Saturday at Chilham Castle


An Eventful Life will be filming all competitors on cross country at Chilham Castle (1) - find out more here


Saturday at Chilham Castle was just one of those perfect days for spring eventing – mild, sunny and still.

You couldn’t really get a better backdrop for an event with the Jacobean Castle, now the private home of the Wheeler family, overlooking the dressage warm up and arenas and a cross country course that winds up and down the 18th century parklands

Those winding uphill tracks mean that you need a fit horse for this event; it’s a bit of a climb up to the top of the course but you then get fantastic views (although not many riders get the time to appreciate them as they negotiate the Scott Brickell designed course) and the going across the terrain this weekend is perfect.

Today the BE90 and BE80T classes took centre stage with five sections of BE90 and three of the 80 Training classes. It was our day for stalking Australian eventing riders with two names on the entries we hadn’t met before, Ben Leathers and Phoebe Anderson, in the BE90 and they both had a good day


      Ben Leathers and Lady Solaire


Ben finished third in the BE90 Section D riding Lady Solaire after a cracking start on a Burto-like dressage score of 20. Unfortunately they had two down in the show jumping but a very comfortable cruise around the cross country for a double clear kept them on 28 for third place. The class was won by Zoe McQueen riding Moon Sparrow who finished on their very good dressage score of 23.3 while Hong Kong’s Annie Ho took second place on Jockey Club Martial King (25.5)

Ben, who was born in Australia to English parents and returned to the UK in 1985, heads to Badminton next week to compete in the Mitsubishi Cup. We’ve got a full interview with him coming up soon and will be following his progress next week at the big event ....

The other Australian we spotted today was 14 year old Phoebe Anderson, riding Roscommon III in the BE90 Section B and Whytchwood Desert Prince in the BE90 Section A. Phoebe’s dad is the Australian connection, being from near Newcastle in NSW while her mum is English and was on hand today helping Phoebe at the event.


      Phoebe and Roscommon III


A Clover Hill pony, the 12 year old Roscommon III finished sixth in his section

“His nickname at home is Ross-ette” says his owner Joanna Debiase who has owned him for four years “My son used to showjump him but as my son is six foot tall now and Ross-ette is only 14.2h, Phoebe has taken over the ride and this is their first season eventing together”

Although it was only their second event together at Chilham, Phoebe has been riding Roscommon III for a few years off and on and their partnership certainly showed as they handled the cross country course with ease. They added just 0.8 time penalties on cross country for yet another rosette to add to the collection

This class was won by Harriet Gillham riding Milchem Las Vegas on their dressage score of 31.5; Nicola McLure riding Zippity Doo Dah was close behind on 31.8 but they were eliminated a fence 6 on cross country, enabling Anna Levy on First Class to move into second (32.30) and Victoria Brandt on Pauldary’s Master Patrick (32.8)


       Melissa Joannides and Uncle Desmond


Melissa Joannides has already had a couple of wins this month at Hambleden and Larkhill and she added to them today with a win on Uncle Desmond in the BE90 Section C, finishing on their dressage score of 27.3. Catherine Fowdrey may have finished second in this class but she won our award for the biggest smile in the dressage


      Catherine Fowdrey and Derryveeney Bridgeboy


Nana Dalton may have withdrawn from Badminton but she is still busy bringing on the baby horses with the colourful seven year old Master Utah finishing second in the BE90 Open today at their first competition together on a score of 27.5 (watch their showjumping round below)

Nana backed that up with third place on Coulston Fidelity (30.8) but the winner of the class was Harrison Chart riding Direct Cruising on their dressage score of 26.0