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Yarm sweep board.

Byline: By Neil B Jones

A six-member Yarm and District Saddle Club riding contingency, competing in the British Riding Club's Area 2 Horse Trials Qualifiers at Hedley West Farm, swept the board.

They took both Open and Novice team qualifying places for the Offchurch, Warwickshire national final on August 5-7.

This year Area 2 Team and Individual riders competed alongside Area 4 (Yorkshire) contenders in a parallel qualifying competition after loosing their own cross-country course near Helmsley.

Area 2 organiser Hilary McKenna, who was behind the last minute rescue mission, said: "We invited Area 4 to take part alongside our own qualifier so that their riding members would not miss out qualifying for the Offchurch final."

The reaction from those clubs travelling from places such as Driffield and Todmorden was favourable, particularly towards a re-vamped cross-country course built by John Swinburn.

Hilary added: "It was the opinion from Area 2 Riding Clubs that a more testing x/c course was required and it was subsequently built up to height and standard reflecting the Offchurch course."

Last year's area Open team runners-up Yarm, led this time by Chairperson Chris Rogers, herself a novice club team member, cleverly split their resourses between six riders and eight horses.

Chris's horse Kester, a home-bred 16.2hh 15-year-old TB bay gelding which she often schools on Saltburn beach, finished on their dressage score.

Novice team-mate Suzi Jennison, an Open Individual area qualifier on Mable last year, was not so lucky.

Riding her own 16.2hh six-year-old TB bay gelding St Elmo's Fire, bought from Julie Robinson two years ago, Suzi completed an excellent dressage test only to have a fall on the x/c course.

Two open and novice horse Yarm members Carrie Prest and newcomer Laura Hemsworth made more than a valuable contribution towards qualification. A former Whitby RC member, Laura's British Eventing 13-point Novice ride Cairn Dhu ( an 11-year-old chestnut gelding ex-race horse bought at Doncaster Sales ( completed the three phase competition with 11 added jumping penalties to her dressage mark.

Completing the x/c phase 15 seconds under the optimum time, she said: "I thought the Open course was very small and not enough to prepare horses for the championship."

Carrie and her Open horse Miles Above ( a 16.1hh 12-year-old chesnut gelding ( produced the best team dressage test.

"They completed the day with only one show jump pole down and two added x/c time penalties and second Individual place."

A single open individual qualifying place was easily picked up by Stocksfield rider Tracey Kibler on her BE novice ride Hindley Camargue ( producing the best dressage test and only 2.4 x/c time penalties to add.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 2, 2005
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