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Posted by Prue Spurrett, FEI Eventing Judge on 06/10/2015.
Ground Jury line-up at Hatpury : Prue, Xavier Le-Sauce, PollyAnn Huntington, Gill Watson and Nick Burton

INSIGHT - judging Eventing around Ireland and the UK

The Camphire International Horse Trials, the Festival of British Eventing and the International Hartpury Horse Trials are three major events in the discipline of Eventing, hold during summer, in the UK and Ireland.*

Prue Spurrett has recently returned from Europe where she officiated in these three legendary events. She was Ground Jury President for Camphire International Horse Trials and Ground Jury member for The Festival of British Eventing and for the International Hartpury Horse Trials. Here she tells us her story... 

"After a month judging three CCI/CIC’s in Ireland and the UK, on returning home I was the one needing the vet check! ;-)

Camphire International Horse Trials attracts a rollcall of top riders, many based in Britain who ferry their horses across to this fabulous private country estate. Rolling green grounds - yes, the reason Ireland is so green because it rarely stops raining. Camphire was also the event where Chris Burton created an FEI record score for a CCI2*, with his 24.50 penalty also being the second lowest score at any FEI event in the last 5 years.  As the C judge I had Chris and Santano 11 on a dressage score of 83.3%, whilst my co judge had them on 83.7%. I’d given 3x10’s, one for the rider mark and my co judge had done likewise so, what made it the standout test on that day? The horse has natural exuberance and the entry, halt, depart and turn ticked all the boxes - and it was only the first movement. Bottom line, the rhythm never changed, the energy never faltered, the transitions were faultless and it was a display of presence, suppleness, preparation and balance – the same comments we judges make just about every time we judge. Chris also finished second on Cooley Lad, whose score would have seen them winning at any other time whilst he also won the CIC3* with Nobilis 18. Emma Douglas (Fernhill Tabasco) and Kevin McNab (Tomgar Hugo Boss) quinella’d the CCI1* so it was great to hear our National Anthem belting out 3 times!

The Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park can have up to 40,000 visitors over the course of the event – Mark Phillips’ Championship course has the camber of the rolling hills always in play and once again, the Dressage saw some pretty impressive scores, with Andrew Hoy ahead in the 3* Dressage with 78.97% (31.5). In all, 28 riders in the 3*had a Dressage score over 70%, putting them in a penalty range in the 30’s, including Chris Burton on TS Jamaimo (36.9) and Sam Griffiths on Paulank Brockagh (36.6). After Andrew’s fall in sight of us in Control put him out of contention, Sam Griffith had poll position going into the XC with no penalties after the Jumping and he was almost home when he took a tumble just near the finish. Although Jamaimo had a rail in the Show Jumping, it didn’t come into play – we’d been following them on the screens in Control and he was always travelling well within himself, enough to give Chris Burton his third win in 2 weeks in 2 countries.

Gatcombe and Hartpury were back-to-back weekends and our class in the NAF Hartpury International Horse Trials started out with 100 horses – 2 days of Dressage for all classes and our trot up took 2hours! Great to see one of our lesser known Australian riders, Samantha Seaton and her super chestnut thoroughbred Rowberry Spree taking out a placing in the CCI2*, the only Aussie in the line-up. Overall, was the quality of the horses better? Not really, however the difference was notable in the number of horses and the bandwidth of scores. Yes, the fields are much larger but over there it’s more likely from 79% to 58% with a tight grouping at the top end of the scale followed by a quality mid-range, reflecting clearly how a good dressage score can come into play when all is close at the top!"

Prue Spurrett, FEI Judge

Photo : first results in Camphire after Dressage with Chris Burton’s FEI world record score for dressage !

Photo : Prue in the Control at Camphire International Horse Trials (Ireland)

*The events :

The Camphire International Horse Trials takes place in Ireland every year and showcases amonght others a CCI 2*, CIC 2* and a CIC 3*. The 2015 edition, from 22th to the 26th July was definitely a walk in the field for Chris Burton, winning both first and second place in the CCI 2* and setting two Equiratings World Records for lowest international finishing score overall and for lowest dressage score. He also took first place on the podium for the CIC3*.

The Festival of British Eventing took place from 5 to 7 August at Gatcombe Park, in the UK, spectacular home of the Princess Royal and her family and incorporated the British Open, Intermediate and Novice Championships, as well as the new truly 'Amateur' Championship. The talented Chris Burton, again, entered history books as only the third Australian rider to take the British Eventing Open Championship, following Andrew Hoy in 1997 and Clayton Fredericks in 2006.

The NAF 5* International Hartpury Horse Trials schedules a CCI 1*, CCI 2* and a CIC 3* in the heart of Hartpury College, close to Gloucester, UK. From 12 - 16 August, the 2015 competition brought the British rider William Fox-Pitt on the first step of the CIC 3* podium.

To Read all the other INSIGHT stories Click HERE

Are you also an Equestrian Australia official who has recently officiated overseas? Are you interested in sharing your experiences with the greater equestrian community in our regular series? Click HERE to submit your story.


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