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Area 12 Riding Club Showjumping

Witheridge make it two in a row

Witheridge Riding club delighted their followers and supporters by repeating their 2001 victory in the Senior team novice competition, finishing on a clean sheet and once more qualifying for the indoor championships, this year to be held at Hartpury College, Glos
Brent Knoll riding club were once again the organisers of this popular competition, which was kindly sponsored by Natural Animal Feeds. The Hand Stadium, which always proves a popular venue amongst competitors, hosted the event for the third consecutive year and complete with a brand new set of showjumps, managed to present two testing courses which reduced the field of twenty teams to just five for the jump off.

The second round course thinned out the field considerably with the last fence causing the most trouble. Approached off of a corner and heading away from the entrance, it caught out many experienced combinations and was quickly recognised as the bogey fence.
The five teams to reach the jump off were, South Wilts, Witheridge, Woodspring A, Brent Knoll and Quantock green. South Wilts, trailblazers from the start, finally ended their clean run with the first three riders, Emma Hunter, Mads Southey and Donna Boyd each collecting four faults, Emma and her eye catching coloured horse Cheeko recording the fastest time of 40.48. Rowena Gooch was unfortunately eliminated on Musketeer for two stops, so South Wilts ended the day on twelve faults with an otherwise good aggregate time of 133.96.

Witheridge, last years winners and current novice outdoor cup holders from Malvern, went next with their first rider, Lisa Kempshead, landing the second fastest time of the competition but receiving a very unlucky four faults along the way. Sarah Midwinter set out with a steady clear in mind and she achieved this in style with the impressive American Black, keeping Witheridge hopes alive. Team mates, Lois Avery-Wright and Rebecca Robins both decided to opt for a fast time, which they got, just over a second separating them both. Next was the Woodspring riding club who summed up the spirit of the competition with a large number of supporters cheering them on. They started their championship campaign with Sarah Reeves on the versatile cob Harleys Comet. The pair completed a lovely clear round with a competitive time, giving Woodspring a great start. Sarah Urch was next with a good time but unfortunately two fences down which meant the pressure was on for the final two members. Mandy Berry duly obliged with a clear but there was a heart stopping moment when she was eliminated for not passing through the time beam at the close of her round. Joe Bragg, the teams and infact the jump offs only male competitor went for time and achieved some very good turns, unfortunately taking one fence down leaving woodspring on a score of twelve. The hosts, Brent Knoll riding club did not have the best of luck with their first rider Kim Hill eliminated because of a fall. Caroline Cavill eased the situation temporarily with a clear but things did not improve when Cara Tyer posted the fastest time of the day but took two fences with her. Last member Rachel Frost recorded four faults with her horse Cyril. Witheridge were still sitting pretty with only one team left that could beat them, Quantock Green. Denise West and Lynn Arnold gave witheridge supporters some cause for concern, both with fast clears. Lucy Tarr had one fence down on Zamomy, leaving the deciding round to Liz Schaad and Little Dancer whose eight faults sealed Witheridges victory. This was an extra special result for Witheridge team member Lisa Kempshead whose fantastic little horse, Avalon Bizarre is now for sale and so will probably not be with her for next year's qualifier. Praise must be given to the wonderful organising team as well as judges and stewards for putting on a first class qualifier which might never have happened due to extreme weather conditions in the previous weeks. Second placed Quantock Green will join them at Hartpury for the championships so good luck to both teams.

By Natalie Simmons

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