Report written by Alice Strang-Steel
The CUET 2nd team were really excited to be heading to BUCS regionals at Moreton Morrell in Warwickshire, on 16th April to compete against Cardiff and RVC 2nds. As the first year for the University having a 2nds team competing in the BUCS leagues, it was a massive achievement for the team to dominate in the league rounds against Royal Vet College, University of East Anglia and Writtle College. We had huge winning margins at three of the competitions, and a very close 2nd place in the match hosted by RVC, where RVC had a huge home advantage.
We all put in lots of practice over the Easter holidays on a variety of different horses but were surprised to discover that one of the dressage horses was a mere 18hh. Bridget was fortunate enough to draw this particularly large and gangly horse who took a lot of riding to put together and engage – she did a fantastic job. Lottie rode a smaller, 16hh chestnut who preferred to move around like a giraffe with her nose poking out. Lottie was unlucky in not getting her full warm up time but still managed to get this horse to settle for some lovely moments in her test. Ali rode a very accurate test to finish on the 0 penalty score for her horse. Alice had a workman like horse who knew his job but was starting to get tired by the time she rode him last. He had broken from canter to trot several times with the previous rider and had a wrong strike off for left canter – so this required lots of leg and energy from the rider to keep the impulsion going.
Following the dressage we were sitting in 3rd position but the margin between 2nd and 3rd was only 5 penalties. The show jumping course was built with the help of Clark and with Bridget directing from the plan. It was up to height and we saw in the horse demonstration that lots of the horses were a little behind the leg and would need lots of forward riding.
Lottie was up first and rode a smooth round on a horse that later spooked and chucked a rider from Cardiff off. Alice’s horse needed lots of leg in the warm up but then took hold of the bit in the arena making it difficult to ride accurate lines and unfortunately they had 2 poles down. Ali’s horse had an unusual jump which some of the other riders found it difficult to sit to. But Ali managed with her usual style to make it look easy, with just one pole down at the start of the course. Bridget was clearly much more excited for the show jumping phase and went in with a huge smile to ride a fantastic clear round.
In the final results we finished in 2nd place to RVC who we’re sure will do well at Nationals. Our teams individual results were fantastic with Ali in 3rd place, completing her streak of 0 Dressage penalties for every 2nds team match this year. Lottie was 5th and Bridget was 8th. The team should be incredibly proud of what they have achieved this year, with some great rides and fantastic results, everyone has massively improved both on the flat and jumping.