Thursday 23rd of March 2017
Features

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner Part 2

New for the 2017 season, we’ll be celebrating your wins in our new feature Winner Winner Chicken Dinner.

Find out all about this weeks winners, their horses, their plans for the season and inspirations as well as learning what will be in their celebration ‘Chicken Dinner’.

If you have a win this week, we’ll help you shout it from the roof tops so get in touch at events@thegaitpost.com to be featured or tweet us @thegaitpost using the tag #TGPwinnerwinnerchickendinner 

All disciplines welcome.

This weeks winners

© Fiona Scott-Maxwell

Bill Levett Oasby BE100 winner

© JP Event Photography Ltd

Alyson Parker Poplar Park BE100 winner

© Matt Nuttall Photography

Alice Pegley won the BE90 at Oasby (1).

28 year old, professional event rider Kirsty Johnston from Salisbury won the OI class at Tweseldown on WTTL Opposition Skylaw

Kirsty Johnston

What are your aims for 2017 for this horse?

Spring CCI 3* hopefully

Is this your first time at this event, or are you a regular? If a regular, what keeps you coming back? If a first timer, will you be back?

We are a regular at Tweseldown because it is one of our closest events. However they have seriously vamped up the venue and I’d now say it’s one the nicest in our calendar.

Who is the biggest influence in your eventing career to date?

Christopher Bartle and Pippa Funnell. They are both geniuses and true horseman.

Who is the unsung hero of your team and why?

It is very hard to name just one unsung hero but I think it would go to Wendy Collett. She’s been with us since 1995 and has known me since I was 7. She is now an integral part of the team making sure we are fed and watered well at all times at home and away!

What is the one thing you wish you’d known before you started eventing?

How to be good on the stock market!

Describe the funniest “blooper” you have experienced eventing.

Two things that spring to mind. Aldon a few years ago whilst in the AI, to my horror my breeches split from the knee and completely exposed my thigh and other areas. The other being last year at Burghley. We have a great hot tub that comes to the events with us. On this occasion the water needed changing half way through – refilled and reheated. Needless to say my dad tried to get in at 3am!

Which is your favourite event & why?

Blair has to be my favourite event, it’s a magical venue with great courses and the competitors and support crew are so well looked after with a great selection of evening entertainment.

What will be in your “Chicken Dinner” and what will you wash it down with?

My chicken dinner would be a good fish or steak washed down with a nice glass of wine after the Gin aperitif.

What is your current favourite lorry karaoke song?

Currently loving Ed Sheeran’s new album!

16 year old, Zara Lye, is an amateur rider from Woodbridge. Zara won the ONu18 at Poplar Park riding Nena (Jana de Cavaignac), a 10 year old Anglo Arab from Spain.

 

Zara Lye

 

What are your aims for 2017 for this horse?

We are going to give the Junior team our best shot or we’d love to attempt a 2*.

Is this your first time at this event, or are you a regular? If a regular, what keeps you coming back? If a first timer, will you be back?

Regular – it’s our only local event and you’re guaranteed good ground and well built courses and really friendly people, we love it!!

Who is the biggest influence in your eventing career to date?

Caroline Powell and Judy Bradwell are fantastic coaches, I see Caroline regularly and Judy found me my horse and I’m so lucky to be under them.

Zara Lye

 

Who is the unsung hero of your team and why?

Definitely my mum who mucks out the horses daily and has driven me miles and never complained however badly it went!

What is the one thing you wish you’d known before you started eventing?

The addiction!!

Describe the funniest “blooper” you have experienced eventing

I remember when I was showjumping and my jacket spilt right down the back. I had told my mum it was tight!

Which is your favourite event & why?

I love Little Downham because everyone is so friendly and it rides really well.

What will be in your “Chicken Dinner” and what will you wash it down with?

One of my Dad’s roasts with a glass of champagne to celebrate!

What is your current favourite lorry karaoke song?

We’re loving Ed Sheeran’s new album, however one journey we played an ancient Les Misérables tape and at that event I won so it was declared lucky and now we have no journeys without it!

Zara Lye

Bill Levett, professional Australian international event rider has been based in the Cotswolds since 1994, won a BE100 class at Oasby on an ex-race horse called Mighty Tara owned by Lesley Smith. Bill explains why this win was a special one…

It was a big moment for the owners to have a win at Oasby as at the last event of last season I had a fall off this horse here. A freak rotational, one of those things, but I left in an ambulance and Mighty Tara was a bit sore.  We are all so glad to start the season on a more positive note and ironically at the same venue we ended at!” 

Bill Levett and Improvise, Burghley 2014 © Fiona Scott-Maxwell

 

What are your aims for 2017 for this horse? 

To take things slowly with her and build her confidence and experience, she’s very careful with a desire to learn and be trained.

