UEA (19/11/2014)

Cambridge University Equestrian Team

First Team BUCS Match hosted by UEA, Weston Equestrian Centre, 19th November 2014


L-R Alice Watson, Ali Simon, Alice Strang Steel (Captain), Ginny Fellows

The first BUCS match for CUET First Team was hosted by UEA at Weston Equestrian Centre, Norfolk. The Cambridge First Team is in a league with the A Teams from University of East Anglia, Writtle College and the University of Essex. The day began with an early start for the Cambridge Team of Alice Strang Steel, Ali Simon, Ginny Fellows and Alice Watson, leaving Cambridge in the dawning mist.

The competition consists of each team member riding a horse drawn at random for a dressage test, with a short warm up, followed by a course of show jumps in the afternoon on another randomly chosen horse. Captain Alice drew an enormous horse called Boss and needed a stepladder to get on him! However she rode a lovely fluid test and beat the other team riders on her horse. Ginny had the opposite problem with her feet almost dragging along the floor on her fiery little chestnut mare, yet managed admirably to also get the best score on her horse. Ali’s horse was neither tall nor small, yet very very long! Going first on a horse is often a disadvantage but Ali managed to get the horse together and the nose closer to the tail, getting the best score on her horse too! Alice W drew a very sensitive horse with beautiful paces and did a lovely test, narrowly missing out on the win.

Overall at the end of the dressage phase, Cambridge were well in the lead, with Ali, Alice SS and Ginny on zero penalties, leading to a fantastic team score of just 5 penalties.

Captain Alice Strang Steel and her dressage ride, Boss

The show jumping horses at Weston were in fact all ponies (or very small horses) with the exception of one poor horse who had been ridden in the dressage phase as well. Ginny managed to draw the tiny pony (again) who was in fact the opposite in all ways to her dressage speed machine; slow and steady, with a lot of leg and encouragement needed! Nevertheless Mouse stepped up to the mark and produced a tidy round, with Ginny gaining only 4 penalties. Ali’s drew an ex-polo pony who quite literally ‘pinged’ round in style to get the best score of the team riders. Alice W drew the best luck, of a beautiful small event horse called Burberry who, though rather excitable, jumped so nicely that everyone wanted to snap him up (there was a cheeky ‘for sale’ plug while he was being jumped around!). Skipper Alice SS unfortunately drew the horse who had already had quite the workout in the dressage phase, leading to a few poles being lowered due to the sheer exhaustion (or perhaps the jumps weren’t high enough – Hatty was probably double the height of Mouse, Ginny’s little pony!) Despite this, she sat up and used her legs, and only added 22 penalties her dressage score of zero.

Ali was the only one who managed to maintain a zero penalty score, but the other members of the Cambridge team were so close to the other riders on their respective horses that the team only finished on 38 penalties total! This gave them team victory, miles ahead of the rest of the competitors. Individual placings saw Ali take 1st, Ginny equal 2nd on only 4 penalties with Evie from UEA (though the coin toss went in Ginny’s favour so she got to take home the blue rosette!), and Alice W 6th. A fantastic result all round from Cambridge, putting them in a strong position for the remaining matches, which take place next term.