Birmingham 23/11/16

The first league BUCS Match for the Cambridge University Equestrian Third Team was held at home with the Birmigham division welcoming the University of Warwick and University of Cambridge to Seechem Equestrian Centre. The CUET Thirds of Captain Opportune Simon (Murray Edwards), Caitlin Milne (Girton), Bex Fox (Downing) and Georgia Hockenhull (Pembroke) had bright and early start for the two hour drive.

Everyone was on time to the competition, allowing for a swift horse draw and then the dressage phase began. First up was Caitlin, who drew a huge horse and managed to coax a lovely forward test after a warm up in the cold November rain. Captain Opp drew a lovely dressage horse, with a very smooth canter. Bex worked very hard to relax her very tense mount King, showing lots of skill and rode a lovely test, ending up with 0 penalty points! Georgia and her ride produced a very smooth and accurate test to end the day.

Overall, at the end of the dressage phase Cambridge were tied for the top position with Warwick, with both teams on 59 penalties. Bex lead the way on zero penalties, but it was all to play for in the jumping phase.

The show jumping course was a very tricky course, and challenged the riders’ skills in the small arena. Georgia drew a feisty pony, who one person had multiple refusals with, but produced a beautiful round, gaining one of the best jumping scores of the day. Bex got Buddy, a big horse with long strides but managed to get him around the twisty course. Opp drew a very forward horse, managed to coax her round the course, and gained the best score of the riders who managed to complete the course on her! Caitlin’s (bad) luck of the draw drew her second huge horse of the day, however she rode a forward and fluent round, and fell in love with her ride.

Despite the close call following the dressage phase, Warwick riders by team had fewer penalties, and therefore Cambridge ended the match in third place. Both Opp and Katie (Warwick) were tied at fourth place, which meant that the individual places were decided on the ‘collective’ marks; the marks the judge gives each rider for their riding ability, position and effectiveness. These marks were also very tight, and Katie just pipped Opp to the fourth place. Georgia was placed 7thand Caitlin and Bex ended up just outside the placings, in a very competitive match. A good result to a strong season so far for CUET – bring on Warwick next term!

A huge thank you to the Birmingham team for organizing this day, to the Seechem stables for their horses, and of course to Susannah for driving the team there and coaching them during the whole day!