Borders riders worked hard to ensure some of the spoils stayed on home turf at the Floors Castle International Horse Trials, held over three days last weekend.
Local equestrian star Ian Stark built the novice to international course and received many favourable comments from riders, and was pleased with the way it rode.
He told us: “It’s been great fun to design a whole new course. I built big, bold fences with decent lines.
“We changed as much as we could, but next year I’ve got plans to extend the distance and go further past the water.”
A strong entry came forward for the Cazenove CIC** and with £1,200 to the winner there was always going to be a battle.
Yorkshire rider Oliver Townend was on a mission, bringing four horses to the event. He led after dressage with Power Drive and could not be headed, despite Selkirk rider Emily Parker and Treefers trying their hardest.
It was close at the top after the first phase – Power Drive scored 37.6; with fellow Team GB rider Nicola Wilson closest with Ngong Hills (38.3).
Oliver jumped clear with Power Drive inside the time, Wilson was two seconds over and missed first by 0.1 penalties, while Parker went clear to collect 3.6 time penalties
“It’s a serious course – if they jump round here then they’re ready for anything,” said Townend, who’ll aim the eight-year-old at Hopetoun CCI2*.
He was also fifth with Ballaghmor Class and eighth with Silken Scully. Wilson was second with Bulana and also fourth with Ngong Hills and Parker was delighted with third on Treefers.
“He missed last year and was off for the year,” explained Parker, a former individual European young rider champion and twice team gold European champion. He felt good today and pleased to be back competing.”
The Arpal CIC* was won by Alex Postolowsky with Judy Bradwell’s Akolien after leading from the start. Ridire Dorcha finished on his dressage mark for second place with Oliver Townend. After six weeks of training with double Olympic champion Blyth Tait, Jedburgh’s Jason Wood was delighted for third with The Causeway.
“He’s jumped three double clears since then,” said Wood, who is based in Northumberland with Craig Anderson.
The smart eight-year-old grey gelding is owned locally by Mrs Margaret Burn and was being aimed at Tattersalls CCI*, but sadly Wood took a fall from his young horse Watervalley Diamond Guy in the showjumping and fractured his leg, resulting in a spell in plaster.
Ruth Edge headed a competitive OI class with The Winter King. Rosa Onslow, daughter of joint organiser Cindy Onslow, was sixth with Limbo Kaiser.
Local riders had success in the national classes. Robert Brickell was double clear for fifth with It’s About Time II, while Sarah Johnstone was third in the BE90 section G with Mr Woody. The hosts’ daughter Bella Innes Ker was second in novice section H with Cartown Wallabe.
Bonchester Bridge rider Tiffany Mactaggart won the BE100 section K class with Highly Delighted and also took third in the open novice with Dancing Revolution.
The open novice under-18 class was dominated by locals. Rosa Onslow won with Templebready Miss Bailey, Lucinda Crawford with Turbo Toy second and Lucy Soeder third, riding Spicey Lady.
Berwickshire rider Caroline Taylor was second in BE100 section N with Dunroe TP, with Daisy Job occupying the same place with Copshawholm Autumn Cloud in the under-18 BE100.