As Michaelmas term drew to a close, five of our club members ventured out to Hilltop Equestrian Centre to end the term with a couple of friendly and yet fast-paced show jumping rounds. With the sun seeming to have come out especially for us and the horses in high spirits, the day was thoroughly enjoyed by each of us.
Starting the afternoon with a clear round competition, three of the four riders competing rode a successful clear: Laura White, Venetia Brown and Guido Franchetti. With all of us happy to continue at a greater height, we switched horses and re-entered the arena to ride a slightly harder course. As with the university teams that ride in the BUSA league, changing horses each round is a test of a rider’s skill and experience in working in harmony with mounts that vary so widely in character. The standard was high even with a couple of refusals – one fence in particular, the fan, caused some difficulties for each of us but was most cleanly jumped in the end by Venetia.
By the end of the day, with both riders and horses tired but having revelled in the thrill of adrenaline that comes with jumping out in crisp winter air, we had our winners and their rosettes to be awarded. Laura took a well-earned first place, in second came Venetia and then myself in third. Guido, having had an unfortunate fall (albeit with an impressive landing on his feet) to place him fourth, nevertheless rode with a speed and skill all day that along with the others inspired me at least as a green newcomer to the club in my first real competition. I know I am certainly looking forward to more events like this in the future and hope more members will be able to participate. Besides the pleasure of jumping such beautifully schooled horses, it is gratifying to be able to learn so much from fellow riders.
Many thanks are of course due to those members who organised the event and provided lifts, as well as to the yard staff in helping to set up the arena.
by Catherine Matthews