The worst of the rain held off until prizegiving at the Riding for the Disabled’s South East Regional Dressage Qualifier which was held at Hickstead recently.
However, despite the drizzle, riders from groups across Kent, Surrey and East & West Sussex converged on the prestigious Hickstead showground to show off their accuracy skills in dressage riding.
Competitors were also thrilled by the arrival of eight times Paralympic Dressage Champion, Sophie Christiansen who took a Question and Answer Session while the results were being collated.
There were also numerous and impressive entries to the annual Arts & Crafts competition which were judged by local Sussex artists, Bob and Pip Sampson.
Twenty-five classes were held across three arenas, of which 13 were qualifying classes for the RDA National Championships at Hartpury, Gloucestershire in July.
Julia Hockin from RDA Regional sponsors, Cowan Architects, presented the prizes. “It is such an honour to present these prizes, particularly when they have to struggle against the awful weather. They are inspirational and they are all winners in my eyes” she said.
Fairlight Hall RDA (Hastings, East Sussex) had the biggest number of winners and qualifiers of the day. Zoe House, Juliette Nunn, Christopher Tite, Freddy Ambrose, Rosie Turner and Kerry Chapman all won their classes to qualify for the Championships, while Katy Hertly and Joe Roud also qualified for 2nd places. Freddie Ambrose secured the monster cup for the Highest Junior Qualifying Score.
Caroline King and Katherine Swan were big winners for Bradbourne RDA (nr Sevenoaks, Kent) as they both qualified for Hartpury riding the same horse, Bill, but Caroline came out in the lead and also walked away with the Peter Felgate tankard for the Highest Senior Qualifier Score. Peter Broome was also a winner and qualifier on Mystique, while Samantha Diplock won the Astor of Hever horse trophy for having the Highest Senior Non-qualifying score.
Eastbourne enjoyed a lot of junior success with Stanley Forder and Emily Lester Murphy both qualifying and Lilli Quinn winning the cup for the Highest Junior Non-qualifying score. Hannagh Mohan from Quest RDA and William Harris from Hope in the Valley RDA both managed to qualify in two classes.
There were numerous entries in the Arts & Crafts competition this year which made the judging particularly hard but Fairlight Hall swept the board across all but the photography class where Court Meadow were worthy winners. All these Arts & Crafts winners will now go to the Nationals Competition in Hartpury in July.