Bicton Arena was a hive of activity on the first day of competition for the May International Horse Trials. In the Southfield Arena, the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse four and five-year-old qualifiers got underway mid-morning, showcasing the eventing stars of the future.

The DBYEH series is a hugely popular competition that culminates in the final held at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials in September. The series aims to encourage breeders and trainers to produce and present the type of young horse which is considered to be the best material to make a world-class three-day event horse.

The judges look for an athletic, loose moving horse with a promising jumping technique and the correct attitude. The winner is the horse with the highest overall marks from four sections: Dressage, Jumping, Suitability & Type and Potential to Gallop.

In the four-year-old class, Anna Johannson took the win on her own and the horse’s breeder, Clare Crocker’s Camira De Madford. With the highest scores in the class for the showjumping (31) and gallop (4.5), Plum as the mare is affectionately known at home, took a clear lead, three points ahead of second placed Torie Sleep and Clever.

Anna comments, “It was the perfect introduction to eventing for Plum, made even more special as she is a homebred. It’s always a bit of the unknown how they will respond to something new, but she seriously impressed us all, and thankfully impressed the judges too. The course and the whole day was just perfect for the babies, so inviting and forgiving. I am so excited to see what the future holds for Plum after a well-deserved long holiday!”

The five-year-old class followed which saw 23 partnerships compete for the win, which was eventually taken by Tom Rowland and Odynn De Jeu. The 17.2 gelding is owned by well-known International Dressage rider and trainer, Pammy Hutton and was bred, as the name might suggest, by Emmy de Jeu, breeder of top quality KWPN dressage horses. This horse has quite the dressage pedigree being out of Idonnee De Jeu by Escamillo, the silver and bronze medallist at the World Championships for young dressage horses. It would seem that Odynn De Jeu has left his dressage roots behind in favour of eventing with some early success at Bicton today.

“Pammy is my next door neighbour at the Talland School of Equitation and I often help by jumping her four-year-olds. Brought unbroken as a three-year-old from Mark Bosanko, he seems a natural over a fence and really enjoys it, so it was an easy transfer to make from dressage. He’s going to be doing his first BE100 in a couple of weeks, which we are excited about,” said Tom.

Helen West, Co Director at Bicton added, “It’s great to have the DBYEH at Bicton, it’s an important qualifier in the South West and these classes provide a great opportunity to showcase up and coming talent. The set up was perfect for the young horse’s education, giving them a quiet area with well-prepared ground to give them a confident and welcoming experience to begin their competitive careers.”

These horses are sure to have an exciting future ahead. This competition is widely recognised as a great opportunity to see the stars of the future, with many winners of the series going on to win top level competitions.

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