The Army Showjumping team pushed the end of the shortened Army Team season to the limit for the last outing of 2020 braving torrential rain and gail force winds at Arena UK Show Centre last weekend. Despite 4 nights of ‘field conditions’ in knee high mud and sleeping in unheated horse boxes, the team finished on a high achieving so much more than we thought we would have the opportunity for this year.
LBdr Christie Farren (The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery) and Millie came out fresh and keen, stepping up to Foxhunter classes for the first time. A couple of inexperienced poles but a double clear and a 4th in the newcomers showed this combination are more than capable of stepping up to this level.
Sgt Louise Hoyle (Army Welfare Service) was the star of the show and unbeatable all week, with 4 double clears, top 10 finishes in every class she jumped and a win in the discovery. Having only recently stepped up to newcomers, this is going to be a very exciting combination to watch in 2021.
CoH Andrew Mancey (Defence Animal Centre) jumped a great round in the newcomers with his Military Working Horse Paadeburg, consolidating the confidence and ability they have shown this year and looking forward to 2021.
Captain Zoe Andrew (Royal Corps of Signals) gained more experience and confidence establishing the partnership in the Foxhunter classes, having recently stepped up to this level. The courses are big and technical at this level and certainly not for the faint hearted. Another exciting combination for 2021.
Major Nicola Rush (Army Medical Services) had some consistent rounds in the British Novice and Discovery achieving more double clears in preparation for next years second rounds. With another year to mature for this big horse, a bit of a holiday now and then ready to get going again at the start of 2021.
A great show all round and very well run the team at Arena UK despite very challenging condition. It may have been a short consolidated season over the last 3 months but all Army Team Riders have achieved so much more than we all expected, raising the standard to even higher than a team of Army riders have consistently achieved before. 2020 has had some silver linings, initial COVID lockdown was a chance for Army riders and horses to consolidate the ground work; fitness, strength and conditioning, core stability, flexibility, balance, control and the results speak for themselves.
Preparations and planning for 2021 are underway….whilst horses are now enjoying a few weeks holiday.