The Vinehall Equestrian team took three ponies and riders to Hickstead last week for the National Championships. The team had qualified in February just before lockdown and since restrictions were eased it has been a great project for the girls to work towards. The NSEA bravely decided to go ahead and run what can only be described as an incredibly efficient event, with social distancing adhered to at all times by competitors and helpers.

As a team of only three riders, Grace W, May A and Willow A qualified for the 75/80cm arena eventing Championship. Competing against 23 other teams from across the country, they held their own; this was brilliant especially as they were the youngest there.

Grace and Poppy set off as team trail blazers to jump a textbook clear, followed by May and Solly who also jumped clear in a lovely rhythm. They were followed finally by Willow and Fat Pony, who also flew round clear. It was a great achievement considering the lack of competitions this summer and they were thrilled with their ponies.  However, the icing on the cake was when they heard they had finished 5th overall for Vinehall.  May ended up in the ribbons again, finishing individually 7th and Willow 10th.

Willow also competed as an individual in the 95cm show jumping, flying round clear (there weren’t many clear rounds as poles were flying) to finish a thrilling 8th out of 140 competitors. Huge pats and lots of polos later, we headed back to East Sussex, relieved to  have been able to go to a competition again and feel slightly normal in these extraordinary times!

All three ponies have enjoyed a quiet few days in their fields since last week but hopefully we will be able to post more results from competitions in the next few months.  We hope more Vinehall equestrians will be able to participate in local events – please do let us know if you would like to join in the fun.