Sophie How is the new Askham Bryan National Under 21 Champion, having led from the front on the nine-year-old Bojangles HRS, a ride she snaffled from her brother Tom at the end of 2012.
The 20-year-old from near Market Harborough not only takes the title, but also an Askham Bryan rug, an Inkerman cut gass bowl from British Eventing, a double bridle from the Worshipful Company of Saddlers and a year’s loan of a Suzuki ATV quad bike. “Bojangles really deserved this win; he’s so nearly been there so many times and then the odd blip has ruined things,” said Sophie.
Last year’s champions, Will Furlong and Livingstone II, had to settle for the runner up spot. Finishing on their dressage score, one of only two young rider combinations to do so, they had climbed up the leaderboard from eighth after the first phase. Sam Ecroyd claimed the final podium placing riding Wodan III.
Germany’s winning streak continued on the final day of Houghton 2015. This time it was Bettina Hoy taking the spoils, riding Seigneur Medicott. Bettina has brought horses to Houghton every year since 2010, and it was the Westfalian nine-year-old gelding’s second visit to Norfolk, but his first CCI2*.
“He won the Novice Championships at Gatcombe in 2013, but had last season off due to injury,” Bettina explained. “The success of my fellow German riders really motivates me, and I feel like I am on a bit of a roll at the moment. I love coming to Houghton, it has always been a happy place for me.”
The top three remained as it had been throughout the competition. Runner up was Australia’s Chris Burton riding Nobilis, a horse sold to him by third placed Dirk Schrade, who this time was riding Mr TomTom. Five British riders were in the top 10, Matthew Wright the best of them in sixth place.
Houghton International Horse Trials is over for another year. Next year will be our 10th anniversary; planning the celebrations starts next week.