Ben Hobday on form at Belsay 2019


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Belsay Castle and Gardens was the setting for a slightly damp Belsay Horse Trials held on June 1st and 2nd with the two days of competition covering Intermediate through to BE90 Sections.

The damp weather didn’t put competitors off and it was a busy two days, continuing Belsay’s trajectory having grown year on year since 2013 when owners Peter and Laura de Wesselow began running the event. Not resting on their laurels, the pair have continued to work hard to put on an excellent event that delivers a return for sponsors, an entertaining day out for spectators, and a suitably testing track for competitors, including becoming an International event next year…

But this year competition commenced on Saturday and saw Intermediate, Novice, and BE100 competitions.

It was a particularly successful day for Charlotte Parry-Ashcroft who took victory in Section A of the Novice on Sian Davies-Cooke’s Harthill Storm and in the Novice Regional Finals with her own Wil Jack B King.

Charlotte took the ride on the 16.1 dark bay, Storm, from owner Sian after the latter sustained an injury. “I hope I can keep him!” she told us. The pair finished the Novice Section A on a score of 34.3 after adding four faults in the show jumping and two cross country time faults to an impressive dressage score of 28.3.

The other win came on her own, 16.2hh Bright Bay Irish Sport Horse, Wil Jack B King (Jack). Charlotte has had Jack for three years having brought him on from a four-year-old, is aiming him at Blair 3* and says that “He’s the nicest horse I’ve ever sat on.” The pair certainly impressed at Belsay, with a clear cross country inside the time and just adding a show jumping time fault to her dressage score of 33.2 to finish on 34.2.

Another rider enjoying a lot of success over the weekend was Ben Hobday, with a win in the Open Intermediate Section G on Shadow Man II and a second place in Section D on Mile High on the Saturday, then going on to take both second and third in Novice Section R on the Sunday with two double clears on Iron Man III and I Am Loma respectively.

Ben bought the now nine-year-old Shadow Man as a two-year-old and this was a prep run for Bramham this weekend.



“He went really well” Ben said “He did a lovely test, show jumped really well and stormed round the cross country. And so far as the event goes, it was a great event. Laura de Wesselow always puts on a great event.” There was no time for a break as Ben was packing up the lorry ready to make the trip a little further south to Bramham International

Other winners on the Saturday were James Adams riding Bejewel in the Novice Section B, Brianna Tweddall on Lisboy Buachaill in the Open Novice Under 18s, Wills Oakden on his own Cracker Jack II in Section D, Alexandra Farrar-Fry on Santiago S in Intermediate Section F, Connie Gill on Florida II in the Open Intermediate Under 21s, with Oliva Graham on a Tale of Two Shivers, Sarah Hislop on Caheradoo Emma, and Natasha Burrows on Midnight Revolution taking the wins in the three BE100 sections of the day.

Sunday saw three BE90 sections with all three winners clocking up double clears to finish on their dressage scores. Laura Fenwick took Section L on Rustenberg Diamond with a score of 24 and in Section M Pietro De Marchi added nothing to his 24.8 in the dressage on Legal Graffiti



Stephen Rankin on his own Cooley Empire took Section N with a double clear finishing on a score of 25.8. Stephen has had the 18hh chestnut for a year; James Taylor his instructor had told him the horse would do well despite him being slightly sensitive but “Everything came together today; he did a beautiful test”

There were three BE100 sections on Sunday, with Emma Hobday and Shadow Star Quality taking Section O, Holly Richardson on her own Ipache winning Section P and Mark Jackson and Linnel Dance Again taking the win in Section Q.

The final Novice Section R was won by Steven Smith on Imposant with Ben Hobday taking both second and third in the same class.

Next year’s event will be held over the same weekend with Belsay 2020 going international, hosting the Pony Championships and a 2* short format. Organiser, Laura de Wesselow is no stranger to the Pony Champs as her daughter Xanthe, has competed there for the last four years clocking up a double clear and sixth place this year!

Laura’s background as a parent means she has the understanding and know-how to put on a great event; with the experience for the young competitors being a top priority.

“I want to give the kids something special here at Belsay” she says “These kids are competing at a time when many of them are under a lot of pressure completing GCSEs. Thanks to our sponsors we will have some fantastic prizes including a Voltaire saddle” They are also planning to provide top class amenities over the weekend including hook up and a competitor marquee.

So, lots to look forward to next year with an even bigger event with first-rate facilities and a top-class field competing for some fantastic prizes!

Article by Helena Barras