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Richfields Junior CCI* 3DE

Scholarships Successful

by Karen Cave, Richfields Horse Trial organising committee

Clifton Eventers, in conjunction with Horse and Pony Magazine, sponsored the 2008 CCI*J Class at the Richfields International Horse Trial.

The Clifton Eventers sponsorship meant that junior riders were able to enter the class for free and the first three placegetters received scholarships for training at the Clifton Eventers yard with Jonathan Paget of various values. Further to this, Clifton Eventers also held a one day clinic at their yard that all riders in the CCI*J class who completed the event and three other junior riders, two of which competed in the CCI* and CCI** classes with distinction were invited to attend.

All of the first three placegetters completed their scholarships in January this year simultaneously after the one day clinic was held at the Clifton Eventers yard at Murawai.

Of the 14 riders invited to attend the one day clinic, nine took up this wonderful opportunity to learn in this professional environment.

“Two things which were obvious all day were the underlying encouragement and support given to all the riders by everyone at Muriwai. Also for me, a welcome spin off  was the valuable time we were given to get to know other parents... a luxury not readily available in the hustle and bustle of competition!” said Linda Auton.

At the one day clinic the primary focus for the riders was to introduce some questions that the riders will find when riding at the intermediate and two star level in the dressage, show jumping and cross country. A number of different techniques that can be used when approaching more technically challenging combinations were explained to the riders. How these techniques can be implemented and vary slightly depending on the type of horse that you are riding was also a focus of the course.

Some of the techniques and skills covered included adding strides when approaching a combination, approaching offset and angled combination fences, setting the horse up on the approach for tricky distances and ways to keep a horse relaxed and focussed.

The standard of riding by all participants was impressive with all the riders willing to learn and easy to teach!

Rhiannon Leak and Lighthearted.
Rhiannon was second in the CCI*J Class at the 2008 Richfields International Horse Trial

After the one day clinic, Samantha Felton and 1600 Dohc Turbo (1st), Rhiannon Leak and Lighthearted (2nd) and Lauren Currie and Wishful Thinking (3rd) stayed on to complete their scholarships of ten, seven and four days respectively. During the scholarships different aspects of preparing, training and refining the partnership between horse and rider for competing at the one star and higher levels were touched on. These included but were not limited to dressage, show jumping, cross country, ringcraft, fitness and conditioning, nutrition.

The three girls that won the scholarships were all good riders in different ways, were great to teach, worked hard and were very keen to learn.

“I found the dressage lessons with Jock really valuable as well. I feel that I have more to work with now than I did before and I find it easier to get Wishful Thinking to focus on the task at hand. This was probably the most beneficial thing that Wishful Thinking and I took away from the experience as a combination” said Lauren Currie.

“I kept a diary of my stay there and frequently go back to my notes to remind myself of points that will help get the most out of my horses. I feel confident and exited about the season ahead and I can't wait to get out there and compete again while putting everything I have learnt into practice” said Samantha Felton

The beach rides were also a highlight for all of the scholarship recipients.

As part of the scholarship each of the three riders were able to experience what it is like to work in a professional eventing yard and rider a number of different horses all of the time. “Riding so many different horses gave me the opportunity to advance my riding and to get the best out of each individual horse I was riding for the day” said Samantha Felton.

“I was lucky enough to have the privilege of riding several Clifton horses from the one-star through to the experienced three-star horses. They all gave me a different feeling when riding them, but with the assistance of Jock I managed to adjust my riding to suit each horse. They were all lovely but the horse who stole my heart, and who I made many attempts at trying to steal was Clifton Abbot. He had the most powerful jump, gorgeous face and felt like a winner” said Rhiannon Leak.

Lauren Currie and Wishful Thinking.
Lauren was third in the CCI*J Class at the 2008 Richfields International Horse Trial

Since the scholarships Samantha Felton, Lauren Currie and Rhiannon Leak have all completed their first intermediate events. Every one at Clifton Eventers believes that they all could have a big future in this sport!

Further, Lauren Currie, the seven day scholarship recipient won the A1 section at the New Zealand Pony Club Horse Trials Championships on Wishful Thinking. Chloe Kennedy on Boots N All and Oliver Steele on SS Nonchalant, who both attended the extra one day clinic offered by Clifton Eventers took out the other individual prizes at Pony Club Champs.

At the National Three Day Event championships at Taupo Chloe Kennedy and Boots N All won the Non-Championship one-star class.

A great time was had by all of the scholarship recipients who were all very appreciative of the experience and Jock's knowledgeable and thoughtful tuition.

Due to the success of the scholarships, Clifton Eventers will again be sponsoring the CIC*J class being held at the Richfields International Horse Trial in November this year and providing scholarships for the first three placegetters of the class. The scholarships will be for 10 days for first, seven days for second and four days for third. The organising committee for the Richfields International Horse Trial are greatly appreciative of this sponsorship to encourage the junior riders competing in this class.