Beth Jones, CURC President 2013-2014, writes:
Lent term 2013 saw poor weather for riding, with plummeting temperatures and much snow resulting in numerous Hilltop lessons being cancelled due to frozen ground. We all breathed a sigh of relief therefore when on Sunday 10 March Sharon declared it safe to hold Jumping Cuppers, despite the far from pleasant temperatures and frequent showers of sleet.
Off we went to Yelling, bundled up in as many layers we could feasibly ride in as possible. Quickly we all set about building the course. With help from Sharon and her colleagues the final design involved tight corners and skewed lines, a real challenge that aimed to separate the men from the boys (or the women from the girls in this case!).
This year a Queens’ college team was formed, for the first time in years, with the two other teams formed from an assortment of colleges. Nicola, Trisna and Georgia were hurtling their way back from the final BUCS competition held at Writtle College and so were absent for the first few rounds before arriving, rather out of breath, just in time for the final stages of the competition.
It was decided that Sharon would judge jumping rounds based on a combination of style, the number of faults accumulated and the height of the fences jumped. With three heights available (70 cm, 75 cm and 90 cm) and the number of starting points initially assigned dependent on the height chosen, most riders opted for the 90 cm height and the maximum starting points available. Sharon would then score each jump out of ten, based on the rider’s position, control and balance. Faults would be deducted as normal for refusals, knock downs, runs outs or, God forbid, any falls. Each rider’s score would be added to their team mates’ scores producing an overall mark for each team. The team with the highest score would win. Game on. The serious jumping horses were available this year and much thought was put into which ones to ride. Imran (evented by William Fox-Pitt), Treveo (the reliable all-rounder), Pebbles (the speed machine), Ruby (full of beans), Holly (scopey and keen) and Cherry (with the ping ability of a kangaroo) provided much choice for the competitors this year. In the end, Imran was ridden by Georgia, Travao was shared between Tess, Kate and Nicola, Pebbles was jumped by Lindsey and Steph, Ruby was Rachel’s choice, Holly was shared by Anoeska and myself (Beth) and Cherry was chosen by Trisna. Time to begin!Tess was first to start with a lovely clear in the 75 cm, followed by a masterful performance by Lindsey on Pebbles to produce the second clear of that course. Anoeska then took the stage with Holly who lifted her feet up and produced the final clear at that height. The jumps were then raised to 90 cm, with the second part of the double, a spread, looking particularly daunting! Rachel whizzed round on Ruby who didn’t want to stop, followed by Steph who found Pebbles a little strong as she unluckily knocked a few poles. Then it was my turn on Holly, who tried her heart out and launched herself over everything to give me a somewhat hairy clear round. Kate had a good round on Trev and then Georgia took over with Imran. Despite some steering issues (!) Georgia got Imran jumping beautifully and Queens’ had its third clear in the bag. Cherry then had a go with Trisna on top and we all gasped in amazement as tiny 13 hh Cherry cleared the fences with feet to spare – well done Trisna! Finally Nicola ended the proceedings with the last clear on Trev, who deserved a well-earned rest after all his exertions.
With happy faces we all collapsed on hay bales to find out the eagerly anticipated results:
1st: Queens’ team (Beth Jones, Georgia Vann, Lindsey Tate)
2nd: Mixed team (Trisna Tungadi, Kate Horan, Tess Foxcroft)
3rd: Mixed team (Anoeska Van de Moosdijk, Rachel Meunier, Steph Ng)
Georgia was declared the winner of the best style award, doing Queens’ extra proud.
All in all we had a great day, with some brilliant jumping despite the far from brilliant conditions. Thanks to Sharon, as ever, for her time, advice and support and the rest of the Hilltop yard for all their help. Thanks also to the drivers for getting everyone to Yelling. We all can’t wait for next year’s contest.