Horse Trials Championships 2021
Report by Milly Butters
Packing up the lorry for this year’s BRC horse trial championships at Swalcliffe felt quite different to previous years – although it was a relief to be able to go at all after last year’s cancellation.
Gone were the trot-up outfits and equipment for a full roads and tracks style cross-country. Instead, due to COVID regulations, the event which usually takes the form of a full three-day event was a normal one-day instead. So with supplies for only one night’s stay a reduced wardrobe for both horse and rider, Eric, Mum and I set off on the three hour journey to the event. The weather was looking a little gloomy as we arrived, still finishing our duet of the final act of the Les Misérables soundtrack (helps settle the nerves!), but the rain held off while we checked in and found our stable. After a quick hack round the showground to stretch Eric’s legs, we headed off over the hills to walk the cross- country. It was a lovely track, set in very hilly grounds, with a couple of good questions, particularly the final water. Then it was time for dinner and an early night!
A bright and early start to give Eric his breakfast and we found ourselves with some unexpected free time until my dressage at 12pm, so we headed off to watch some showjumping and cross-country. As 12 approached, we headed over to complete our test. Our other area 14 team members had completed theirs beforehand, with some good marks in high scoring arenas. We managed to avoid the rain showers and little Eric pointed his toes in a long arena for a solid test of 35, holding his own against some very quality horses. We then headed over to watch some showjumping and walk the course while Eric had a little rest. The champs always builds a tricky showjumping course, and it was proving very influential in the class, with lots of poles falling. Eric was feeling a little too keen and sadly tipped three poles, but it certainly gave me good heart for the cross-country!
My team member Ellie also sadly had a some poles, but Kayleigh jumped a fabulous clear round, one of only 8 in the whole section, so we were thrilled for her. Then onto the final fun bit, and definitely Eric’s favourite. We came out of the start box with a little more pace than I would have chosen… Eric hasn’t been XC since June and he definitely wanted to let me know he was keen! He made my life very easy around the course, and we came home 10 seconds under the optimum time. Both Ellie and Kayleigh also jumped fabulous clear rounds so lots of smiles at the end of the day! The team finished 5 th in a very competitive section, all our scores had to count, as sadly one member of the team had to pull out. A great weekend was had by all, thank you so much to BRC and we can’t wait to return next year – hopefully for the full event back to its previous glory!