Five days of eventing action took place at Bicton Arena in Budleigh Salterton, Devon over the weekend, 18 – 22 October 2023.  Over 400 competitors took on the autumnal weather conditions to enjoy the final event of the season.

Dani Evans riding Mrs Luana Edge’s 16.2hh gelding Kinda Corvette were victorious in WH Bond Timber CCI2*-S, despite a pole in the show jumping phase, a strong dressage and cross country meant the pair finished in first position on 30.2. Dani commented, “I’m over the moon, the horse is only six and he’s been fantastic all year. He’s performed fantastically here; the ground has been on the soft side but it’s great for a young horse to learn on it. Bicton always produces fantastic show jump and cross country courses. I’m delighted for the whole team – I have the best staff, owners and horses now, it’s just trying to make the magic happen!”

Our next winner was Ireland’s Danielle McCormack who took top honours in the Empire Coachbuilders CCI2*-L onboard Anna Sims-Hilditch’s 6-year-old, Hildare Regarde Moi. The pair, who have already achieved a third and second at international classes this year, were faultless, completing on their dressage score of 28.6. “I’m absolutely thrilled with the horse, he has been incredible all season and it’s been the icing on the cake to come and do so well here. He will now have a well-deserved holiday and some showjumping before next season,” said Danielle.

Ireland’s Fred Scala won the competitive Symonds & Sampson CCI2*-S on his 11-year-old 15.2hh chestnut mare Rouge Angel with no faults to add to his dressage score of 30.1. “It’s a brilliant way to finish the season, this is only her third run this year. She won the Hickstead Eventer’s Challenge in July and now this, so she has gone well this season. She is a sharp little mare and a strong jumper, so it was nice to also get a good dressage test out of her this weekend and take the win,” said Fred.

Taking top spoils in the Mitchell & Webber CCI3*-S was Kent-based Georgie Campbell with Mrs Fiona Acheson and Miss Jessica Acheson’s Global Candy Boy. A strong dressage score set the pair up with fault free showjumping and cross country phases, they were only one of three horses to make the cross country time, completing on a score of 31.4. Georgie added, “I am delighted, he is a really cool little horse. He flew around the cross country course, he locked on and galloped to finish really well, he could have gone around again!”

Finishing on her dressage score of 30.8, 13-year-old Tichy Sanders won the Redpost Equestrian BE90 riding Mrs Camilla Albery’s Sparhanger Velvet who is also 13 years old! Tichy commented on her win, “We were sat in 14th overnight after the cross country and it just got better and better. I am so proud of her and thank you to my incredible team around me – it wouldn’t be possible to do it without them. The long format was amazing, my mare loves going fast so she enjoyed the steeplechase phase!”

Local rider Xanthe Baylis and her 13-year-old gelding Monbeg By Magic won the Redpost Equestrian BE90 Open completing on her dressage score of 32. “I never expected this – it’s been an awesome event. I was so nervous going into the main arena today, once we were in there, he helped me so much, he’s a very honest horse,” said Xanthe.

The Donuts team consisting of BE90 winners Tichy Sanders and Xanthe Baylis plus Sophie Johnson and Althea Bleekman won the team event, with a total score of 113.6.

Saffron Cresswell and Angell’s Choice, a 7-year-old mare owned by Dr J E Angell-James gave a faultless performance in the Redpost Equestrian BE100 class winning on her dressage score of 30.8. Saffron said, “It’s been an amazing week, it’s so nice for the owner who bred her to have this win. She’s a young horse and has an exciting future so this class has given her the experience she needs to step up next season.”

Herefordshire-based Mark Ford and 8-year-old Alvescot Five Star owned by The Alvescot Five Star Syndicate took the win in the Redpost Equestrian BE100 Open on 25.8. “I’m really pleased with my horse, this class brings them on so well and will be ready for a 2* campaign next year. He will spend the winter focussing on his dressage where he is aiming for the Medium Winter Championships. Thank you to the Bicton team for pulling out the stops to make sure this event ran,” commented Mark.

In the team event, Bicton Bar Hopefuls: Heather Urquhart, Alice Dalton, Lizzie Luxton and Lara Salter took the top spot with a total score of 109.4.

Bicton Arena’s Manager Andrew Fell summed up the venue’s final horse trials of the season, “Despite the autumnal weather, the team pulled off a sensational event for the competitors. We could not have done it without our army of amazing volunteers and devoted sponsors, thank you all.”

Thanks also go to Bicton College, Darts Farm, Devoucoux, Equidry, Tack Room Distillery and Wyvern Equestrian who provided special prizes to our various winners.

Full results can be found here:

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