Aston-Le-Walls (1) wrap up | An Eventful Life

Aston-Le-Walls (1) wrap up

      World Number One Oliver Townend starts his season at Aston-Le-Walls (1), winning on Sligo Candyman


We kicked off the official British Eventing season at Aston-Le-Walls Equestrian Centre for the first of their several official events scheduled for this year.

The top two British riders of 2018 – Oliver Townend and Izzy Taylor - were at their first event of the season and both took home wins. Izzy won the BE100 Sat Section C riding Mrs Yeats while Oliver, riding a mere three horses (a relaxing day for this busy man) on Saturday took two wins in the BE100 on Sligo Candyman in the Section F, winning on a score of 25.3 ahead of Australia’s Kevin McNab riding Ivian II (29.3), and Nelson De La Pomme (31.80) taking the Section G

Sarah Bullimore and her six-year-old home bred mare Coroyale took second place in the Section G on a score of 34. This is the half-sister to Corouet, Sarah’s British Eventing 7-Year-Old Champion at Osberton last year; both horses are out of Sarah’s 4* mare Lilly Corinne but Corouet is by Balou Du Rouet and Coroyale is by Royaldik and is another very exciting prospect for the future for Sarah.

Kevin McNab also took ninth place in this class on Ballycapple Whisper but he scooped the top prize in the BE100 Sat Section H riding Fortune III with a score of 26.3.

“Aston was a great start to the year. The horses were all really good” Kevin told us “Fortune III is a six-year-old that Francesca Pollara sourced out of Germany and he is a lovely blood type, really athletic. We have had him for just over 12 months now. He's has just enough spark to his personality to hopefully one day be an exciting one. He is lovely on the flat and super athletic on cross country”


      Bill Levett 'still loving it' on Shannondale Jedi


Another Australian had a good day at the office with Bill Levett, starting his 25th season of eventing in Britain and ‘still loving it!’, taking ten horses to Aston as part of a family outing! Bill finished fourth in the BE100 Open Sat Section A on his new ride Shannondale Jedi, a 6-year-old bay gelding, bought by Bill’s wife Jenny at the Monart Sale in 2016

Jedi, by Shannondale Sarco out of a Cougar mare, was backed and slowly brought on during 2017 by Jenny and Bill and will now continue to learn his trade without being under any pressure

“Jenny loves him to bits and is planning him for the kids in the future if they maintain their enthusiasm!” says Bill on his blog

Jenny had some fun of her own the weekend, riding the 14-year-old roan Athleet V that Bill previously competed at 3* level, now enjoying a steady canter around cross country at BE90, thanks to his owners, the Prentice family. Another of their well-known semi-retired horses, Ballymore Rich Cat, who was competed at Advanced level by Bill, was ridden by Bill’s son Josh at Aston on Saturday, finishing in 13th place in the BE100 Open Section A.

Josh rounded out the Levett family results in this class with 27th place on Rathmoyle King, another past star of Bill’s stable, now 21 years young and kindly loaned to Josh by Carolyn Ryan Bell. It is so nice to hear how these older horses can continue to enjoy their careers, thanks to their owners’ generosity and the enthusiasm of young riders!


      Young Josh Levett and the veteran Rathmoyle King


Alexandra Farrar-Fry won the BE100 Open Section A riding Grey Finnsky (Boots) who she has brought on from a four year old. They came to prominence in 2015 as the winners of the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots BE100 Championship and have gone onwards from there; last year they completed their first Advanced and made it to the 8/9 YO Championships at Blenheim where things didn’t quite go as planned so Alexandra went back to the drawing board with great results

“Blenheim didn't go to plan as he started running out to the left, we had saddle issues, strong horse issues, we knew he wanted to do it but sometimes his ‘excitable, let me at it’ head took over and he forgot I was the one who had walked the courses!”

“Over the winter we have started training with Caroline Moore for jumping and Ian Woodhead for dressage and it has been a massive change for both myself and my horses. This event for all my horses was purely to see if we could put everything we have learnt into practise and we did it! New techniques of longer reins on a strong forward going horse is a terrifying one but it really does work. The dressage was the best we've ever done, from the minute I got on I was like a different rider with a purpose to warm my horse up as we do in training. This is all thanks to Ian Woodhead for giving me the confidence in myself, my ability and my horses. It was an amazing feeling!”

“In the show jumping we were again just trying to put into practise what Caroline has been training us to do - it all went to plan and even if we hadn't have jumped clear I would still have been thrilled because we had improved so much. Boots had some nerves and excitement all rolling into one for the cross country and could hardly contain himself, but I used all my dressage techniques to get him really focusing on me and I tried my best to keep the longer reins.  We set off with no thought other than to try all the things we had been learning and hope that Boots had gained his confidence back through the winter training and would happily take on the skinnies and corner on course. There was never a doubt he was jumping everything first time!”

“To win was the icing on the cake, my first event of 2019. My priority now for Boots is to keep building on this and get back to Novice/Intermediate and onto the 3* and 4*. I cannot wait as he has all the ability and I now have the tools and such wonderful people behind me to help”


Back to BE100, when they were Badminton champions, for Alex and Grey Finnsky rebuilding towards 3*/4*


Becky Woolven, well known as the rider of the striking Charlton Down Riverdance, won the BE100 Open Section E on the much smaller Bright Bramble who she was ‘thrilled’ with

“She’s owned by Nicky & Robin Salmon and myself and she’s huge amounts of fun because she’s a really “game” little mare (about 15.2)” Becky told us “Nicky bred her out of a little sports pony cross thoroughbred mare that I used to ride and she’s by a New Forest so she’s clever and gutsy with a bit of blood! We’ve been working on her dressage so were pleased with her test and she jumped beautifully”

“She did some Novices last season so her next run will be the Novice at Gatcombe. The conditions at Aston were pretty good - it’s always a real treat to do the first two phases on a surface, particularly at this time of year!”


      Becky Woolven and Bright Bramble


Despite the approach of Storm Freya which made conditions a little less pleasant on Sunday when the BE90 and BE80T competitors took to the venue, the weather could have been worse over the weekend and on Monday the Unaffiliated classes took their turn

Congratulations to all winners but particularly our XC Video winners whose videos are coming up soon on the links below


BE100 Open Section A: Alexandra Farrar-Fry and Grey Finnsky

BE100 Section B: Nini French and Lady Harlem

BE100 Section H: Kevin McNab and Fortune III



BE90 Open Section I: Lizzie Baugh and The Spice Merchant

BE90 Section J: Lizzie Forbes and Rosie XIII

BE80T Section N: Skye Pleydell-Bouverie and Rough Terrain



Intro 90cm Section B: Amy O’Connor and Stig

Pre-Novice Section F: Hector Payne and Cleo

Novice Section G: Oda Lippestad and Ronnie II