised by the British Riding Club, has three members to a team, each jumping one round of different heights – 85cms, 95cms and 105cms with time taken into consideration as well; CDRC Panthers were drawn the 93rd team to go.
First to go in the 85cms section were Pippa Morris on The Bosun (known as Alf) who did a good round, with just one jump down, inside the time allowed. Pippa said ‘I am really chuffed with our round as I’ve just been told there were only three clear rounds in the whole of this section. Alf is great, he is so genuine and also a true family horse – I share him with my son and he has been doing Pony Club camp with him all week! I have only been a CDRC member for 2 years and it was a big step to put myself forward for selection – I am so pleased I did now!’
Pippa Wilson on Dudley were next; they competed in the 95cms section and did a lovely clear round, also inside the time allowed. This combination competed at Hickstead last year in this competiton but a fortnight later, Dudley injured his check ligament in the field. Pippa then gave him most of the year off and this was his first competition back on grass for a whole year. A delighted Pippa said ‘It was worth every moment of caring for him and the weeks of box rest to be able to jump at Hickstead. This was his first competition outside and on grass since Hickstead last year and I am so pleased I saved him for today!’
Last to go, in the 105cms, were Jeanette Stayt on Smirnoff (known as Smurf). The tension had risen because there were no score boards for the day, so it was a case of listening to others at the ringside to see how other teams were faring; it sounded as though CDRC were in the running with only 4 faults. Unbeknown to Jeanette, the two Pippas had a plan that if she went clear, they would run the half mile back to the lorry to get changed as quickly as possible, whilst Kayleigh and Megan fetched the horses from the stables for them and still be back in time for the prize giving….
Jeanette had injured her shoulder in a fall at Hickstead last year and she had undergone another operation on it just a fortnight ago. She kept a really cool head, and produced an effortless, smooth clear round inside the time allowed. An overjoyed Jeanette said ‘I punched the air when we’d cleared the last fence as I so was so pleased with Smurf. He had not been ridden since before my operation and he looked after me and carried me around the course. My shoulder was still hurting and I was riding virtually one-handed! He is a star.’
When the results were announced, there were only two teams who had finished on a zero score, with five finishing on 4 faults; the placings were then decided on time.
Michelle Holder concluded ‘This result has placed CDRC firmly on the map and shows we are a force to reckoned with. The team spirit was wonderful and everyone supported each other – a fabulous time was had by all!’