Is this your first time at this event, or are you a regular? If a regular, what keeps you coming back? If a first timer, will you be back?

Regular – fantastic ground and good educational courses.
 
Who is the biggest influence in your eventing career to date? 

Neale Lavis (NJ) an Australian eventing legend, who I was lucky enough to work for a long time many years ago, he really got me started in eventing
 
Who is the unsung hero of your team and why? 

My wife who works harder than anyone and gives up more than anyone to enable it to happen.

Bill Levett, Barbury International 2014 © Fiona Scott-Maxwell

 
What is the one thing you wish you’d known before you started eventing? 

How much it costs (in terms of personal sacrifice and family/support) to move to the otherside of the world.
 
Describe the funniest “blooper” you have experienced eventing.

Missing a loop out in the Open Champs at Gatcombe (before it was strung) when very well placed.
 
Which is your favourite event?

Burghley
 
What will be in your “Chicken Dinner” and what will you wash it down with? 

Duck and mash, gin and tonic to start and then red wine with the duck!
 
What is your current favourite lorry karaoke song? 

Anything but I also like following sport as I’m driving along or podcasts
 

24 year old, Rebecca Jessett from Brackley won her first competition of the season at Oasby in the BE100. She had aimed for two wins this season so she’s nearly half way there! She is a full time veterinary pharmaceutical rep so there are many early mornings and late nights involved keeping Percy (Percivals Rebel) on form for competition.

Rebecca Jessett

 

What are your aims for 2017 for this horse?

We have managed to qualify for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup this year for the second year in a row at BE90 level, so our main aim is to improve on last years placing. For the second half of the season we’ll be aiming to qualify for the BE100 championship 2018.

Is this your first time at this event, or are you a regular? If a regular, what keeps you coming back? If a first timer, will you be back?

This was our first time competing at Oasby and although it took us almost 3 hours to get there, it was well worth the trip. The going was great and the weather was fantastic too. I couldn’t think of anything better to do on my day off work.

Who is the biggest influence in your eventing career to date?

Percy has mainly influenced my eventing passion, as he always tries his best, loves his job and helps me to achieve my goals.

Rebecca Jessett

 

Who is the unsung hero of your team and why?

My Dad! He’s chief lorry driver, groom and pole picker up-er – without dad none of this would be possible, so I have him to thank for all his help and support.

What is the one thing you wish you’d known before you started eventing?

You’ll always want to do one more event; eventing is so addictive!

Describe the funniest “blooper” you have experienced eventing.

My most common blooper moments usually involve remembering the wrong dressage test, in fact they seem to happen so regularly that I’ve got the art of learning a dressage test in 10 minutes down to a T!

Which is your favourite event & why?

Badminton has to be my favourite event to watch, for its world class line up and the thrills and spills throughout the competition, but my favourite ridden event has to be Goring Heath – I’m looking forward to riding round the new cross country course this spring.

Rebecca Jessett

 

What will be in your “Chicken Dinner” and what will you wash it down with?

Toad in the hole is my all time favourite with a mixed fruit cider.

What is your current favourite lorry karaoke song?

Whichever song is playing on Radio 1.

Rebecca Jessett

26 year old, Lauren Innes from Hampshire won her first event of the season at Tweseldown in a Novice section. She was riding “Fision M” who is a 7yo by Flipper d’Elle who she bought as a 5yo through Global Event Horses in Ireland.

He did a 26.5 dressage and a double clear but the win was a bit of a surprise as she had gone out to just have a confident run in preparation for him moving up to Intermediate in a couple of outings time! She is making the most of riding full time until October when she is having to stop having “gap years” and start a job in finance (to continue to fund the horses!)

Lauren Innes

 

What are your aims for 2017 for this horse?

I hope Fision M will confidently make the step up to Intermediate/2* this season and be competitive at the 7yo Championships in the Autumn.

Is this your first time at this event, or are you a regular? If a regular, what keeps you coming back? If a first timer, will you be back?

Tweseldown is a local event for me (being half an hour down the road) so I have had a run here almost every year since I was 13yo! But whilst Tweseldown has always had good ground, since it has been taken over by Rachael Faulkner, the event has had a massive revamp and the courses are completely unrecognisable and much more attacking and flowing, which I love. The new cross-country schooling facilities are now also excellent for all levels which is very convenient for me.

Who is the biggest influence in your eventing career to date?

The person who has been the biggest influence on my eventing career to date is my long term trainer, Mark Corbett. I have trained with him since ponies and he always has something constructive to add, given me advice when I’ve needed it, has been there to put things back together after a bad run, to warm me up at all the important events, stopped me getting over ambitious at times (!), and occasionally compliments my riding.

