Essex (21/01/15)

Cambridge University Equestrian Team

First Team BUCS Match – Rayne Riding Centre, Essex – 21st January

The winning CUET Firsts (L-R Ginny Fellows, Ali Simon, Alice Watson, Alice Strang Steel (Captain))

The CUET First Team travelled to Essex for their second BUCS League Match, against the University of Essex, Writtle College and the University of East Anglia. The day began with an early start for the Cambridge team of Captain Alice Strang Steel (Emmanuel), Ali Simon (Fitzwilliam), Alice Watson (Fitzwilliam) and Ginny Fellows (Sidney Sussex), though as they travelled south, snow started falling heavier and heavier… The match was delayed by an hour due to the weather, with some teams being stuck in the snow!

Each team member draws a random horse for a dressage test, and another one for showjumping in the afternoon. The dressage arena was outside, where it was continuing to snow, and Captain Alice had to ride in the worst of it. She drew a fine little bay pony who, though a little tired, Alice rode a superbly fluid test on her, and scored the best on that horse. Ali’s horse got very tense when it went into the arena, due to the chickens on the other side of the fence! This meant that the test didn’t go exactly to plan, as he had an aversion to one end of the arena. Alice W’s horse was an adorable little coloured cob, who everyone fell in love with, and rode a fabulously rhythmical test, beating the other riders on him. Ginny drew the giant horse, which is unusual, considering her penchant for normally selecting the ponies! Strata was a big strong horse, but Ginny managed to keep him together very well, and rode a lovely test, just narrowly missing out on the top score.

Overall at the end of the dressage, Cambridge were in second place, with Writtle in the lead; just 5 points separated them though, so it was all to play for in the jumping.

Ginny after the dressage

The showjumping round was held outside, where it had thankfully stopped snowing! Ginny once again managed to draw the enormous horse who Ginny rode round the course neatly, despite the lack of brakes and got the best score on the gigantic horse! Ali drew a gorgeous part-Connemara mare called Daisy, who everyone wanted to take home. They jumped a flowing clear round in style to get the best score of the team riders, making up for the disappointment in the dressage. Skipper Alice SS had a lovely palomino and rode a fluid round, despite the slight reluctance of the horse to go very fast; Alice persuaded him that canter was indeed possible! Alice W was unfortunate in drawing her horse to jump last, by which time he was exhausted! Notwithstanding his rather unconventional way of going, Alice rode a lovely test and also had the best score on her horse.

Ali and Daisy jumping

Prize giving was rather tense this time, as Cambridge were unsure of whether they had pulled back the lead from the strong Writtle team. However, it was announced that Cambridge had won, meaning that they are currently top of the league and unbeaten this season! Individual results saw Ali in 8th (despite the unfortunate dressage!), Alice SS in 6th, Ginny in 4th on just 9 penalties, and Alice W winning with a zero penalty score. A wonderful result from Cambridge, putting them into a fantastically strong position with two matches to go in the league.