Swalcliffe Park Horse Trials 2020 wrap up | An Eventful Life

Swalcliffe Park Horse Trials 2020 wrap up



An Eventful Life filmed all competitors on cross country at

Swalcliffe Park 2020 - order or view videos here


What a difference a few days make. Amid cancellations due to weather and coronavirus fears, Swalcliffe Park Horse Trials enjoyed a successful weekend on 14th and 15th March, but it may be the last event we will visit for quite a while.

The Saturday was chilly but bright, and the ground was excellent. Sunday, on the other hand, was a true test of our dedication to our sport, and the organising team deserve a round of applause for their unbelievably positive attitude as the rain came down and the mud started to show.

The weekend kicked off with the BE90 sections, the first of which was won by Laura Hanson on Bonnie Release The Stars, owned by Anna Johnson.

“The horse I won on is a Section D Welsh Cob, homebred by Anna and Paul Johnson. He has been to the Mitsubushi Motors Cup twice and he loves his job; I also ride his sister at BE100 level” Laura told us “I ride for Andrew Downes and have done for over 10 years. I now have a few horses competing from 90 - 2* level. I went to France last November to Le Pouget and did the 2* with my own horse which was a great experience and I am really looking forward to another good year of eventing” (fingers crossed there Laura)

Lisa Baker won Section B on her horse of a lifetime, Spirit of the Irish Clover, known as Malibu at home.



“I am over the moon with the best start to the 2020 season I could’ve wished for, especially after having my last two events of last season cancelled! I bought her from Ireland and all she had done was two days hunting, so we had to start right from the beginning. I am so proud of our journey and I hope we have many more happy successful seasons”

Laura, who events as a hobby and works as a freelance groom, is supported at events by ‘my wonderful unpaid groom Mum (Marie)’ and is aiming for the Science Supplements Cup at Badminton after getting the hang of the sport

“At our first ever event we got eliminated in the dressage for jumping out of the arena, I was allowed to carry on HC and fell off on the cross country course?! Somehow I wasn’t put off and we are now in our seventh season and finally all our hard work and perseverance are paying off”

The last three BE90 sections of the weekend were won by Amelia Walker on Dassett Eventing’s Ballinaguilkey Richie, Sophia Marston on her own MGH April, and Niamh Warburton on Wil Celtic Gumdrop, owned by Ali Butler.



Next it was the turn of the BE100 riders, with Samantha Firth winning Section F on her own FLY BOY II, also known as Ollie.

“I bought Ollie as a very green six-year-old, thinking he might just take me round some riding club 90’s, but every time he exceeded all expectations and ended up doing BE100. We have qualified for Badminton grassroots, which has taken us three years, but with everything going on regarding the coronavirus we’ll wait and see what happens. We’re hoping we don’t lose our qualification”

“I usually try and make my first event Swalcliffe as it’s a very friendly event and for an early season run the ground held up well.”

“Let’s face it Ollie and I are in it for the jumping, but the dressage comes with it. We have been working really hard all winter with lots of dressage training, so we were thrilled to have found out that we managed a PB at this level of 27 to be joint second after dressage.”

“I had a couple of ‘sack the jockey’ moments in the show jumping, at which point Ollie took over and said ‘Look, I got this mum’ and sorted us out with a clear show jumping round”

“Ollie couldn’t quite contain his excitement in the start box and after the countdown, he was FLYING. He absolutely flew round the cross country course, to be clear inside the time leaving us on our dressage score of 27. I was over the moon as it was our first time to win a BE event.”

“I would really like to say thanks to Newbridge Straw Products for sponsoring the section and I’m really looking forward to receiving my 36 bales of bedding, An Eventful Life for their professional video that I look forward to receiving and Swalcliffe for a rug and other amazing prizes and a great day out.”

Gemma Tattersall won Section G on Linda Allan’s Johan-Some, and Max Warburton won Section H on Grand Cru E, owned by Lauren Stanley.

“I’ve Just moved to a new yard near Didcot and am building up lovely string of horses” said Max, who is part of the Windrush Equestrian Foundation mentored and trained by Pippa Funnell “I’ve found her training invaluable and all my horses have improved massively. Grand Cru E, or Gary as he’s known at home, is a lovely little horse that came into be sold and luckily I persuaded his owners to keep him a bit longer to event. He will have to find his new jockey soon though.”



Georgie Strang won Section I on Rock Anthem, owned and bred by Meriel Rowson.

“The weather was pretty horrific but we were just so grateful to get a run, especially now everything is cancelled”

The BE100 Open Section J was won by Julia Fairbank on her own Shannondale Sonoma and Daisy Amin won the under 18 Section K on Union Fortunas, last year’s winner of the Young Rider Championship with Phoebe Locke, now owned by Daisy and Kate and Alan Powell.

Recruitment and Human Resources Manager Clare Bosley took the win in the BE100 Regional Final on her own 15-year-old Tremeer, that she has owned since a four-year-old



“I am absolutely thrilled to win. She was so relaxed in testing conditions when we had torrential rain and it was really windy. Her dressage has been a bit excitable at events for the last two years as she knows that the show jumping and cross country are coming, but this year she has suddenly really chilled and scored her best ever score of 20.3”

“The ground for show jumping and cross country was getting a bit sloppy, but she jumped amazingly to be double clear in both and it was a great track but quite twisty. I was just hoping to scrape a qualification slot, never dreamt we would win.”

“Tremeer was bred by Preci Horses, sired by Fleetwater Opposition, and is my only horse as I lost my old mare last year. We enjoy doing unaffiliated dressage and have started doing some Elementary tests which are fun; she has a wonderful character, a mare’s attitude but loves her job and she is so brave. We have a great partnership and lots of trust. She is a horse of a lifetime.”

The final BE100 section was won by Sam Gillespie on GFS Moonlight Echo, owned by Jackie Lançon and the two BE80 sections were won by Megan Elphick on her own Jamelia (watch Megan’s vlog of her day here) and Zoe Symes on Glen Carter, owned by Alexis Symes.

Article by Jess Johnson