This report is a sequel to Magazine Page 2 - Olympic Aspirations
March 2009 ended on a high note with Samantha Thurman-Baker and CB Sporthorse Spring Pascal winning their first British Dressage affiliated Advanced class with 71%. Sam also did her first Prix St George class (hors concours) with 66% and had an invitation was to compete in the Home International representing Great Britain at Addington Manor 16th to 18th April. This meant they could compete wearing the Union Flag!
On 9th April the pair had another convincing win with 68.38% against 18 others in the Petplan Advanced Medium Restricted Area Festival Championship at the Hartpury Winter Dressage Championships.
Of the first International the following week (16th-18th April) Diane Thurman-Baker wrote: "Addington was a great experience but Pascal got very nervous in the warm up, the other horses, music, loudspeakers and clapping was too much for him so he did not ride his best tests. On the Saturday they rode outside in the consolation class, which they won, also achieving the best score of all juniors over the 3 days - 68%. They had their first ever presentation with the National Anthem played – what an amazing experience!"
The Sheepgate Trials on 5th and 6th May brought a string of successes. Samantha and Spring Pascal gained a first and a second in two Junior Team tests with scores of 67% and 70% respectively. They also won both junior individual tests with 70% and 71%. Finally, they were placed third in the Advanced Medium Freestyle to Music with 69%. Following this they went to Addington on 16th May and came second in the Junior FEI Team test with 65%.
Then came an enforced break of a month for school examinations before a return to Addington on 18th June where they came second with 69% in the Advanced Medium and third in their first Prix St George with 66%. (The PSG in March had been hors concours.) Two days later on the 20th June the duo were at Pachesham Park near Leatherhead in Surrey where they won both the Advanced 100 with 69% and the Prix St George with 67%. Five days after this, Samantha and Pascal won in the FEI Junior Team Test at Hickstead against the best in the country and in the premier league PSG they came fifth with 65%.
Another visit to Hickstead on 20th and 21st July did not go entirely as hoped with Pascal upset by flapping flags, marquees, loud music and even a double-decker bus at the arena entrance. However, a few days later in a return to form at the Under 21s Summer Championships on 25th and 26th July at Addington Manor in Buckinghamshire, Samantha and Pascal won all of their classes with three out of four tests above 70%! These were a mix of Junior FEI and PSG, actual scores being 74%, 74%, 70% and 67%. One week on and Samantha and Pascal were at Keysoe competing in the Regionals where they came 5th in Medium Open, which qualified them for the Medium Open National Championships to be held in September at Stoneleigh.
Back at Addington on 13th August, Samantha and Spring Pascal won Advanced Medium with a score of 70%, which qualified them for the Advanced Medium Winter Regionals. They also gained 62% in their first Intermediaire 1.
At the Sheepgate British Dressage Under 25s on 19th August Samantha and Pascal came first in a field of 17 for Medium Test 64 (class 15) with a score of 75.71%. The following day, unsettled by too much clapping resulted in Pascal coming 5th in (class 24) test Medium 69. Friday 21st brought mixed fortunes with a second place in (class 35A) the Junior Championship; a third place in (class 36A) Young Rider Championship and another 5th in (class 37) Advanced Medium Test 85. On Saturday fortune smiled with dedication bringing more success: a second place in (class 35B) the Junior Championship with 68.29%; this was followed by a first in (class 36B) Young Rider Championship with 70.13% and finally another first place in (class 39) the Under 25s National Medium Championships, 69.85%. This win brought a much-needed new saddle as part of the prize.
Another very different source of satisfaction arrived in August - examination results. Despite the equestrian demands, somehow Samantha, now 16, had managed to study sufficiently to gain four A* and six grade 'A' GCSEs!
Six weeks after qualifying at Keysoe Samantha and Spring Pascal faced their most formidable competition at the Dressage Deluxe National Championships held at Stoneleigh. They were entered in the Biotal Medium Open on the first day, 17th September, with Sam, now 16, being the youngest competitor by at least four years. There were 30 entrants to the tightly contested class with only one other non-professional. Samantha and Pascal's score of 63.68% was brought down by two mistakes - 'mine not the horse's, acknowledged Sam'. Crucially, a mis-timed aid confused Pascal, losing vital points. Afterwards, any disappointment was tempered by recognition of what had been achieved and lessons learned.
Though not a factor at Stoneleigh, on some occasions Pascal had been upset and distracted by the noise and excitement that marks many of the bigger occasions. Now he is to have some ‘police-style’ training, which it is hoped may make him noise proof, double-decker bus proof and flapping flag proof! We’ll let you know how he fares. Posted 24.9.09
AWinning Combination at Hartpury on 9th April 2009
Samantha and Spring Pascal at Sheepgate Under 25s 19th - 22nd August 2009
A selection of pictures taken at the Dressage Deluxe Biotal Medium Open Championship on 17th September 2009
On 27th September Samantha and Spring Pascal came a convincing first with 66% in the Prix St George of the BD Petplan Area Festival at Patchetts Equestrian Centre. This qualified them (again)for the Nationals. With no more competition until December a chance for some "time out" and a chance to carry on with the police training which is going well. Posted 27.9.09