Hosted by White Horse TREC Group and held in the north of England for the first time, the 2018 TREC GB Level 1 Championships were hailed a great success by everyone who attended. The brilliant partnership of Paula and Peter Bean sourced the ideal venue of MBF Liveries at Hamley Hagg, Appleton-le-Moors in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. They then enlisted Katie Morgan as the traceur to set the POR, and Dave Rogerson as Technical Delegate. Months of hard work followed for the volunteer organising team. Katie walked many miles of potential POR routes in some of the worst winter weather we have seen for decades. Yes there was lots of mud! Dave somehow managed to find time in his already busy schedule between managing the GB International riders and representing our region on the TREC GB Board of Trustees. Peter and Paula gave up many days and evenings (and possibly some sleep too) to make sure the competition was planned down to every detail. Peter designed an interesting but still appropriate Level 1 PTV course, and Paula recruited an army of helpers and judges. All this happened behind the scenes, while enthusiastic riders attempted to qualify from April to August for a place at the Championships.
After an endless summer of drought like conditions, 45 riders made their way from Scotland, Kent, the Isle of Man and of course Yorkshire to compete for the title of Level 1 Champions. They were greeted with comfortably mild conditions, and a huge corralling field of green green grass. Yes it does rain sometimes up north, that’s what makes the grass grow! All the horses passed the vetting under the watchful eye of Lynne Mabbitt, who generously donated her fee to the GB International riders.
Riders were then treated to a delicious meal of chilli cooked by the squad members,. The fundraising efforts of the senior and young riders over the weekend raised a staggering thousand pounds towards the cost of transporting the team to Rome for the World Championships. This was followed by a Pimms reception. The party was held to mark WHTG’s 15th birthday, an appropriate location as the club is named after the Kilburn White Horse beside Sutton Bank and close to where founder member Katie Morgan lives.
Saturday morning dawned dry with a light breeze, ideal riding conditions for the POR. The route included what became known as a ‘troll bridge’, with several tickets and cleverly placed checkpoints to test the riders. The beautiful village of Sinnington and it’s riverside bridlepath showed off the area at it’s best. A good canter back towards Appleton-le-Moors was captured on camera by Ruth Saunby of Indiepics, before riders explored the official and unofficial routes around the quarry on the way to the finish. After a delicious meal cooked by the local Moors Inn and served by the organising team, the POR scores were announced. WHTG member Sarah Appleby had the highest POR score across all classes, a well deserved 221. Pip Thornton was just behind on 219 also in the Intermediate class, a score matched by the Open pair of Kirsty Collinson and Rachel Glossop. All four riders are members of the hosting club and had clearly prepared well for the challenging course.
After a damp start the rain cleared to blue skies on Sunday morning, with all horses presented and passed by the vet. Not all the riders were totally sound, and Duncan North was apparently sporting some impressive bruises from an unscheduled dismount before the POR began. However he along with pair Emma Wood showed real grit to complete the competition despite this less than perfect start. The MA track was straight and level, despite this some horses found the cross country fences nearby too much of a distraction and tested their riders to the full. Leader of this phase was Vicky Rothwell with a very impressive 52 points. Vicky rode in the Open pairs with her daughter Molly who was tackling the event on her new horse.
The PTV course made great use of the natural hills and obstacles on the cross country course. Many judges were heard to say they would like to have ridden it themselves! Peter Bean’s course produced many impressive performances, none more so than the 152 points achieved by WHTG committee member Marie Spillane on her inexperienced grey Stevie. Kirsty Collinson and her Dales pony Buzz scored 149 PTV and 42 MA, to help keep her and partner Rachel Glossop, riding her novice horse Bobe, ahead of the Rothwells to win the Open pairs. Manx riders Gillian Newey and Paula Dowson overcame a nightmare journey from the Irish Sea to enjoy a fun weekend with some memorable photos on the PTV course. Judith Fisher and her coloured mare Little Miss Satisfaction chose Yorkshire and the Level 1 Open class over the Level 2 on Exmoor next month. Their loyalty was repaid by an excellent second to Marie in the Open class with a smooth performance on Sunday’s phases. In the Intermediate class Lizzie Murdoch scored an emotional victory with her attractive little bay Cherrys Pip. Just a month ago the pony was seriously ill and Lizzie was preparing herself for the worst. However with the support of Lizzie and others Pip came back to full health and helped his proud mum to a clear cut win. Pip Thornton had also had horse problems leading up to the event, and almost managed to hold off the strong challenge of Vicky Waller and her warmblood mare Grange Kaliko. Vicky was kicking herself for a rare navigating mistake, but Kal was on her best behaviour on Sunday to lift the duo into 2nd place. The Newcomer pairing of Louise Wadding and Rebecca Westwood kept yet another trophy in Yorkshire with their good POR score making all the difference. Bea Boreham made the trip from the South East worthwhile by taking home the Newcomers Individual shield, kindly sponsored by Kathryn Rollinson of North Yorkshire TREC Training. Finally the Veteran class for horses aged 20 plus was very competitive, with Jane Chivers and Alice just beating Liz Payne and Jalaris by two points. The team competition sponsored by Fiona Thurnell was won by the Yorkshire Roses, made up of the top two pairs from the Open pairs class Kirsty, Rachel, Vicky and Molly who all did WHTG proud.
The riders showed their appreciation for a fantastic weekend of competition by staying on for the prize giving, with trophies and rosettes handed out by Steve Beresford of Performance Equestrian who had generously sponsored vouchers. Many appreciative thanks yous were given, for the judges and helpers, Bernard and Diane Feaster for the wonderful venue, the landowners on the POR routes, scorers Amy and Sarah, the GB squad for the catering, SEIB and Emerald Green for goody bags and of course Katie, Dave, Peter and Paula for their incredible contribution. If Carlsberg did Championships, they would probably ask White Horse TREC Group to run them. Congratulations to everyone involved.
Full results HERE