Diamonds and Rubies Put to an Equestrian Test
Today we held our first equestrian league match against other schools. This was aimed at those pupils who do not own their own pony, but ride with us on a weekly basis. It was the first time many of our girls had ever competed and they put up a really strong show across a range of disciplines.
We hosted the event at Greatham Equestrian Centre. Four teams were invited with two teams representing Alton School from across both the prep and senior school. Our riders on this occasion included Izzy Cross, Cordelia Pink, Isabelle Gontard, Bell Frend, Lara Frend, Felicity Wilson, Alice Tulley and Annabella Jeary. It was a bitterly cold day and we turned up early so that our pupils could prepare for the show by grooming and tacking up their own horses.
After a brief warm up, each team then had to perform a team dressage test. They had to remember the movements of the test; perform each one accurately and fluently whilst also maintaining a good distance from their team mates. The test was marked by two judges and scores awarded for each movement. Alton School Rubies were the first to go for us, and performed a pleasing test with a great rhythm. They lost a couple of marks when trying to keep the team together, but did well to score an average of 57,5. Team Alton School Diamonds were up next and they too worked well together. They were well spaced and fluent, producing a harmonious overall picture. They lost a couple of marks for accuracy, when some of their transitions were not quite at the correct letter in the dressage arena. They scored a pleasing 53.5. Bohunt School were made up of quite an experienced team, and they finished the dressage phase on 35 penalties, hotly pursued by Frensham on 40 penalties.
The next phase was the show jumping. Each rider had a quick practice jump, before embarking on their own individual round of show jumping. Bohunt and Frensham both lowered a pole each, adding 4 penalties to their overall score. Alton School Rubies really came to the fore here, with all four riders procuring a clear round! This meant that they won the show jumping phase. Alton School Diamonds had an unlucky four faults, when one of the horses touched a pole and it fell down. This was the first time that some of our riders had ever ridden a complete show jumping course on their own and we are really excited about the potential shown by all of our pupils.
The competition finished with a wonderful prize giving, where all competitors were awarded rosettes and sashes to celebrate their achievements. The final results were Bohunt, Frensham, Alton school Rubies and Alton School Diamonds. The scores were really close, and with a bit more fine tuning in the dressage phase we will be up there with the much older and more experienced teams.
We hope to give all of our weekly riders a chance to compete against other schools and have already planned our next competition for the end of the Spring term. A number of other schools have shown an interest in this type of event and we hope to develop the series further with some away matches.