Who is the unsung hero of your team and why?

The unsung hero of my team is definitely my Mum. She has been thoroughly supportive from the very start. Even now she still drives me to every event – I do have my HGV licence but she’s such a terrible back seat driver that I always take the opportunity to sit in the passenger seat and nap, or catch up with friends (which doesn’t always go down very well!)

What is the one thing you wish you’d known before you started eventing?

The one thing I wish I’d known before I started eventing….how addictive (and expensive) it is! I finished my Masters in 2014 and planned to have a gap year to compete before starting a “real” job. That gap year has somehow turned into three gap years…

Describe the funniest “blooper” you have experienced eventing.

Last season was Fision M’s first season eventing and he was so brave and scopey he quickly stepped up to novice. After a few steady runs at novice I decided at Dauntsey we were in a position to be competitive after a 27 dressage and clear SJ and that I’d move him up a gear XC…..it was all going very well and I was galloping towards the third last fence, a simple viaduct wall, thinking I was going to easily make the time and win – except I rode a terrible turn and at the last minute he spooked at the gap under the wall, dived sideways, half took-off and ended up straddling the wall. All I could think was that if we went forward then I’d be able to just carry on. Evidently I wasn’t thinking very clearly because he was quite stuck and in getting himself over, I was rather ungraciously ejected over his shoulder in slow motion. Luckily neither of us were any worse for wear and we both learnt something from it!

Which is your favourite event & why?

My favourite event is probably Barbury – It is the most beautiful venue, you can see the whole course as a spectator, it’s usually sunny, and most of all I’ve had some great runs there. It might however be succeeded by Tatts after taking my two this year – I went to “support” last year and not only did the courses look amazing, but the parties were excellent!

What will be in your “Chicken Dinner” and what will you wash it down with?

My “Chicken Dinner” will be….a medium rare steak with plenty of chips and loads of pepper corn sauce, a chocolate fondant with two scoops of ice cream and all washed down with plenty of prosecco.

What is your current favourite lorry karaoke song?

Lorry karaoke isn’t really a thing on the way to events with my mum as it’s usually BBC Radio 4, but when I’m on my own there is a Taylor Swift and an Adele CD in the glove pocket which unashamedly comes out. There are even speakers in the horse area so my horses probably know all the words too!

Lauren Innes

58 year old, amateur Alyson Parker from Essex won the BE100 at Poplar Park. She has spent the winter working on Joe’s dressage and improving his suppleness – competing at BD medium /advanced medium in a double bridle.

Moving back to a “prelim” test in a snaffle was interesting in a great big field but he came out really working into my contact and his balance and rhythm has improved enormously.

Alyson Parker © JP Event Photography Ltd

 

What are your aims for 2017 for this horse?

I would LOVE to win Badminton Mitsubishi Motors Cup in May – we have been three times and on a good day he could do it (as could everyone there of course) but I’ve not managed it yet! I love going to Badminton as it is so exciting. After that we’ll maybe do some more 105s and then aim towards Aldon 3DE in October, which is my all time most favourite event.

Is this your first time at this event, or are you a regular? If a regular, what keeps you coming back? If a first timer, will you be back?

I have been a regular at the Poplar Park affiliated event since 2002 .. but I went with the RC for Area Horse Trials before then. It is the most lovely setting and they are usually lucky with the weather. In 2002, however, it was tremendously windy and there was sand blowing everywhere. I had a phone call from my husband Steve at home yelling at me down the phone “all the sand’s blowing away” … we had taken delivery of the silica sand underlayer of our new arena the day before and the gale force winds were just whipping it up and away. Of course it wasn’t all gone and it was all alright but I always think of that at Poplar!

Alyson Parker © JP Event Photography Ltd

 

Who is the biggest influence in your eventing career to date?

I think several people. Back in the 1980s and 90s I had a succession of horses that weren’t consistent on the XC … would generally stop or get eliminated. My husband (who isn’t horsey but often sees things as they are) said I should buy a young one and spend the time to teach it myself. Given my not very good record at XC I didn’t think I was really capable of doing so but in the end we bought a very nice 5 yr old and I read up a lot on how to start them off to give them confidence. I read Lucinda Green’s book where she emphasised the need to take time and build confidence and teach them they have to go forward. I also had lots of lessons with Sarah Verney (or Cotton as she was then). The 5 year old turned out really well and I had years of fun and success with him and have produced subsequent horses with the same methods including Joe.

Who is the unsung hero of your team and why?

Definitely my husband Steve. He has built up some lovely facilities here for me and encourages me to enjoy every moment of my eventing.

What is the one thing you wish you’d known before you started eventing?

How much fun it is to bring on young horses from scratch rather than buy ready made ones.

Describe the funniest “blooper” you have experienced eventing.

