Report written by Ali Simon
After a leisurely start to the competition with the draw at 12pm on Friday 28th February, the CUET Second team of Skipper Alice Strang Steel, Ali Simon, Ollie Coombe-Tennant and Lottie Buttar commenced their final BUCS competition at the University of East Anglia.
The horses were of vastly different heights and temperaments. Ollie drew a very reluctant cob-type for the dressage but managing to fizz it up enough to do a very nice test. Lottie on the other hand had to use very little leg with her mount who was prone to bronking around the arena! Ali rode a strong test and Alice had her dream mount of an ex-dressage horse who floated around the arena and to produce a lovely test.
At the end of the dressage phase, Cambridge was, as usual, firmly in the lead with Ali, Lottie and Ollie on zero points, a fantastic achievement.
The usual jumping horses for the hosting team of UEA were all unavailable or lame, so the centre had produced some alternative horses, all of which (aside from one pony) were over 16hh. Luckily Lottie had drawn the pony, meaning that there was no need for Ollie to have to rollerblade his feet around the arena! Lottie’s pony did cause rather a lot of drama, however, with the two of the first three riders falling off before the fourth fence, and the other one barely clinging on. Lottie displayed her skill and extreme balance by producing a clear round which, even if not so pretty, was an achievement on this difficult pony. Alice drew a tank of a carthorse for the jumping and manoeuvred it round expertly whilst Ali had to use all her strength to contain her rather excitable mount. Ollie’s horse wins the competition for the best name: Rodger, and he also did a solid jumping round.
Alice, Ollie and Lottie all scored zero points for their jumping rounds and so the team finished on a total of 28 points. This gave them the team victory, streaks ahead of the rest of the competitors who were exactly 100 points behind, with RVC on 128 in 2nd. Individual placings saw Ollie 1st, Lottie 2nd, Alice 5th and Ali 6th.
This final win for the Second Team rounds up a league of absolute domination, with three wins and one second place, although that was on the same score as the winners, and as it was so close it came down to collective marks where RVC’s home advantage gave them the edge. Despite this early ‘blip’ the winning streak for Cambridge Seconds has continued and they have had the individual winner at every single competition and the majority of the team placed highly too.
Overall, the Cambridge team has the highest scores in their league and has therefore qualified to go to the Regional Finals held in Moreton Morrell, Warwickshire on 16th April. Not bad for their first year as a competitive team!