Hendersyde plays host to some animal magic

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James and Livy Agnew opened their beautiful parkland this weekend for the 10th running of the fundraising Hendersyde Horse Trials.

Over the years the popular event has raised more than £35,000 and supports many local causes. Last year’s awful wet weather saw the cancellation of the second day, but this year the park was bathed in sunshine, with a stiff breeze to keep the temperature down.

The event also hosts the prestigious Scottish Championships for riders who qualified for a place throughout last season. Each of the championship finalists were called in to the arena to the sound of the pipes and were cheered by the enthusiastic crowd of visitors, which was almost a harder test for the horses than the jumping.

The cross-country course is designed by Selkirk-based former Olympic rider Ian Stark, who was also competing and rode Bacon Butty to third place in the Novice section K. Sharing his feelings on what it felt like to ride a course he had designed, Ian told The Southern: “I worry – will I jump the right fence? But it is good to ride round, as I can see how the course flows and if the design works.”

The BE90 and 100 sections attracted lots of entries with riders eager to tackle the new eye-catching fences, carved by internationally-acclaimed course sculptor David Evans and made from estate timber.

Kelso’s own Henny Cooper had a very successful weekend, taking a well-deserved second place in the Belhaven BE90 Scottish Championships on Soprano D L Herbage. They finished on a dressage score of 27, following a double clear round, just a few marks behind class winner Mat Earith and Glayva II. She was also placed 11th in the St James’s Place Novice Scottish Championships, just eight points behind locally-based winner Emily Parker, and 11th in the Mussel and Steak Bar Novice section K.

Melrose business man Cameron Crawford, whose company J S Crawford Estates sponsored the BE90 section D class, claimed third place in the Open Novice class on Master Holla Star. Just one point split first, second and third places.

The pair had the best dressage score of the class, with 29.5, and a clear cross-country, but picked up eight faults in the show jumping, which cost them the top spot.

Hendersyde included classes for the Retraining of Racehorses and Shelly Johnstone from Langholm scored a big win in the Bedmax BE90 RoR Section C.

Shelly works for Ian Stark and grooms for Emily Parker, but she trained racehorses for five seasons, and bought Soneva Gili from a racing syndicate. They have worked really hard over the winter, focussing on flat work with help from Fiona Busby and Carolyn Gospel. Shelly told us: “His show jumping has really clicked, all the flat work has taught him how to engage and helped him to stop kicking out and dropping poles. He is also very brave on the cross-country, never looked at anything, just went straight ahead.”

Local riders did well in the Central Carpets’ BE Intermediate Novice class. Emily Galbraith (Ancrum) and Ginja Ninja II took third place on a score of 32.70, while Berwick’s Olivia Leyland, who won the BE 100 Scottish Championships in 2012 with Blue View, claimed fourth place on Madams Law. Olivia won two trophies as the highest-placed rider under 21 in the Novice section and for the rider closest to the optimum time.

Livy Agnew and her army of sponsors and volunteer helpers put on a top-class show. The venue is fast becoming a jewel in the eventing calendar, attracting world-class riders to the Borders and providing a showcase for talent.