Power and elegance combined this year at the Inaugural Draught Horse Championships held at Keysoe, Bedfordshire on Saturday 5 November. Open to a wide variety of heavy horse and part-bred heavy horse breeds, the popularity of this category showed in the high number of entries to the Championship classes.
The highest score of the Championships went to Steffi Dampney (26) from East Meon in Hampshire. The University of West England graduate and her own seven-year-old Irish grey gelding Epona Stables Solo Warrior scored an astounding 79.8% in Prelim 19 to cruise to victory and finish almost 8% ahead of the field. With numbers in the full-bred section amounting to an incredible 36 the class reflected the essence of the Championships showing a wide variety of breeds. Storming to second place with 71.9% was the 18hh Clydesdale gelding Downhill Castleton piloted by Nicola Read. Nicola, from Hertfordshire, balances horses with a career as a Regional Director at TopSpec Equine.
Another eye-catching winner came in the Intro B with Solihull rider Grace Dawson and her own stunning 14h2 Fjord gelding Aram (pictured). Grace was awarded an impressive 77% from class judge Mr. Alexander Gingell for her test with the dun gelding originally from The Netherlands.
In the Novice classes it was the Irish Draught horses that ruled supreme. The highest score at this level was an amazing 78.1% scored by Gary Foggon (39) and his own 5-year-old Part Bred Irish Draught Who’s A Boozer. Northern rider Gary and the talented grey gelding have had a successful year running up to the Championships with many plus 70% scores at Novice level alongside competing in British Eventing 5-year-old classes with several strong results.
The success of the Irish horses continued into the higher levels; both the full-bred and the part-bred sections of the Elementary were won by Irish horses. BYRDS Wales rider Rachel Lade (21) with her own Surprise Addition scored a particularly impressive win in the Part-bred Championship class earning 75.8%. Rachel and the 13-year-old chestnut Irish gelding affectionately known as ‘Barty/Chubs’ are no strangers to success having won the Advanced Medium Bronze at Wellington’s Petplan Equine Area Festival earlier in the Autumn, whilst also being another combination to compete successfully at British Eventing. The Draught Championships however very nearly ended in disaster for Rachel as she found her saddle was broken and travelled to the event with a borrowed one and consequently low expectations! Speaking from her Facebook page Rachel said, ‘Chubs was feeling well up for it, and pulled out 75.78% in E59 to win the part-breds, and overall by over 7%. It was a great new competition put on by British Dressage, and I really enjoyed seeing all the awesome draught horses competing at BD, Chubs was definitely one of the least chubby ones there!’
Adding a touch of celebrity to the day was TV star Martin Clunes who showed up at Keysoe to support his gorgeous six-year-old Clydesdale Bruce with rider Chloe Day (pictured right). Chloe and Bruce finished a creditable 6th in the Full-Bred Prelim with 68.1% respectively.
Summarising the Draught Horse Championships to perfection Martin told the Associated Championships Coordinator Karen Beaumont, ‘what a fantastic idea all these championships are, it makes dressage inclusive and accessible to all.’
The 2016 Champions:
Draught Horse Intro B Full-bred
1st – Grace Dawson with Aram, 77%
Draught Horse Intro B Part-bred
1st – Jessica Stevenson with Royal Celestial Diamond, 56.3%
Draught Horse Prelim 19 Full-bred
1st – Steffi Dampney with Epona Stables Solo Warrior, 79.8%
Draught Horse Prelim 19 Part-bred
1st – Tracey Fleming with Hold The Blues And Twos, 75.6%
Draught Horse Novice Full-bred
1st – Chyna Savage with Indigo Dainty, 71.2%
Draught Horse Novice Part-bred
1st – Gary Foggon with Who’s A Boozer, 78.1%
Draught Horse Elementary Full-bred
1st – Ann Harrison with Grin n Bear It, 66.3%
Draught Horse Elementary Part-bred
1st – Rachel Lade with Surprise Addition, 75.8%
For full results click here
29 March at 12 : 49 PM 0
29 March at 12 : 16 PM 0
28 March at 12 : 18 PM 0
26 March at 12 : 04 PM 0