Oasby (1) - 9th-12th March
Oasby is always a welcome sight on the eventing calendar, expertly run by Stuart & Anna Buntine over BEDE Events.
With everything located within easy reach of the lorry park and the ground holding up well at this time of year, Oasby really does tick all the boxes for a great early season run - well run, friendly, good courses and free draining soil.
Organiser and cross country course designer Stuart Buntine decided to shake things up a little this year with running the course backwards - well not backwards backwards but in the opposite direction to usual, giving the riders something to think about for, what was most people's first event of the season.
Well located in the centre of the country Oasby often attracts a wealth of support from across the eventing population, with the first event of 2017 being no different. Amateurs and Olympians alike flocked to the first BEDE event of the year to take part in what is always a well run event early on in the eventing calendar.
The Bit UK caught up with Lauren Shannon, who was one of a number of riders having a busy and successful weekend at Oasby, who was thrilled to start the season with a win:
"The horse I won on is owned by Dave Ottewell and it was her first BE100, so I'm really pleased with the step up she's made. She is the most grown up 5 yr old I've ever ridden so she felt so easy all day Sunday, but I have to say the organisers did a great job making the tracks (at all levels) well-dressed, challenging and yet still ride-able for fresh horses at the beginning of the season. The event ran very smoothly, and the ground was divine, despite less than ideal amounts of rain before the event! I love Oasby as an event to start and finish the year on, but it was nice this year to start off with a win!"
Nicola Wilson continued her good start to the season, following her three top six placings at Epworth, with a win in the BE100 with Cooley Conker and a further four top ten placings, including a 4th and 5th for Annie Clover and Bulana respectively in their OI sections.
British number 1 Oliver Townend continued where he left off in 2016 and at Isleham - on top. With no less than 14 different rides across the four days of competition - more than most riders will complete in an entire season, with nice top six placings in total. Oliver produced three sub 30 wins in the Intermediate with Khoi Traveler, in the Open Intermediate with Note Worthy and in the Open Novice (section B) with Ececheira. Meanwhile it was just 2nd place for new ride Coldplay III in the Open Novice (section A) and Menlo Park in the Novice.
2017's good form also continued for Simon Grieve who headed north to Oasby after a hat-rick of wins at Isleham on the opening weekend. Douglas picked up a 3rd place in Intermediate section I, adding just 4.8 time penalties across the country to their 32.5 dressage. Willeys Mayday and Wallstreet VB both produced double clears in the BE100 to finish 4th. The BE100 Open being a particularly hot section where a sub 30 finishing score only got you 7th place. Gatherine Hill and Miss Emily dazzled the dressage judge to score a 19.8 and went on to be foot perfect in the jumping phases to produce a personal three phase score of 19.8!