Riding coach Kate Raynor was surprised to find herself finishing at the top of the leaderboard in the Voltaire Design BE100 Grassroots Championship with Annandale Idris (pictured above). 

“I thought that if everything came together we had a chance of a top 10 placing. I certainly didn’t expect to win,” she said, adding: “I don’t do that many events, and the Grassroots Championship wasn’t even on my radar last year, but British Eventing extended the qualification deadline to July and we finished second at the regional and it all fell into place.

“It’s also great that the event is 10 minutes from my home. We could almost hack here!”

Kate manages to ride her 15-year-old gelding six days a week between her work commitments, which also include producing horses. 

“He’s a horse who loves consistency and routine and I’ve worked hard to get that right,” continued Kate. “I also discovered six months after getting him that the harder he works, the better he gets. 

“Even when I’m busy with work I make sure that I do something with him. I once thought I’d give him a holiday, but after three days he jumped out of his field so that was the end of that. He likes the entertainment factor of work.”

‘He’s a warrior’

Jane Rogers called her runner-up Corrieview Merlin Magic “a warrior. He always tries his hardest for you”.

Jane Rodgers and Corrieview Merlin Magic finish second. Credit: Trevor Holt

The 58-year-old rider, who does some bookkeeping work and also supplies her sister’s Burrow Farm Garden tearoom with scones baked in giant batches, was enjoying her fifth Grassroots outing, although only this one has been a success. 

“It’s taken me five years to jump clear,” she said. 

Jane bred the now 16-year-old Magic. 

“His mother was black and his father a dark bay and he came out a horrible cream colour, but he looks better now,” she added. 

‘I didn’t expect to even qualify’

“I event for fun and didn’t expect to even qualify for these championships,” said Katie Wood, at 17 the youngest of the podium finishers, who steered the Irish Sport Horse Solitaire King into third place. 

“I’ve had King since he was four and I’ve brought him on at his own pace,” she said. “I board at Sedbergh School in Cumbria, so my mum, Cilla Backhouse, is my main supporter and she does the horses when I’m away.”

Solitaire King has a tendency to get lit up in the dressage, so Katie has been getting help on the flat from dressage rider Paul Langford. 

“I’ve not been having lessons with Paul for that long, although I’ve had four in the past three weeks. That has really helped as he’s great at simplifying things,” said Katie.

In excess of 150 riders lined up for these Grassroots Championships, sponsored by Voltaire Design, which are the pinnacle of amateur eventing. The BE100 final took place first, followed by the BE90, which saw Amy Dixon triumph for the second time. 

Pictures by Trevor Holt

Final BE100 leaderboard

(format: horse (rider), dressage pens, showjumping pens, cross-country pens = total penalty score)

1, Annandale Idris (Kate Raynor), 26.5, 0, 0 = 26.5

2, Corrieview Merlin Magic (Jane Rogers), 28.5, 0, 0 = 28.5

3, Solitaire King (Katie Wood), 29.9, 0, 0 = 29.9

4, Rock Supreme (Victoria Gregg), 32.1, 0, 0 = 32.1

5, Attyrory Mate (Stephanie Batty), 32.5, 0, 0 = 32.5

6, Circus Standing Ovation (Penny Hancox), 33.1, 0, 0 = 33.1

7, Lough Derg Joe (Eloise Van Praagh), 33.1, 0, 0 = 33.1

8, Crafty Wizard (Heather Urquhart), 33.3, 0, 0 = 33.3

9, Dysart Lux Zed (Lucy Blumberg), 33.6, 0, 0 = 33.6

10, Churchside Reflection (Joanne Watts), 34, 0, 0 = 34

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