NSEA Championships at Keysoe - Hurstpierpoint College

NSEA Championships at Keysoe

On the 20th of October, members of the Hurst Equestrian team made the long journey to Keysoe International in North Bedfordshire for the five-day NSEA (National Schools Equestrian Association) 2022 Championships. After a successful year of competition, and impressive results in qualifying classes, 20 Hurst students were entered to compete against schools from across the country. Hurst was represented by one dressage team, eight show jumping teams and multiple individual riders in classes ranging from 70cm to 1.20m. For many students this Championship was the first time they had ever stayed on-site for a multi-day show with their horses, however all students rose to the challenge and represented Hurst excellently.

In the show jumping team, classes ranking was determined by adding together team members’ jumping faults and times; the team finishing with the lowest combined number of faults and the fastest time wins. Teams could consist of three or four riders and only the best three scores were counted. At the NSEA Championships qualified teams compete in a first round, with the top eight jumping again over a new course to determine the final championship positions.

First it was the turn of our youngest riders; Henry, Lars, Lyla, and Isla. They qualified to jump in both the 70cm and the 80cm finals. It was unfortunately not their day on Thursday in the 70cm class, with the team finishing on eight faults. However, after gaining experience in the daunting indoor arena, the riders went on to tackle the 80cm final on Friday with much more success in the competitive class. They finished with a very respectable four faults, gaining themselves 11th place out of the 42 teams which competed. A special mention must go to Isla who jumped lovely clear rounds in both finals riding Get Your Roan.

Saturday saw the turn of Hurst’s two 90cm teams, along with 1.10m team and 1.10m individual riders. The 90cm course was incredibly difficult, with most riders unable to complete the round without faults. The Hurst students fell victim to the challenges and only produced one clear across the two teams; well done to Ralf and Zeitgeist M2S! Ralf’s clear meant he finished 20th individually out of the 161 riders that jumped in the class.

It was with the turn of the 1.10m team on Saturday afternoon that Hurst had its first taste of success at the championships. With only eight teams competing over the large jumps they went straight into the final championship round. Hurst’s 1.10m team had the added challenge of being drawn first to jump, which meant they were unable to see how other schools were faring over the course. After seeing how riders had struggled with the 90cm, it was decided that the team should focus on jumping neat clear rounds and not take risks in the name of speed. Reece was first in the ring on Checkmate Z1 and got the team off to a fantastic start with a textbook clear. Next came the turn of Emma, unfortunately her pony Zander was uncertain in the claustrophobic indoor ring and came home with eight faults. The pressure was on for the final two riders, who had to jump clear for the team to finish with a score of zero. Freddie riding Cash Up and Lauren on board Eloclea rose to the challenge and produced faultless rounds leaving Hurst’s team on a score of zero. This brilliant performance from the Hurst riders meant other school teams knew they had to be clear and faster than Hurst to win the class. It was a nail-biting wait as the other teams jumped, but the poles kept falling!  No other team was able to finish on zero, or even four faults, with second place picking up a total of eight. Reece, Emma, Freddie, and Lauren claimed a very well-deserved victory and became the 1.10m Champions!

This class was followed by the 1.10m individual horse and pony finals. Reece and Freddie both stepped forward to compete for Hurst again individually in the horse section, but unfortunately both had faults and did not qualify for the jump off. Lauren also jumped again for Hurst on Eloclea, finishing in the top spot in the first round with a quick clear and qualifying for the jump off. Lauren went on to produce another top class clear to secure third place in the 1.10m pony championship.

Sunday began with the 1.20m individual horse and pony finals. Reece competed on his horse, Checkmate Z1 jumping an excellent round with just one unfortunate poll resulting in him taking seventh place. When it came to the pony final, Lauren jumped a spectacular round and was the only pony rider to jump a clear round over the challenging course resulting in her becoming the 1.20m individual pony champion with Eloclea. By the end of the weekend Lauren and Eloclea had jumped in three finals, not knocking a single pole, and picking up two wins and a third!

It was then the turn of Hurst’s two 1m teams. This was yet another incredibly challenging round with only 1 in 5 riders completing the course without faults. Hurst Yellow struggled with the challenge and finished with 16 faults and in 12th place. Hurst Green had mixed results with two lovely clears from Emma on Zander and Morten with Smartie, whilst Lauren and Freddie both finished with eight faults. Congratulations to Morten and Smartie who jumped well enough to finish nineth out of the 109 riders competing in this first round. These results left Hurst Green on a final score of eight faults which, due to the challenging nature of the course, was enough for the team to finish in fourth position and qualify them for the next round. In the jump off Emma produced another great clear, and Freddie also gave a faultless performance. Morten and Smartie also jumped a lovely round but had a very unlucky pole. Well done to the team who finished in sixth place in the 1m team final.

Monday saw the final day of the championship with Olivia, Tilda, and Luca competing in the 80cm Plate Championship. The team finished on four faults and were very unlucky, only just missing out on qualifying for the jump off as they finished in nineth place. Well done to Luca and Olivia who both produced clear rounds. Scarlet was due to compete with this team, however on the day they were meant to travel her pony, Marcel, very sadly went down with colic and had to have emergency surgery. Thankfully, Marcel is doing well and is on track for a full recovery.

Monday was also the day of the National Dressage Championship. In the team class, two riders completed test Prelim 14 and two riders competed test Novice 30. Riders are marked individually on their performance and given a final percentage score. The average of the best three scores is taken to give the final team score. Harriet, Ralf, Ellie, and Mette represented Hurst in this class. A special thank you goes to Ralf and Zeitgeist M2S who stepped in when one of the original qualified riders was unable to make the show. This was their first ever dressage class and they scored an incredibly respectable 63.52%. Well done to Harriet and CBH Clover Lining who were Hurt’s top scorers with 68.33%. Well done to all the team who finished with a score of 66.51% and took eighth place in the final.

Congratulations to all students who took part in the qualifiers, and to those who will compete at the finals. Hurst students picked up a very impressive six championship titles, including two wins. They worked hard during the show caring for their horses and ponies, and all supported each other whilst competing. Well done to all who took part!

It was my first year at the Champs with Hurst and I felt hugely grateful for the support from all the parents and students. I was also super proud of how well all the students behaved over the 5 days. Tracey Pargeter, Head of Equestrian