The going was a hot topic of conversation at Horseheath Horse Trials last weekend, following a long spell of dry weather in April.

More than 500 event riders returned to the Cambridgeshire venue after a two-year absence, having missed the 2020 fixture due to Covid-19-induced cancellations.

Over 2in of water was used in the dressage and showjumping arenas and warm-up areas, as well as extensive irrigation of the Tina Ure-designed cross-country course.

“The team had put in a lot of work on the ground after having no rain for weeks and the going could not have been better,” said Jo Mair, who won BE80(T) section P riding Kilbrien Chris (‘Eddie’).

The duo pulled off a personal best of 24.3 in the first phase.

“It was an extremely windy day, so I was very pleased with that,” added Jo.

“Then we were clear showjumping and had a super cross-country round with fences that were up to height but generally inviting.

“The event had a lovely atmosphere and to end the day with a win is brilliant. I couldn’t be happier.”

‘Horses for the future’

Elite event rider Sarah Bullimore (pictured, top), who netted a BE100 section aboard Quiwi Sprite, said:

“I had a good outing at Horseheath and really appreciated all the arenas and warm-up areas being watered. The going was great with educational courses, looking after our horses for the future.”

Isobelle Cotton headed BE90 under-18 section H with EMS Fritz.

“It’s my first time competing at a BE event here and I loved every minute of it,” said the Woodbridge School pupil who represents her school and Suffolk Hunt Pony Club in teams.

“I was determined to get onto the under-18 team this year. EMS Fritz has so much potential so I’m looking forward to many more BE successes together.”

‘Confident mindset’

Fellow under-18 winner Imogen Pohl, who won section C, said a course walk with BE trainer Michael Paveley was a huge help.

“It put me in a confident mindset for the rest of the day,” she explained. “Cross-country, I was definitely feeling more confident than usual.”

Her winning mount was Ballingowan Chiara.

“Chiara was very excited to be out in the dressage; she produced a lovely test of 30, which I was chuffed with.

“We also had a fantastic showjumping round, which was causing some problems for others.

“Both Chiara and I love cross-country and get such a good feeling galloping across the country. I was speechless when I found out I’d won.”

Event organiser Tim Barling said it was “fantastic to see so many eventers back out again”.

See the full results here

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