University of East Anglia (11/01/2015)

Cambridge University Equestrian Team

Second Team — BUCS Match hosted by University of East Anglia, Weston Equestrian Centre, 11th February 2015

Written by Holly Mason

Winning CUET Seconds (L-R Ollie, Mary, Katy, Holly)

On Wednesday the 11th February at about 9.47 (Ollie was two minutes late..) the CUET Second Team departed Selwyn College and headed East for Weston Equestrian Centre for their penultimate league match against Writtle College 2nd Team, the University of East Anglia 2nds  and the Royal Vet College 3rds. Tension was high as Cambridge needed to secure another win to take the pressure of the final round, as they had a good chance of qualifying for the Regional Finals. The team that travelled to UEA included Seconds’ Captain Ollie Coombe-Tennant (Selwyn), Holly Mason (St John’s), Mary Tivey (Girton) and Katy Surman (Churchill).

First up in the dressage was Captain Ollie who drew a giant skewbald mare. He successfully piloted the rather long mare around what turned out to be her first ever dressage test (no wonder she was a bit puzzled by the judges car), to secure the best score on that horse, with a fabulously relaxed free walk. Next up was Mary who drew Boss, an 18 hands high beast of a horse. Mary rode a lovely accurate test and Boss showed his very correct way of going, proving to be more of a beauty than a beast! Holly drew the smallest horse of the bunch, though this still stood at 16hh! Despite an unplanned toilet stop right in front of the judge, which even pony club kicks failed to solve, Holly secured the best score of the team riders on the pretty bay, managing to coax a medium trot during her test, which other riders had not managed to produce. Last to go was Katy riding an especially tricky downhill bay, however in her usual elegant style Katy produced a lovely fluent test, maintaining a fantastically engaged canter despite going last and the poor horse running out of steam slightly. Overall Cambridge were the best of the bunch after the dressage leading the way on a score of 17 penalty points, with Holly and Ollie both on zero penalty scores. It was a strong team performance especially considering the warm up, which was in a field on what appeared to be the only hill in Norfolk.

After a delightful lunch with a slightly mixed menu the jumping phase commenced. The jumping ponies could not have been more different from the enormous dressage horses, with the biggest standing at 14.2hh. Holly was first up on a wiggly, sharp ex-polo pony, who had an enormously springy jump despite her small size! Holly managed to negotiate a well steered round out of the little mare and secured the best score of the team riders. Katy then entered the ring on the complete opposite; a steady black cob, who she gently coaxed round with one unfortunate mishap, as the pony lost confidence jumped into the double. However, a very good recovery meant Katy only picked up an impressive 2 penalty points. Blues rugby player Ollie had managed to draw a tiny 13.2hh Welsh section C pony, who jumped most things from trot in her demo round. Strong riding from Ollie meant the mare actually jumped a consistent round in canter, and the combination resembled an overgrown five-year-old riding in the Shetland Pony Grand National! Nevertheless, Ollie managed to gain the best score on the little pony. Last up was Mary riding beautiful Burberry; a sharp bay gelding who required experienced riding. Mary successfully filled this criteria and negotiated a fabulous round, with an unlucky one fence down.

Mary and the beautiful Burberry in action

Overall the Cambridge Seconds secured team victory, on a total penalty score of 33 with an impressive margin of 88 points ahead of UEA in second place. Ollie and Holly both finished on a score of 0 penalties though Ollie had scored more for his ‘collective’ marks for riding effectiveness and style meaning that he pipped Holly to win individually and Holly ended up 2nd. Katy placed just behind in 4th and Mary finished in 6th place. To have all individuals placed in the top 6 is a fantastic achievement, showing the strength of the Cambridge team. CUET Seconds have not lost a match so far this season, which places them in a very enviable position heading into their final match, with their chance of qualifying for the Regional Finals within touching distance.