At Little Downham last year just as I was about to turn up the centre line to start my dressage, someone was having their tyres fixed in the lorry park and the noise of the wheel nut machine sent Joe into orbit. His head and tail were up and he was high blowing and staring at the lorry park. I couldn’t make him turn any way, I had no idea where I was in my test and it was a complete disaster. He is very noise aware and hates things flapping about or rattling. He escaped from the side of the lorry at Rockingham one year and galloped off after a vehicle rattling down the metal rolling road – we couldn’t find him anywhere and were starting to panic a bit. He was eventually located by the entrance and was being held by the parking stewards! Not funny at the time and I never leave him tied up to the side now.

Which is your favourite event & why?

Aldon. So exciting doing the 3DE… a challenge to me getting Joe fit enough .. and a great atmosphere. Such friendly people and organisation!

What will be in your “Chicken Dinner” and what will you wash it down with?

Chicken at the moment, on one of my diets again, chicken chicken chicken, usually in peri peri with fresh vegetables … fruit juice or the occasional glass of white wine.

What is your current favourite lorry karaoke song?

I love the Happy song. Makes me happy.

Alyson Parker © JP Event Photography Ltd

17 year old, Gemma Wellings from Buckinghamshire won the BE100u18 at Poplar Park riding Drumaclan Diamond D.

 

Gemma Wellings

What are your aims for 2017 for this horse?

This year, I would love to gain a top placing at CIC/CCI* level and move up successfully to BE intermediate with Secret.

Is this your first time at this event, or are you a regular? If a regular, what keeps you coming back? If a first timer, will you be back?

This was my first time at this event. The ground was excellent, particularly for this time of year, and the courses were educational and well-designed. Although it is a long way from us I plan to come back next year. 

Who is the biggest influence in your eventing career to date?

The biggest influence in my career to date is my grandmother, Judy Skinner, who has owned horses with William Fox-Pitt and Pippa Funnell. As a result, she has passed on years of knowledge and experience whilst also being incredibly supportive. Additionally, Jodie Amos has had a big impact, introducing me to eventing, teaching me the fundamentals of yard management and giving me confidence in myself. 

Gemma Wellings

Who is the unsung hero of your team and why?

My mother, Sasha Wellings, is the unsung hero of the team. She is the one that wakes up at 4.30 am to drive me to a dressage lesson before school, supports me through all the tricky times, manages the yard at home and rides when I cannot, whilst also running her business, The Independent Education Consultants. I think it is fair to say that I could not do it all without her!

What is the one thing you wish you’d known before you started eventing?

I wish I had known how much of an emotional rollercoaster eventing is! I find that when the horses are going well then everything else does..

Describe the funniest “blooper” you have experienced eventing.

My biggest bloopers would have to be on Strong Prospect who did not initially warm to dressage. He was regularly confused about which side of the white boards he needed to be on!

What will be in your “Chicken Dinner” and what will you wash it down with?

After Poplar, mum and I stopped off for the usual sandwiches at a petrol station. I had a Chicken Ceaser and Red Bull so that I didn’t fall asleep before finishing my two essays due for the next day!

What is your current favourite lorry karaoke song?

Depending on the time of day we are Radio 2 fans – we love the old classics!

Alice Pegley, 20. who is currently based with Proper Horse Production near Stamford, Lincolnshire won the BE90 at Oasby (1).

 

© Matt Nuttall Photography

What are your aims for 2017 for this horse?

Osberton 6yo final.

Is this your first time at this event, or are you a regular? If a regular, what keeps you coming back? If a first timer, will you be back?

We are a regular to Oasby, it is very well run local event that is always well prepared for the testing conditions at the start of the season.

Who is the biggest influence in your eventing career to date?

It is difficult to choose but I would have to mention the enormous help I have had from Lauren Shannon, Ruth Edge and in my current position with Sophie Miller.

Who is the unsung hero of your team and why?

Dawn Blackwell, who is a sport psychologist I first met whilst based with Lauren. She has helped me hugely over the last 4 years helping get my head in the right place on competition day.

What is the one thing you wish you’d known before you started eventing?

How addictive it is! I find myself getting a bit twitchy towards the end of the winter if I’ve not managed to get any hunting in!

Describe the funniest “blooper” you have experienced eventing

Lying in the top 10 during my first 1* at Great Witchingham, I managed to miss an entire field of cross country fences even though I had walked the course several times!

Which is your favourite event & why?

Somerford Park because the demands of the cross country course alway ensure its not a dressage competition.

What will be in your “Chicken Dinner” and what will you wash it down with?

Pasta with a homemade tomato sauce washed down with a fruity cider

What is your current favourite lorry karaoke song?

Any of Ed Sheerans new songs or a little bit of Stormzy

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