Frenchfield event report

The autumn British Eventing horse trial fixture at Frenchfield near Penrith saw a record turnout for the event’s fourth running with nearly 600 entrants competing across 5 class levels.   Organisers Douglas and Lucinda Weymouth were pleased to see their newest venue attracting competitors from the Midlands and Northern Scotland to tackle the undulating terrain and enjoy the perfect going for the 17 fence cross country courses.  Conditions in the weeks leading up to the event ensured the grass cover provided the horses with sound footings allowing them to gallop exceptionally well across the 2500m courses.  Commenting on the success of the event Douglas explained ‘British Eventing affiliated events demand quality turf coverage to attract leading riders and the pastures at both Frenchfield and our venue at Warwick Hall are gaining a reputation for the quality of their ground conditions.  While most top combinations are inevitably located in the central and southern regions we will continue to present horse trials worthy of the drive times required to reach Cumbria’.  There was a notable local success for Emma Atkins from Penrith riding her own 16.2hh gelding Black Hawk Down coming first in the AW Jenkinson Forest Products BE105 Section K finishing on her dressage score of 31.8 penalties and representing a first win for Emma after 8 years in the sport as a regular combination.  In the same section Sarah A Jones from Calthwaite came 3RD on her 14.2hh Ever Glade finishing with a dressage score of 33.8 penalties. The highest level Novice classes were packed with professional and semi pro riders who fought out the top placings including Sam Ecroyd from North Wales, a talented under 25 years rider, going home with many prizes across all the sections.  Kacey Finch from Windermere riding Moychullen Turbo stepped up a level and into the newly created BE90 Open under 18 class coming a creditable 6th I only her 6th event.  The cross country tracks rode well even with a series of combination fences in the second half of the courses requiring competitors to maintain impulsion and timing if they were to make the optimum times particularly with a climb towards the end.   It was packed weekend with the first horses competing in the dressage phase from just after 7.30 in the morning with the last cross country rounds at 7pm and Lucinda Weymouth commented on the dedication of the 120 or so volunteers required to run the event each day ‘without the commitment of so many loyal stewards and judges it just wouldn’t allow the sport to happen and with a horse competing every 2 minutes and at considerable speed our volunteers do a superb job concentrating and keeping everyone so safe over the weekend’.  The annual awards evening run by Cumbria Horse Trials takes place at The North Lakes Hotel on Saturday 2nd November and Frenchfield Horse Trials runs twice next year with the first fixture now scheduled for the 2 & 3 May 2020 and the first Warwick hall fixture on the Spring Bank Holiday weekend on Sunday 24 & Monday 25 May.