Saturday 9th March saw the Equestrian Varsity match held at Brooksby Equestrian centre. After a 3 year winning streak the pressure was on the light blue side to pull off another Oxford bashing after 9/10 wins in the last ten years. The competition had particular significance after the national press fiasco of last year that left Cambridge keen to take the initiative from the off this year but despite this Cambridge went into the competition fairly equal on paper with Oxford despite three of the Cambridge riders having competed internationally. Returning veteran Kate Walters joined the team of Claire Small and Clark Glasgow captained by Oli Lawrence to face Oxford in a competition consisting of 2 dressage tests and 2 jumping rounds.
A strong start in the dressage saw Cambridge pull ahead with a 20 point margin. Well presented performances from Walters, gaining her 4th Cambridge cap, and Glasgow put the pressure on the dark blues who crumbled in the heat of the moment resulting in some spectacular scenes of equine disobedience and a rather red faced Oxford captain. Cambridge retained their lead over the more difficult second test to leave Oxford well behind with errors of course and accuracy going out the window for the later Oxford riders. The jumping saw a series of difficult horses offered which split the field and the Oxford captain, Lauren Innes, clawed back some points with 2 stylish jumping rounds on particularly tricky horses. However, this wasn’t enough as all four Cambridge riders produced the goods in both their rounds with Claire Small, in her first appearance for Cambridge, pulling off two intelligently judged rounds under mounting pressure from an Oxford side getting back in the running. The final utterly unprecedented result saw Cambridge dominate with a score of 111.5 vs Oxford on 178.3 (lowest score wins) and Kate Walters snatching the top spot, Lauren Innes in 2nd and Oli Lawrence in 3rd with Clark Glasgow close behind in 4th.
The Cambridge side would like to give a huge thank you to their new sponsors Trizone and to Helen Westropp for kindly offering to judge the competition.