Saturday 14th of May 2022

Biats is top at Nunney International

Hector Payne riding Top Biats landed the CIC2* at Nunney International Horse Trials after a dazzling dressage test followed by  foot perfect rounds showjumping and cross country that put them at the top of the leader board.


The Hampshire-based rider was full of praise for the 11 year old whom David and Margie Hall and his grandparents Judith and Jeremy Skinner jointly own.

“He’s quite flashy on the flat and he gives you that really good feel. He’s the only horse I’ve ever had that I’d like to go back and do my dressage again! He’s a real trier and he’s never had a pole down,” said Hector.

Course designer Helen West’s course demanded accuracy and boldness.

“I thought it was very good, and quite top end for a two star,” said Hector adding, “It required accuracy and it had a lovely flow to it. The organizers made a huge effort with the ground – it was second to none, and it was rewarded with very few withdrawals in the two star.

The prize for first place was £1200 and Hector said this might go towards Top Biats’ next outing at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight at the end of July.

In second was Lucienne Elms, also from Hampshire,  riding her ex-racehorse Mistralou who completed on his dressage score of 29.3.

“He was super and I was really pleased with his dressage score which is what we’ve been working on. He’s a slightly older horse and he used to race, but he’s proof that you can re-train them. He loves the job and always has a smile on his face. He’s a lovely horse and we have a great partnership and he’s so easy across country as he has a very good mouth and you battle to set him up.”

Lucienne, who founded the global equestrian network Horse Scout, will now target the gelding at Barbury CIC3*.

Toby Pigott had two wins with his two rides, taking both intermediate sections with Royal Diamond II and Freestyler R.

The Wiltshire-based rider said:

“Days don’t get much better than this. Freestyle R was in only his second intermediate and posted a 25 dressage and finished off with a double clear around a tough track to win his section and Royal Diamond posted a 31 dressage and posted a speedy double clear to also win his section.”

Committee member and Olympic rider Sam Griffiths, who is based in Dorset, also notched up a brace of wins with Mornington, named after a town in Australia close to where he lives, winning the open novice and Annaghmore Valoner winning a BE100 section.

“She’s won three on the trot and she’s a future star for me – one of the best horses I’ve ever had. Everything she does she finds so easy and she’s really keen to do it,” said Sam who added that Helen West had done a great job with the courses. “I watched quite a bit of the two star and it looked like a difficult course, but the horses really understood what they had to do which is great credit to a course designer. I had a stop at fence one on one of my horses as it’s a spooky fence and it was his first event, so I will be asking Helen to change that fence! But seriously Helen has done really well creating course that really flow.”

Millie Dumas, who is based near the course at Shepton Mallet, was victorious on the six-year-old mare Universal Cooley in a novice section, finishing on their superb dressage score of 20.8 with her nearest rival, Ludwig Svennerstal, 6.2 points behind in second.

Laura Cracket, from Dorset, was another west country winner, scoring on her 13 year mare Aces High IV in the BE100plus section, with Joe Roome, also from Dorset, winning a novice section on Emerald Spirit II. Tom McEwen headed the novice regional final with Braveheart B and Alexander Whewall, from Bristol, took the open intermediate on Chakiris Star.

Organiser Bridget Parker said:

“We had a good three days with excellent entries and some notable riders in action. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. We had a few hiccups, but that’s part of a high risk sport, and everything was dealt with quickly and efficiently and it was a great team effort by everyone involved.”

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