Last weekend a team of three riders represented Seaford College in the Land Rover Inter Schools Jumping Competition at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. This is one of the most prestigious equestrian event in the world with a five star international rating and with world class riders competing. HM the Queen was in attendance and alongside the top class jumping events were displays from The Household Cavalry, carriage driving, dressage and showing.
The Seaford Equestrian team of Flora James, Beanie Bradley, Jessie Schute and Lauren Goldsmith qualified for the Inter Schools class at the end of last year by winning our Area competition. We were thrilled to qualify as it was a long standing ambition for the team but sad to lose Lauren as the final specified three riders instead of four with all scores to count.
Seaford was drawn 36th to jump out of a total of 38 teams so we had plenty of time to watch the competition and see poles being rolled and many refusals on the tricky course where the last seven fences were against the clock. Riders needed to take risks to be the fastest clear but at the half way stage only one team, St Mary’s Caine, was on zero faults with all three members jumping clear rounds. At this point the Seaford team instructions were to attack the course in a good rhythm but ride for a clear round rather than speed.
Nerves were high but the girls were fantastic, keeping their heads and encouraging each other in the warm up. They are truly a wonderful supportive team and a pleasure to work with.
Flora was our path finder and rode a fantastic clear round, followed by Beanie and then Jessie! We couldn’t believe our ears when the commentator announced that Seaford had stormed in to the lead and the parents were jumping for joy.
The class was nearing the end with the 37th team faulting so the stewards prepared us for prize giving as the winning team. But just at the last minute the team from Lady Manners in Derbyshire rode three excellent clears to beat us by three seconds on time! Although a huge disappointment for the Seaford team, who had eyed up the winners rugs and silver salver, they were magnanimous in defeat and we all congratulated the winners.
Coming 2nd is hard but is an amazing result and I am so proud of their achievements. At the beginning of the day if we had thought we would end up in top six we would have been ecstatic! Flora, Beanie and Jessie are great riders, have lovely ponies and manage to keep cool heads under extreme pressure to perform at the top of their game.
Also competing at the Royal Windsor Horse Show was Bella Crowley from the Prep School. Bella was riding in the Shetland Pony Grand National in the evening pageant in front of Her Majesty the Queen. The Shetland Pony Grand National raises money for the Bob Champion Cancer Charity. Well done Bella!
Thank you too, as always, to the parents who are so supportive and faced some challenging moments being towed in to the show ground due to the mud.
Congratulations Seaford Equestrian on a truly brilliant result!