Land Rover Blair Castle International 2021 - Wrap Up | An Eventful Life

Land Rover Blair Castle International 2021 - Wrap Up



An Eventful Life filmed all competitors on cross country at

Land Rover Blair Castle International 2021 - order or view videos here



Dorset-based Rosie Fry posted the best international result of her career, simultaneously putting her Blair demons to bed, when she claimed the CCI4*L aboard her Aunt Di White-Hamilton's home-bred 10-year-old True Blue Too II.

Lying in ninth place after dressage, the second fastest round across country for 2.8 time penalties propelled the pair to the top of the leaderboard when dressage leaders Nicola Wilson and Erano M added 14.4 time penalties to their first phase score. Tom McEwen and Dream Big were the only combination to make the optimum time of 10:01 minutes.

Nine years ago Rosie went into the showjumping phase at Blair in the lead on another horse, but a dislodged four fences plummeted her down the order. This year all the poles stayed in their cups and Rosie completed with more than a fence in hand over the rest of the field.

“Yesterday, when I found out I was in the lead, I thought 'oh god I've been here before' – but he tried his heart out for me today. After we jumped the first few, I knew he was on form which gave me the confidence I needed. I'm so proud of him, and actually a bit speechless,” said a tearful Rosie immediately after her win. She admitted that showjumping is True Blue Too's weakest phase and the pair has worked hard with Emma Fisher to make improvements.


    A dream come true for Rosie Fry and True Blue Too II at Blair Castle


After their text book cross country performance overnight runners up, Tom McEwen and Dream Big, lowered three rails, dropping to sixth place.

This elevated 19-year-old Alice Casburn and her mother Caroline's homebred Topspin II into the runner up spot, courtesy of a clear showjumping round. Alice was in the enviable position of knowing she was riding a proven showjumper, having previously competed Topspin in pure showjumping classes, including Puissance.

“The bigger the jump, the better he gets and that's a lovely feeling going into the final phase. I knew we'd climb up the order – he loves his jumping, like his grandmother who my mum competed, but I don't think this result has quite sunk in yet.”

Topspin II's grand-dam is Caroline's former advanced mare Spangle and is responsible for Alice: “not quite going to University. Horses are my passion and when I realised how good he was I knew I had to give it a go and University just never happened,” she laughed.

Third place went to accountant Lauren Innes and her own Dutch-bred Global Fision M

“This is my first time here, despite my mother being Scottish, and I've absolutely loved it,” she said. “I'm over the moon with the horse as he really let me ride him today and jumped amazingly.”

Read our report on the CCI4*-S, which completed on Saturday here


   Ros Canter and Izilot DHI




The showjumping phase proved to be influential in the CCI3*-L. Ros Canter took the win with her own and Alex Moody's Izilot DHI after withdrawing her overnight leader, Shannondale Nadia. The mare incurred a minor knock across country and Ros felt she wasn't 100% so chose to save her for another day.

Izilot DHI showjumped clear to complete on his dressage score while Hayden Hankey on his own and Phillipa Heler's Fools In Love's clear round moved them up a place to the runners-up position.

Ros has often spoken about Izilot DHI's talent and this occasion was no exception

“I'm over the moon. He's a talent the likes of which I've never sat on before. He's sharp but his movement and scope is unbelievable. He kept his brain yesterday which was particularly pleasing with so many spectators around.”



Hayden Hankey was equally delighted with his horse, a son of Harlequin Du Carel.

“I came here to solidify the training I've been doing with him and he answered every question. Fools In Love is definitely a 5* horse in the making – he's got all the scope and gallop and is as arrogant as hell, my job is to channel that!”

Poles down for Nicola Wilson (Caunton Well Done), Tom McEwen (Something Special) and Sarah Bullimore (Irish Trump) dropped them out of the top six, whereas a clear round for model turned eventer Edie Campbell and Fireball F elevated them up the leaderboard to third place

“It's my first time here,” she said, “and the journey had been worth it before this result, but now the 10-hour drive back to Northamptonshire will definitely be easier. I'd been warned about the hills so did extra fitness work which paid dividends. This result means Fireball F now has his 4*-L qualification, which was our main goal, so it's been a great weekend all round.”

Rosie Fry enjoyed another great result, finishing fourth on Arise Cavalier, with Douglas Crawford and Shadow Lad fifth, courtesy of clear showjumping rounds.


   Sarah Bullimore and Evita AP - CCI2*-L winners - now qualified for Le Mondial Du Lion




Sarah Bullimore and Evita AP led from pillar to post in the CCI2*-L. The seven-year-old mare, who finished on her dressage score, is owned by Sarah's husband Brett and the Seahorse Syndicate. The mare was bought as an in foal three-year-old from Brightwells. Sarah says that she is very similar to her 5* ride Conpierre – they share the same sire, Con Air – but bigger and chunkier than she would normally go for.

