Ettrick Forest quartet crowned best of British

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A team of Borders horsewomen galloped off with the trophy at last weekend’s British Riding Clubs South Essex Insurance Brokers Senior 100 Trials.

The Ettrick Forest Riders Association (EFRA) qualified for the event in April and travelled south to Swalcliffe Park, Banbury, Oxfordshire to represent Scotland.

Twenty teams came forward from all over Britain to compete at this prestigious competition, one of the few full three-day events still taking place in this country.

The EFRA team of four were Carly Scott (Selkirk)/Zelena, Cindy Fisher (Jedburgh)/Hooky’s Dash, Delia Job (Lilliesleaf)/Player and Carolyn Gospel (Ewes)/Willamy Twinkle.

On Friday, after an initial trot up to check the horses’ fitness, the team performed their dressage tests, where each one of them put on a well controlled and lovely to watch performance to go into the lead with 92 penalties.

Saturday was endurance day with 20 minutes of roads and tracks, six steeplechase fences in two minutes and another 25 minutes of roads and tracks.

There was then another vetting to ensure the horses’ wellbeing before the cross-country. The course beautifully built by an international course builder on very undulating ground and well up to height with some very technical fences towards the end. Fit horses were required. The girls rode brilliantly and were all clear with a few time penalties and all horses sound.

With the EFRA girls still in the lead, Sunday began with another trot up before the final showjumping event.

Although the course looked fairly simple, it had loads of influence with very few clear rounds being witnessed. The EFRA quartet had one clear round and three fences down and suddenly their lead looked threatened. However, after a few minutes deliberation, judges announced that Ettrick Forest were British Champions.

Team Chef d’equip Anne Miller told The Southern: “As a club we have always tried to compete nationally and this win is the icing on the cake.

“We are so fortunate to have such good training and teammanship that helps to gel the members and makes taking teams on very satisfying for both Fiona Busby (dressage trainer) and myself.”

EFRA also won the Laurie Punnet Memorial trophy for the team with the best four scores to count. Carolyn won her section for the second year, Delia was second and also second overall, while Cindy and Carly finished fifth. “A brilliant finish to a great weekend,” added Anne.