Smith's Lawn Horse Trials

Kathryn and Ian White were both keen amateur eventing riders until Ian was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in February 2008, resulting in his death nine weeks later. In his memory Kathryn set up the annual Ian White Memorial Trophy at Smiths Lawn Horse Trials in Windsor Great Park for amateur owner/riders and we’re delighted that she has provided us with a wrap up from this year’s class


Kathryn White presents Alyson Parker with her trophy for winning the BE100 Ian White Memorial Class


It wasn’t just the weather that was hot at Smiths Lawn Horse Trials this year. The competition was full of thrills and spills in the BE100 Ian White Memorial Class**, with the cross country phase influencing the final result. Only 2.5 penalties separated the top four, as amateur owner riders battled it out for the winner’s trophy.

Also up for grabs was the Willow prize for the best dressage score and the Moose prize for the rider closest to the cross country optimum time, both named after mine and Ian’s event horses.


      Alyson and J J Malone in action over the Smiths Lawn BE100 track on their way to victory


“I dithered about bringing J J Malone, aka Joe, to Smiths Lawn this year given the 90 degrees heat, but it is one of my favourite events,” explains Alyson Parker. Winner of the Ian White Memorial trophy last year, Alyson posted a lovely double clear to defend her title and was delighted with her horse’s performance.

“Joe took the whole thing in his stride, adding just 1.2 time penalties to his 26 dressage. Clever Joe what a star he is!”

However, their victory was a close call. Hot on their heels was fellow Essex-based rider, Shari Butchart, who finished just 0.3 penalties behind her friend. “Alyson and I live just around the corner from each other and have competed together in the riding club and on teams.”


      Shari and Leo flying over showjumps at Brightling Park              Photo courtesy PlanX Media


Shari successfully piloted her 6-year old, Merengo V T Dauwhof, around the cross country track to complete bang on the optimum time, earning them the Moose Trophy as well as second place.

“I am aware of his young age, but he felt so confident here. The ground was really good with the sandy tracks through the wooded areas, so it was so nice to be competitive and go for the time.”

Lucy Edmeades Stearns posted a superb dressage score of 20.5 aboard her 12-year old, Rumpelstiltskin, to win the Willow Prize. Known as Boris to his friends, Lucy bought him as a 5-year old having fallen head over heels.


       Lucy Edmeade Stearns and Boris in action at Tweseldown        Photo courtesy Ultimate Images


“It was definitely love at first sight; my heart led the decision rather than my head,” she explains laughing. “When I first brought him home, he was frightened of his own shadow.”

Their achievement in this phase was made all the more incredible given Boris’s early attempts at dressage. “I took him to his first competition, just 20 minutes down the road from us and he arrived shaking. He still warmed up quite nicely, but as we trotted down the centre line, he suddenly spotted the judge in her box at C, and we never made it past X.”

Despite rolling a poll in the show jumping and collecting a few time penalties across the country, this plucky pair finished a highly respectable fourth place. And, there is a lovely twist to this tale too, because Lucy is based at Nurstead Court, a former British Eventing venue, where I competed Willow, at only my second Novice event.

Congratulations also to Kate Welch and Dicali OHZ, who kept a clean sheet after scoring 29.0 penalties in the dressage to finish in third place. And well done to the event’s organisers as all the riders I spoke to praised the kind cross country course, which offered plenty of shaded areas through the woods and good going.


Essex girls together: Alyson and Shari with their rosettes by the statue of the Prince Consort in Windsor Great Park


** I set up the Ian White Memorial Trophy class, with the help of the Smiths Lawn organiser, Tissie Reason, nine years ago in memory of my husband, Ian. Ian was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in 2008 and died just three months later. He was 41.

We were keen amateur eventers on our horses, Moose and Willow, and I wanted to give something back to the sport we both loved. In particular, I wanted to support amateur riders like us. Every year, this competition is held in the scenic setting of Windsor Great Park, based in the Royal county of Berkshire, where Ian was born and each year we have fabulous sponsors who provide a whole host of wonderful prizes.  This year the sponsors included:

 Former Team GB young rider/junior trainer Gill Watson, Protexin Equine Premium, Equilibrium Trizone, Your Great Mind NLP coaching, Feel Good Forever aloe vera products and Horseshoe Hearts and Gifts.


        Ian and his beloved Moose


Kathryn White, is the writer and author of Life Matters: how grief and horses changed  my life, which describes her and Ian’s eventing adventures and details how Kathryn has rebuilt her life after Ian’s death, with animals playing a pivotal role in her recovery