Three days at Oasby (1) 2019 | An Eventful Life

Three days at Oasby (1) 2019

      Piggy French and Brookfield Inocent


An Eventful Life filmed all competitors on cross country at Oasby (1) - order or view videos here


In 2018 three names dominated the results at Oasby (1) and nothing much changed in 2019 with Piggy French, Oliver Townend and Izzy Taylor bringing plenty of horses and going home with plenty of ribbons. But it was Piggy who amassed the greatest number of wins, taking three classes, the Open Intermediate H, the Novice A and the Open Novice C

We first met the handsome gelding Calling Card in 2017 when he was ridden by Ireland’s Aoife Clarke and they finished second in the CIC Young Horse 2* class at Osberton International. Piggy has taken over the ride on the nine-year-old gelding this year and they started well with a fourth place in the Open Novice at Isleham and now a win at Oasby, finishing on their very good dressage score of 21.8, several points ahead of Oliver Townend on the experienced Cillnabradden Evo (27.3) and Imogen Murray on Ivar Gooden (29.1).

To round it out, Piggy took fourth place on Graf Cavalier, making it, Piggy says “A super event for all of Team French. My horses all went well with wins for Jayne McGivern’s Calling Card in the Open Intermediate, Trevor Dickens’ Carolines Air KM in the Novice and Sue Paybody’s Castletown Clover in the Open Novice” 

“Calling Card (now called Ace at home) is a really cool horse. He was an exciting addition to my string over the winter and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season with him. We know he’s competitive in the dressage so it’s just a case of learning about him and getting together as a combination before we try some bigger things later in the year” 

“It was also nice to have Vanir Kamira back in action and she felt in great form. She had a steady run round the Open Intermediate as she likes going fast and I just need to get her to Badminton nice and settled as we know she can go the speed and distance at 5* level already”

Team French also includes New Zealand’s Hannah Norville, ‘a really important member of the Team as she rides most of mine when I'm not around’ who was third on her own horse Magic Roundabout in the Intermediate Section K, and Ireland’s Susie Berry

“Susie, a young Irish rider based with me, had a win and her other three rides all inside the top 10 so it was a good week all round. It’s important that they have a good time as well as it creates a good atmosphere in the Team and gives everyone confidence that we’re doing the right things”


      Izzy Taylor and Direct Cassino


In the Open Intermediate Section I it was the turn of Izzy Taylor to take the top spot riding Springpower, again on their good dressage score of 28.2, repeating their win here last year. Piggy had to settle for runner-up on Brookfield Inocent while Oliver Townend, who was leading after the dressage with a score of 23.6 and show jumped clear, strolled around the cross country, adding 30 time penalties.

Oliver obviously has his eye on other prizes. Like Piggy’s Vanir Kamira, some of the combinations in the higher sections would be aiming for Badminton and each choose the lead-up strategy that benefits their horse the most. Izzy’s Springpower and Louise Harwood’s Mr Potts were the only two to make the time on the OI Section I course while three (Piggy, Imogen Murray and Louise Harwood again on Balladeer Miller Man) went for the time and achieved in the OI Section H

Izzy also won the Open Intermediate Section L on Direct Cassino (24.6) ahead of Nicola Wilson riding JL Dublin on an equal score of 27.3 with Oliver Townend on Ulises in third place. It was in this class that Piggy opted for a strategic run on Vanir Kamira, adding 24.8 time penalties to their dressage score of 25 and clear show jumping round.


      Phoebe Locke and Union Fortunus


Phoebe Locke and Union Fortunus led the Open Intermediate Under 21 from the start on their dressage score of 25.7 and stayed in the lead, adding just 0.8 time penalties

Oliver Townend’s horses earned him plenty of placings but his two wins came in the Intermediate Section K on Newmarket Caro, an eight-year-old mare and the Novice Section P on Weston Goodfella, the horse that won the CIC1* Young Horse Championship at Osberton last October

While Friday was focussed on the higher levels, the BE100 riders and some Novice classes had their turn on Thursday, the first of the scheduled four days of competition.

Ros Canter may not be competing this season but her friend and groom Sarah Charnley, winner of the 2018 Team GBR Grooms Award, had an ‘enjoyable’ day on Thursday, winning the BE100 E1 on the nine-year-old KWPN mare, Enjoy II (Etie), finishing on their dressage score of 26. Sarah works full time as a Building Control Surveyor but still manages to fit in her grooming and riding duties during free time and holidays.

“Etie and I have qualified and competed in the Mitsubishi Cup at Badminton twice and we have done some Novice classes already, but I was a bit busy last year!” says Sarah, who spent much of 2018 at the World Equestrian Games and various other big events with Ros. However, the World Champion was on hand at Oasby, despite not riding herself “Ros very kindly warmed me up for the show jumping - the weather was horrendous, very windy and heavy showers, but the ground was fabulous”

Alexandra Farrar-Fry followed up her win in the BE100 Open at Aston-Le-Walls (1) with another win here in the BE100 Open F, this time on Santiago S; the training she worked so hard at over winter certainly is paying off!


      Sophie Adams and Touch Heaven            Photo: Fiona Scott-Maxwell


As previously mentioned, Susie Berry won the Novice Section B on Monbeg By Design, a horse ridden by Jonty Evans until his accident last year. Susie won on her dressage score of 28.3 ahead of Heidi Woodhead and Gorgeous DHI and in third place was Australia’s Sophie Adams riding her own Touch Heaven at their first British event, having arrived a few weeks ago. Sophie is now based with Oliver Townend and she also rode Oliver’s past 3* ride, Ridire Dorcha, in the Open Novice D

“I’m absolutely loving it at Oliver’s” says Sophie “I’m based here with two horses and riding for him, having a great time, working hard and learning lots”

“Oasby was a fantastic start to my English adventure with both of my horses - what a lovely, well run event despite the sideways wind and rain and freezing temperatures which I am sure is normal for this time of the year over here!”

“Luckily my horses ran in the Novice on Thursday so I got the best ground. My thoroughbred Touch Heaven was perfect, I was very happy with his test and he jumped around clear but two seconds over time cost us the win. But I was happy to settle for third place at his first event on UK soil”

“My other horse Ridire Dorcha is a new ride for me and we had a steady double clear around the Novice also. I’m very excited about him for the future”

Sophie heads to the Barefoot Retreats Burnham Market International next and we’ll catch up with her there.

The final day of the competition at Oasby (1) was cancelled early on Sunday morning after heavy overnight rain made the conditions too difficult for the emergency services required on course. With sleet and cold conditions forecast, many might have been happier to stay in a cosy bed a little longer, especially all those fabulous volunteers and our intrepid photographer Tim Wilkinson, who was somewhere underneath all those layers!