What a fabulous three days in the sun with smiles all round at the Warwick Hall Area Festival

It may have been a last minute decision to run the Northern & Scottish BE Area Festival alongside our usual July affiliated fixture, but it brought the best out in everyone from the willing volunteers stewarding the Friday to the highly committed competitors taking on the extended and uprated cross country tracks.  Our thanks go out to the supporters, owners and frankly everyone who gave their time to make the event such a success.  The weather played its part too with wonderful sunshine throughout the three days of competition.  Special mention to the scoring teams beavering away in the dressage, showjumping and cross country start and control cabins – nothing works quite so well without all the input you give to keep the Eventing Scores system right up to the minute.

There were successes across the board for local and regional entrants with Maisie Birbeck taking Sec A AFC100 with Tyler Cassells taking Sec B AFC100.  The AFQ100 Sec C was won by Bethany Lee securing her a place to run at Badminton in 2020, and in Sec D AFQ90 Anna Harris likewise secured a place for the spring championships along with Sec E winner Ruby Thompson. Amy Dixon on her prolific winner Goodluck II became the regional champion in Sec F AFC90 on just 24 penalties, with Penny Clews winning the Open Sec G AFC to be similarly crowned for the region.  Friday’s cross country courses saw 54% go clear in the AF100 sections and 61% in the AF90.

Saturday and Sunday proved successful for Emily King, Robyn Gray, Wills Oakden, Sarah Bowe, Janette Brakewell, Holly Woodhead and Lucinda Crawford all enjoying the galloping terrain to take top placings across the classes.  Our local Cumbrian triumphs saw Oliver Seth Millican win his first ever event riding Master Quality coming first in BE80 Section S, Lisa Shuttleworth and Alice Madden also both won their respective BE80 Sections V & U.  Emily Arter and Deborah Gate came 3rd and 4th in BE90 Sec R, and Claire Paisley won Section Q BE90,  Amy Wybergh enjoyed a second in the BE100 Open riding her faithful partner Ooda Loop.  Emma Little and her consistent Alecon will have been pleased to secure a 5th in the AFQ90 and will no doubt hope this is good enough to reach the Badminton finale. Well done to them all.  Emma has also just come 3rd in the BE90 National Championships for 2021 at Cholmondley Castle.

So where do we go from here?  As one of four venues selected to run the Area Festivals for the next three years, the fixtures team at British Eventing will no doubt take their time to run a review and feedback their thoughts but in the meantime give us your thoughts on how we can improve the format, the challenge or whatever.  Some 1500 out of an alleged 5000 qualified rider horse combinations took part in these Festivals so there is scope for many more to step up to an Area Festival entry.  Our Warwick Hall AF secured just 120 entrants meaning we were squeezed a little on the budget by comparison to our fellow organisers but we enjoyed it and we are fully committed to running again in 2022. See you then, and before of course.

If you missed coming to the event or have never been before – watch this preview on our YouTube Channel 

(And, if you were wondering where this report had gone, then ask the iMac why it suddenly died and was then lost by DPD en-route to be fixed last week!)