THE 19th Floors Castle Horse Trials took place with kind permission of the Duke of Roxburghe last weekend, in the beautiful grounds of the Tweedside castle.
Run under British Eventing rules, the trials were held in conjunction with the wider Borders Festival of the Horse.
The weekend weather was changeable, adding a considerable challenge to the competitors, with wind, sharp showers and only the occasional sunny break to enjoy.
The blustery conditions did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of riders or the spectators, however, who were treated to a spectacle of immaculately turned-out horses and exciting competition.
Saturday saw the BE 100 classes, which were very well supported.
It was an early start with the first dressage tests in the arena for 8am. Local rider Emily Galbraith did well, gaining a second place in the Novice section F with Ginja Ninja II, but Nicky Roncoroni had an unfortunate fall at the fan jump, resulting in a broken ankle. True to her good nature and sporting spirit, however, her blog just says “Bother!”.
The Duke of Buccleuch Hunt Pony Club had a successful day – Henny Cooper and Kilworth Full Moon won the BE100 Pony Club class with Juliet Smith and Borthwickshiels Jake a close second.
The organisation of the trials was seamless and the army of helpers, stewards, judges and volunteers made the days fly by.
The dulcet tones of Tim Finch kept everyone informed of the cross-country progress, peppering the commentary with pithy comments and encouragement to riders and spectators alike.
Phillip Kerr, who is an owner and supporter of NBR Eventing, explained that it is the setting that makes the Floors event such a favourite.
He told TheSouthern: “The grand view and sweeping grounds are an ideal place for competition.
“I would like to see further development of the course and believe an extended level of competition would be most attractive in the Borders.”
Cameron Crawford had a very busy weekend. His JSC Estates sponsored the Intermediate section N, and BE100 section H, but he rode his own horse Nelgara, an eight-year-old bay gelding, in the BE 100 Astra Site Services section C.
JSC Estates also sponsors Caroline Powell, who rode Mr Crawford’s five-year-old iron grey gelding Up Up and Away in the BE100 My Team section B.
Sunday saw the Novice and intermediate classes hotly contended by a host of eager riders.
The very windy weather made the conditions challenging, but the sharp showers kept everyone refreshed and on their toes.
Ailie Bryson from Dumfries and Galloway took the Albert Bartlett Open Novice under 18 section with her bay mare Dolce Vita IV and it was great to see so many up-and-coming young riders competing at this level.
Floors is a firm favourite with Matthew Wright and Jamie Atkinson who both competed in multiple classes, Matthew was to be seen walking the course with his two dogs, enjoying the exercise, and chatting to the other riders. He had a successful competition picking up a number of wins and places, including first and second in the JSC Estates Intermediate section N with Mount Annan Holdings’ Solway Storm and Dassett Eventing’s Dassett Two For Joy. Cumbrian international rider Ruth Edge took the Dodson & Horrell Novice Regional Final on Mr & Mrs Lawson’s Mister Maccondy and a delighted Rachael Lupton won the HW Malcolm Open Intermediate class with her own The Chenko Artist. Rachel was showered with prizes including a fine art print and the magnificent Ian Stark “Murphy Himself” trophy.
The weekend was an unqualified success providing a high level of exciting sport and a spectacular showcase for Borders beauty and landscapes.
For full results go to http://www.bdwp.co.uk/flr/