Sophia Icke wins TriStar Saracen Horse Feeds Grassroots Bursary | An Eventful Life

Sophia Icke wins TriStar Saracen Horse Feeds Grassroots Bursary


Sophia Icke won the inaugural TriStar Saracen Horse Feeds Grassroots Bursary in 2017 and then she went and did it again in 2018 ……

The TriStar Saracen Horse Feeds Grass Roots Bursary is part of the TriStar Eventing Series run across events organised by Bede Events and Musketeer Event Management throughout the British Eventing season.

The Grass Roots Bursary is an accumulator for true amateur riders at BE80T, BE90 and BE100 levels, who have never ridden at Intermediate level or above with points awarded at Oasby 1, Burnham Market International, Whitfield, Berkshire College of Agriculture, Aske Hall, Cholmondeley Castle, Firle Place International, Shelford Manor 1&2, and Burnham Market 2

Sophia fits that brief well, working full time as a Legionella risk assessor for a water treatment company but luckily her job allows her to schedule her own diary. This enables her to fit in riding and competing on her rising 18-year-old chestnut thoroughbred Think Tank Think (also known as Tank which seems appropriate considering Sophia’s job)

Tank, who raced as a four year old, may be getting more sensible as he gets older but is still quite a character

“Luckily Tank can be left un-ridden and he still behaves well” says Sophia “He doesn't take ages to warm up and, for a thoroughbred, he is very sensible and easy going”

Sophia bought him as a five-year-old so they have had nearly thirteen years to get to know each other but it is still a work in progress.

“His dressage used to let him down as he could become tense for no good reason, it was just a habit. As he has got older he is more settled in his tests but, having said that, typically he could do the same standard of test and the judges’ scores would vary vastly ... they either love him or hate him!”

“I am his only rider and therefore I know him inside out. He can be complicated to ride and I think I make him look easier than he is - if I leave the show jumping to him he would never do a clear round!”

They won the 2017 Grassroots Bursary after a very successful year and then emulated it again in 2018, winning on a score of 48 points, way ahead of second placed Isabella Stagg on Quite A Compliment (20 points)

“The 2017 season was better on the whole with 100 % clear show jumping rounds at 21 events! His results on cross country that year were almost the same but a major unexpected blip at the Mitsubishi Cup at Badminton sadly resulted in a retirement”

Having qualified at Shelford Manor (2) for the 2019 Mitsubishi Cup BE100 Championship at Badminton, they are hoping for better things next year " We only missed winning as we were one second further away from the optimum time than the winner of the Regional Final at Shelford (who also happened to also be the 2018 Badminton Mitsubishi Cup winner!)"


      Thumbs up from Sophia at Shelford (2) where they qualified for the 2019 Mitsubishi Cup


“The 2018 season was fairly good despite lots of cancelled events early on in the year due to the weather, but we had some good placings (as well as disappointing scores in the dressage)”

“The TriStar events are good, and these events are ones we usually do anyway, but it was our first time at Cholmondeley Castle. The prize was well worth winning so we made an extra effort to compete there”

It was worth the effort as a fourth place in the BE100 at Cholmondeley Castle, along with ninth place at Firle and second place at Shelford Manor helped them gallop to a strong season finale and be presented with their prizes at Osberton International

Sophia wins a range of prizes including a tonne of Saracen horse feed and a bursary to include three days training in dressage, show jumping and cross country. With her second Bursary win under her belt, she is looking forward to the 2019 season

“Last year’s training went okay” she says “But I’m hoping to get even more out of it this year”

Look out for Sophia and Tank at TriStar Events in 2019 – they’re looking to make it three in a row!