Three wins and numerous top placings for Hurst Equestrian at the NSEA Championships - Hurstpierpoint College

Three wins and numerous top placings for Hurst Equestrian at the NSEA Championships

Over the course of the last year, the riders of Hurst Equestrian have been working hard to qualify for the NSEA (National Schools Equestrian Association) Championships, which were held at Addington Equestrian Centre in Buckinghamshire 20-23 October. Hurst pupils have had a very successful year in the qualifying classes, with individuals and teams qualifying at every height. Sixteen students made the journey to the championships with their horses and ponies, along with their family, Head of Equestrian Tracey Pargeter, Equestrian Assistant Sophie Rees, and Hurst Equestrian Trainer Candice Dunlop. The show kicked off on the Thursday afternoon, with Tracey and several students the day before to be ready for the first-class early Friday morning. With the multiple days of jumping many students, parents, and horses stayed overnight at the venue.

The show began on Friday morning with Izzy A and Thea O competing in the 70cm warm up class. Izzy produced a fantastic and fast clear with Lonarch which was a good enough for her to finish second. What a great way to start the show! Thea also had a very fast time, but a pole meant she was out of the placings. Later that day it was time for the 70cm team in the championship class, with Izzy and Thea returning to the ring and Rosie YJ making her debut. The team jumped well, but a pole meant they finished on a score of 4 faults and were out of the top 8 placings (in championship classes the top 8 teams and individuals go through to a jump off class later that day).

Thea had also qualified as an individual, and her round was impressively speedy which meant that she finished 7th and qualified for the final with her horse Katie. Thea went on to jump a brilliant round in the jump off, finishing in 4th position in the 70cm Individual Championship.

Saturday started with success early on! In the 90cm warm up class Lars D jumped a spectacular round on Kiki to finish in 2nd place. There was then a lull in activity for the rest of the morning, however after lunch Hurst students were competing in three different classes simultaneously! Lyla YJ jumped very well in the first round of the 80cm championship, with her speedy clear she finished in 7th place, qualifying for the final later that day. Lyla jumped another excellent round in the final finished with a podium position in 3rd place! Well done, Lyla!

Whilst Lyla was jumping her round, the 1.10m team were walking the course for their class. Hurst College won this class in 2022 and the team were back to defend their title. Freddie L and Morten D both produced lovely clears, with Harriet B also jumping well but sadly having an unfortunate pole at the last. The team finished on a score of 4 faults, however, the course proved challenging for the other competitors and no team manged to best Hurst’s result! Well done to the 1.10m team for defending their title and winning the 1.10m Team class for the second year running.

After his clear in 1.10m class, Freddie had to immediately ride to another arena for the 1m warm up class. This class was meant to run before the 1.10m team class, however delays meant they ran simultaneously. Luckily, they had held the class for Freddie, so he was able to go in as the last competitor. He did some very daring turns and finished in 2nd place, a brilliant result considering the rush of trying to learn and ride both courses in such a short space of time!

Harriet also competed in the final for the 1m Combined Training Class on Saturday. This is where competitors ride a dressage test, in this case Novice 28, and then also jump a course of fences. The scores are combined to produce the final result. Well done to Harriet who finished in 5th in the 1m Combined Training Individual Championship.

The 90cm Championship was held on Sunday, and proved to be one of the biggest classes of the show, with over 180 combinations competing in the class. Hurst put forward two teams for the for this final, however it was not their day with both teams finishing on a score of 4. Hurst Red finished as the fastest team with 4 faults, and for a while it looked like they might manage to sneak into the final, but they were just knocked out of a qualifying position towards the end of the class.

Lauren W had qualified for the 90cm individual competition after a very fast round finished in the top 8 and qualified for the jump off later that day. Lauren jumped a phenomenal round with her amazing one-eyed pony, My Time IV, and became the 90cm Individual Champion! This was a big achievement for Lauren as she has had a couple of years of bad luck at the NSEA champs, so it was great to see her bring home the win this year.

Next came the 1.10m horse and pony classes, where there is a separate line up for the horses and ponies even though they compete over the same course. Morten D did exceptionally well in both these classes. He jumped a beautiful clear on his horse Nimble to finish in the 3rd place in the horse section, then riding his pony Smartie he jumped well enough to finish 6th in the pony final. What great results!

On the final day of the Championships we had an early start with Freddie L jumping Cash Up in the 1.20m class just after 8am. Freddie walked the course with confidence, assuring Tracey and Sophie that he was going to win the class… which he did! He rode a very fast clear early in the competition and no one was able to beat him. Freddie then decided to finish off his very successful show by qualifying for the 1m final out of over 60 horses, and then going on to finish in 3rd position in the 1m Individual Championship. He rode the fastest round of the class, but a pole meant that he took 3rd as the fastest rider with 4 faults.  Over the course of the show Freddie and Cash were members of the winning 1.10m team, won the 1.20m class, came 3rd in the 1m individual championship, and came 2nd in the 1m warm up class. Well done Freddie for an excellent show!

Monday also saw the Plate Championships, which is for those teams and individuals who just missed out on qualifying for the championship. Hurst put forward a team of three for the 80cm Plate Championship. The team did very well, finishing in 5th position as the fastest team with 4 faults. Well done Danielle I, Olivia S, and Thea O.

By the end of the weekend Hurst students had achieved top placings in almost all the classes they had entered and had final placings in every jumping championship they qualified for. Students achieved wins in the 90cm Individual Championships, the 1.10m Team Class, and the 1.20m Individual Class. Hurst Equestrian also bought home 3rd in the 80cm Individual Championship, the 1m Individual Championship, and the 1.10m Horse Class. Along with 4th in the 70cm individual championship, 5th in the 1m Combined Training Individual Championship, and 6th in the 1.10m Pony Class. Hurst students also came 5th in the 80cm Plate Team Championship, and picked up three 2nd places in the warm up classes.

A huge congratulations to all the students who partook in the championships! It was a great show, with the Hurst students representing the school exceptionally well, they really helped and supported each other throughout the show. It was a great experience all round, and I think we’re all already looking forward to the next year of qualifiers and doing it all again in 2024!