“She's been amazing,” said Sarah. “This was our last chance to qualify for Le Mondial du Lion [the World Young Horse Championships at Le Lion d'Angers, France, in October] so I did feel the pressure. It's very special to have led throughout the competition.”

Having missed part of the season due to Evita having a leg infection, Sarah only entered Blair the Monday before: “I have upset entries secretaries everywhere, changing all my plans!” she admitted.



Northallerton-based Lucinda Atkinson was overcome with emotion at finishing second and fourth aboard KGB Sandro and Dancing Revolution, both owned by Jane Crossley and both finishing on their dressage scores – the highest placings at international level of Lucinda's career.

“This is KGB Sandro's first proper season of eventing – he started the year at BE100,” said Lucinda. “His dressage and cross-country are phenomenal, but he has struggled with the showjumping – I think this is the first clear round he has jumped all season. His stable-name is 'Profit' – I'd planned to produce and sell him – but we are having a great time and I'm excited about his future.

Lucinda only took over the ride on Dancing Revolution 10 days earlier when regular jockey Martha Todd was unable to compete at Blair: “Martha's done all the hard work,” she said.

Tom McEwen slotted in to third place with Fred and Penny Barker's MHS Brown Jack, a half brother to Oliver Townend's five-star ride MHS King Joules, also qualifying for the seven-year-old championship at Le Lion.

“He led the six-year-old championships last year but had two fences down. He's jumped really well here and coped with the hills brilliantly, so hopefully we can go back to Le Lion and go five places better!” said Tom.


   "Winning is magical"  Katie Magee and Fairfield Mollymac



There were changes at the top of the leaderboard in section E of the CCI1* when overnight leaders Sarah Clark and Secret Affaer VII retired on the cross country course. A clear round inside the time enabled Katie Magee and Fairfield Mollymac to leapfrog ahead of Kyla Grieve and HHS Fort Worth when the pair picked up 3.6 time penalties, and dropped to third place. Amy Wybergh’s clean sheet across country moved Ooda Loop up in to the runner up spot.

Katie, who is based in Barnard Castle, said: “It’s amazing to be here – it’s one of my favourite places. Winning is pretty magical.” Fairfield Mollymac has been with Katie for three years, and she describes her as having been very easy to produce, and a ‘sweet, cuddly mare’.”

In section F, Charlotte Cooke and Midnight Dancer II stayed where they had been throughout the competition, in first place. The top seven placed riders all completed on their dressage scores, Maisy Spratt riding Sycamore Lad taking second place and Lucy Bagueley with the Connemara Stallion Glencarrig Dolphin third.

Midnight Dancer is a past Team GB pony gold medallist, having been competed by siblings Finn and Ellie Healy. He was Charlotte’s Christmas present last year, and her goal is to make it onto the pony team for the Europeans in Poland next year.

“It’s my first time at Blair,” said Essex based Charlotte. “It’s been absolutely brilliant, especially with all the sponsorship from Land Rover. ‘Casper’ was on fire cross country!”


   The CCI1* Sec F Podium: (L-R) Lucy Bagueley, Charlotte Cooke and Maisy Spratt


Scottish Grassroots Eventing Festival


Scottish BE100Open

Aberdeenshire based Amy Marshall made it three wins on the trot with Bogton Juniper when taking the closely contested Scottish BE100 Championship. Hard on Amy’s heels was Lara Bayley Kerr on Far N Away.

“I really just came here wanting to complete,” said Amy. “This is only my fifth BE100, but we won the previous two so decided to give it a go, rather than do the BE90. The mare can be pretty sassy but didn’t put a foot wrong here. I’m over the moon.”


The BE100 Scottish Grassroots Championships Podium. L-R: Hannah Broadhurst (3rd), Amy Marshall (winner), Lara Bayley Kerr (2nd)


Scottish BE90 Open

A dressage score completion moved Gillian Edward and Benny Station up from third after dressage to Scottish BE90Open Champions. In 2019 the pair finished the event in third place. Meanwhile Persia Bhatia climbed three places to fill the runner up spot riding Aughnacliffe Gem – a good improvement on their 10th place finish in 2019.

“We’ve had Benny since he was a five-year-old and he’s now 14,” Gillian explained. “My daughter used to compete him but I took over about five years ago when she went to University. He loves his cross-country, it’s usually the showjumping that is my downfall but I’m thrilled I got it right this time.”

Gillian, who has five-and-a-half horses at home (the half being Shetland pony Dougal) teaches riding so should have suitably impressed her students with this result.

Article by Hilary Manners

The BE90 Scottish Grassroots Championships Podium. L-R: Rebecca Robb (3rd), Gillian Edward (winner), Persia Bhatia (2nd)