Excellent Equestrians get Roses off to a winning start.


Josh Chapman (he/him) reports on the Equestrian event for Roses 2023

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Image by Josh Chapman

By Josh Chapman

Both the A and B team beat their Lancaster counterparts to kick Roses off with a win for York

It was an early start for the York teams, leaving at 6:30 to get to Harrogate Riding Centre to get the horses ready for the 9am start. The format for BUCS equestrian competitions is combined dressage (flatwork or ‘horse dancing’) and jumping, with one rider from each team riding each horse. The best rider scores on each horse scores 0 and the other riders on that horse receive a penalty for each point away from the best rider. The scores for jumping and dressage are combined and the rider with the fewest penalties wins. Riders pick numbers out of a hat to decide which horse they ride and the running order.

Before both phases, demonstration riders ride the horses to show how the horses are like to ride. After a slightly bumpy start to the demonstration when yours truly decided to ‘reacquaint himself with the ground very suddenly’ and a subsequent change of horses, it was time for dressage. Although the dressage was close between all teams, a couple unfortunate mistakes from both Lancaster teams meant that both of York’s teams were winning after the dressage. Individually, Captain Hannah Guy and President Poppy Shepherd from York, and Reanna Stanhope and Frederick Pitchford-Edwards from Lancaster won on horses Candy, Lightening, Arthur and Greta respectively with Pitchford-Edwards scoring the highest dressage score of the day with 194 points.

After lunch riders drew again to decide which horse they’d ride and the running order, and with the sun shining and music blaring through the speaker system it was time for jumping! After a delayed swap due to a last-minute horse change it was time for the demonstrations and this time the match reporter managed to stay on! All York riders jumped well and apart from an unlucky pole down each for Hannah Guy and Eliza Mackworth-Praed. Molly Perkins did particularly well as she jumped clear, and won on her horse, despite having to stop halfway round the course whilst a  jump was rebuilt after a jump was knocked down from the wind. York’s consistency across the board meant they were a class apart from Lancaster in the jumping. Individually, York’s Poppy Shepherd on Fudge, Lucy Hixon on Rummy and Molly Perkins on Warrior won outright on their horses, and York’s Millie Wallace tied with Lancaster’s Reanna Stanhope on Lancer.

After jumping it was results time! Overall, York’s A team won with 31 total penalties, followed by Lancaster’s As with 66. York’s Bs were third with 86.5 and Lancaster Bs came fourth with 112. As the team competitions were separated into an A team and a B team competition, this meant a complete whitewash for York.

York dominated the individual placings too, taking first, fourth, fifth and sixth.  Individual placings were:

Millie Wallace, sixth

Lucy Hixon, fifth

Hannah Guy, fourth

Frederick Pitchford-Edwards, third

Reanna Stanhope, second,

Poppy Shepherd first

It was particularly close from first to fourth, both Shepherd and Stanhope scored 0 penalties across the day (Shepherd winning due to a higher collective score), and Pitchford-Edwards and Guy both only on one penalty (again it was Pitchford-Edward’s higher collectives that decided it).

“It was great to kick off Roses with both teams winning for York” said York’s Captain Guy reflecting on the victories. Molly Perkins was full of praise for her fellow competitors: “everyone did the team proud and it was a nice way to end the season. Congratulations to Lancaster they rode well and it was a close competition!”

Overall, a fantastic day of competition fought very much in the spirit of sportsmanship that makes Roses so special. It might only be the beginning of Roses but at the moment it is white across the board!

A particular thank you to Luke Dyde who was the photographer for the day and all the helpers that kept the day running.