As we approach the start of the British Eventing season it is a useful time to reflect upon last year’s achievements, ready to look forward and make some goals for 2022. With so many riders and horses at varying levels the highlights for the Wesko EQ riders were always going to vary, and as we look ahead to the forthcoming season there are wide range of goals.
One of our highlights from 2021 was watching Yasmin Ingham take the top honours at Blenheim Palace CCI4*L, one of the most prestigious 4* titles in the world. The moment made even more special by Wesko Academy rider, Susie Berry, joining her in 3rd place.
Blenheim continues to be a goal for a number of the Foundation’s riders with India Wishart looking establish Parkfield Baroque at CCI3*L at Hartpury in August before aiming for the 8/9YO CCI4*S at Blenheim in September. Another rider to add Blenheim to a highlight and goals list is Emma Thomas.
“My highlight of 2021 has to be competing at Blenheim. It’s the event that I’ve grown up attending and doing the Pony Club classes at, so it was surreal to be competing in the big classes there! It was also lovely to see my 8 year old, Stix, step up to Advanced so well. He’s been a real work in progress, but has always been so talented and it’s nice to see it come together at top level. I also hope to establish my younger advanced ride, Stix, at 4* and head to Blenheim with him again.“
Continuing the theme of “Big B” events, Bramham International Horse Trials in June is always a key focus for the Foundation’s riders. The host of the U25 Championship, riders tackle the influential CCI4* cross-country in Yorkshire with a view of being crowned National U25 Champion. Connie Copestake and Emma Thomas both have their eyes set on the title.
Which rider doesn’t count anything connected with a 5* fixture as a highlight, or dream of competing at the likes of Badminton and Burghley?
Following her 4* wins in 2020 and 2021, Yes Ingham now has her sights set on 5* success in 2022, alongside Emma Thomas, who depending on their Bramham competition will also aim for an Autumn 5*. It was Bramham 2021 where Kristina Hall-Jackson picked up her 5* qualification. Meanwhile, Harry Mutch is looking to increase his tally of 5* completions.
“My highlight of 2021 would be competing at Bicton 5, it was great to be able to complete my second 5* and with how good of a ride he gave me round a tough track I can’t wait to see how he comes out this year. My key aim for 2022 will be to hopefully have two more 5* completions at Badminton & Burghley. I’m excited to see with the experience we gained from 2021 to see if we can be more competitive at the level.”
As much as the 4* and 5* events will also play a pivotal role for our young riders, developing their younger horses is not only key to longer term success but often plays an integral role in the success of their businesses.
For Kristina, one of her key 2021 highlights was how both of her young horses competed at Osberton Young Horse Championships. “Juela jumped a superb double clear round the 7 year olds and Essa jumped a very classy double clear round the 5 year olds. Both horses I bought as unbroken 3 year olds and it’s so rewarding to get such good results
Continue producing my young horses through the levels. Aiming Essa at the 6 year olds Osberton championships and juela at the 8/9 year old Advanced at Aston Le walls
This year I want to continue producing my young horses through the levels. Aiming Essa at the 6 year olds Osberton championships and Juela at the 8/9 year old Advanced at Aston Le walls. Alongside this I’m looking forward to building and developing relationships with my existing owners and sponsors.”
We’re looking forward to catch up with riders at Poplar Park for week 1 of the season, before heading to Oasby for week 2.