Alton Equestrian Team Wins at Arena Eventing
On Sunday 3rd December we sent Alton School teams and individuals to represent us in an arena eventing competition at Coombelands Equestrian in west Sussex. It was for pupils from both the prep and senior school who own their own ponies and compete regularly.
We were represented by Amelia Smythe, Imogen Smythe, Ella Winn and Ruby Mann in the 70cm class. All team members had to complete a set of show jumps, before going on to tackle the timed cross country phase over solid obstacles. All of our team members jumped really well, with Amelia and Ruby getting placed individually for being closest to the optimum time. Imogen jumped a solid and steady clear, with Ella working hard to encourage her pony Dinah over some challenging turns and angled fences. The other teams in the class were very professional and we were up against Churchers, Seaford, St Catherine’s and Priors Field to name a just a few. We were slightly overwhelmed when the results were announced and we learned that our team had won and qualified for the National NSEA arena eventing championships at Hickstead in May!
We had two teams entered in the 80/ 85 cm class, with Emily Devlin joining the teams. Unfortunately India and Hebe Bamberg had a last minute problem and didn’t make it, so we had to do some quick reshuffling of our team organisation. Imogen Smythe bravely stepped up to the mark to take one of the spaces, jumping in a class that was up to height and beyond anything that she had met before. Imogen is only in year 5 and managed to produce a fantastic clear round over fences that stopped many older and wiser combinations. Amelia Smythe also jumped well and ended up with a lovely clear round, just outside the placings. Ella Winn also rose to the challenge, with Dinah enjoying the larger fences. Ruby and Emily are very confident at this height, but on this occasion some of the turns and angles caught them out. Both completed the course, and Emily’s second pony just had an unlucky fence down.
In the 90cm, Lucy Schryver was left to fly the flag for Alton school after the withdrawal of India and Hebe Bamberg. She stepped up to the challenge with a super double clear, and was really close to the optimum time. There were teams from all over the South East, and in the end just 2 seconds divided the top ten individuals, leaving Lucy just outside the placings. She works really hard with her horse Holly, who can sometimes be a little challenging, and she should be commended for her mature and patient approach.
The light was fading by the time the 1 metre class started and Lucy had to wait until last draw to complete her round. By this time the jumps were very big and the turns and angles quite acute. Lucy rode another masterful round, just to touch a pole in the show jumping phase and end up with four faults. This left her just outside the placings with a slightly slower time than some of the others who also finished on four faults.
A huge well done to all of the parents and pupils who made the long journey, survived the 8 am start and performed beyond all expectations amidst tough competition. Alton School Equestrian Club is going from strength to strength and with further training and competitions on the horizon, we hope to continue the fabulous achievements from today.