Mollie Summerland,19, took the top prize at Nunney International Horse Trials where she won the Tarmac-sponsored CIC2* riding her own Charly Van Ter Heiden.
The teenager, who is based with Pippa Funell in Surrey, rode a beautiful double clear on the eight-year-old adding just 1.8 cross country time penalties to her dressage score of 40.9. “I thought the course asked fair questions and there was lots to think about. There were quite a few angled fences, but he is really good on his lines and he prefers it if I leave him to it,” said Mollie who receives training from Pippa and her head girl Frankie Murrell. “They’ve both been fantastic and have played a huge part in this,” added Mollie who was recording her biggest success to date.
Second spot went to Jo Rimmer from Sturminster Newton riding the huge Diamond Bobby who was bought to go hunting by his joint owner John Sunnucks but found his niche eventing when he didn’t settle. “He’s enormous with huge ears and feet, but despite his size he’s really clever and will fiddle his fences. In recent years he’s also been ridden by John’s 18-year-old daughter Kitty. He’s very easy and very brave and I had a super ride on him. I was worried about the angled brushes towards the end of the course but he jumped them very easily.”
Jo was full of praise for the new Helen West-designed cross country courses, which ran in a different direction this year. “They had much more flow and Helen’s done a wonderful job,” said Jo who also handed the plaudits to an army of volunteers at the cross country finish who were armed with buckets of ice cold water to cool down horses in the scorching hot weather.
In third was Alexander Whewall, from Bristol, riding his mum Lianne’s 50th birthday present Edyvanta. ”We bought her three years ago from Mark Bosanko for mum’s 50th. She’s a big horse and very talented and hopefully she will go for the eight and nine-year-olds class at Blenheim,” said Alex who is trained by Elizabeth Winter and Sir Mark Todd through the Bridge The Gap Scholarship.
Sara Squires, fourth on Lady Moylisha, was one of only two riders, the other was Thomas Hawke on Mr Cruise Control, to finish within the time. “She’s a formidable jumper so as long as I do my bit, she does hers. This is her first two star and our first proper season together. She’s qualified for the intermediate championships at Gatcombe and after that she might go to Ballindenisk. The course rode beautifully and I didn’t find I had to go fast,” said Sara.
The mare was purchased as a three-year-old by her Devon-based owner Richard Oliver who added: “She’s very balanced and has a lovely way of going. I bought her from Aubrey Chapman in Ireland and she hunted as a three-year-old. After Gatcombe last year where she ran in the novice championships, she had an operation for a growth on an ovary and since then she’s developed a lovely bond with Sara.”
It was the first year Helen has been appointed as course designer, and she was delighted with the outcome in the international class with 53 of the 71 starters completing. “The CIC2* track produced a great result. The track took some riding and rewarded those who rode positively but kept in balance. Those that were a little wild had glance offs or missed their turn and those that were not committed enough came to grief,” she said.
Organiser Bridget Parker said: “It has been a very stress free, if a little hot, competition thanks to the wonderful committee we have here. It all runs like clockwork and we’ve had many complimentary remarks. The courses have been very well received and Helen has done a marvelous job. Mrs Angela Yeoman, on whose land the event takes place, has also been wonderful along with all her staff. It’s been a very successful three days.”