Borders horse trials event widens its range

Wills Oakdon and Macgregors Cooley (picture by Melanie Horne)
Wills Oakdon and Macgregors Cooley (picture by Melanie Horne)

The level of competition at Hendersyde Park Horse Trials has ascended to new heights.

The range of classes last weekend at this gem of a Borders venue was extended again this year, to include a well-designed and encouraging BE80 which provided an exciting platform for new eventers and young horses.

Every moment of the weekend was packed with sport. Saturday saw the Belhaven SCBE 90 championships, with last year’s champion Philippa Shell and Royal Gunner, returning to defend their title.

They produced a neat double clear and finished on their dressage score of 29.3 – but it was not enough, as Jessica Zajda and Nanteglwys Taliesin rode a superb test to clinch the title with 24.8.

The Central Carpets SCBE100 championships got pulses racing in the afternoon, with top-level riders Wills Oakden and Louisa Milne Home battling it out with two rides each .

Louisa was in the lead after the dressage, with Carrow Iroko on 25.3, while Wills and Macgregors Cooley were on 26.5 .

Louisa picked up two cross country time faults which meant it all hinged on the final show jumping phase. The pressure mounted, as the top 10 riders jump in reverse order and the arena was surrounded by onlookers for the finale.

Carrow Iroko rolled a pole for four faults and picked up three time penalties, which dropped them down to sixth place, leaving Wills Oakden and Macgregors Cooley to triumph with a smooth double clear to end on 26.5.

Louisa jumped clear on Ballylarkin Bouncer to secure second place, with Wills taking the third sport on Zuccheros Deff Leppard.

Local rider Louise Clark and Boo Diddley rode into seventh place – this pairing had a successful outing at the Badminton Mitsubishi Grass Roots championship in May.

Sunday saw the more advanced classes get under way, as the weather turned from light showers to heavy rain, putting the emphasis on careful, balanced riding.

Natasha Galpin and Miss Contender were delighted to win the M&J Ballantyne SCIN Championship with a foot-perfect set, to finish on 31.4 . Caitlin Padfield and Chapel Down had been in the lead but eight faults in the show jumping saw them slide down the leader board. However, it also allowed Caitlin’s other ride, Quincy IV, to rise to second place .

The Championship trophy was presented by Grant Davidson of M&J Ballantyne, assisted by his daughters Flora and Rose.

Hendersyde Park Horse Trials provide meticulous courses on old turf that hold up well to heavy wear. Such care is taken with the tracks that the torrential rain did little damage .

Livy Agnew and her army of local volunteers and sponsors work hard to provide an inclusive, encouraging competition, which also benefits charity, with over £56,000 being collected over the years.

The Borders Children’s Charity and Murray House , the new dementia unit for the Borders, to be based at Queen’s House in Kelso, are the main beneficiaries this year.

All the results can be found at