The pair finished on their fantastic dressage score of 24.5 after storming around the jumping tracks without penalties and stealing victory from second-placed Brazilian rider, Marcelo Tosi. Philippa Henry wasn't too far behind, clinching third place on Chevalian Armagnac with just 0.3 penalties between them.
"I've had Joe since he was a newly-backed 4-year old," explains Alyson. "He was 16.1 hh when I got him, but he's now 17.1 hh. His passport says he's Westfalian, but we know he's part-bred giraffe!" It hasn't been an easy journey to this victory either, due to time out following a hock operation and the fact that Joe isn't the easiest ride at competitions. "He is very frightened of rattly or loud noises as well as tents and flags and can catapult from one side of a field to another, scattering everything in his wake, which makes warming up a little tricky sometimes." Despite this, Alyson loves him, describing him as "an honest and genuine horse". Staunch supporters are her son, Stevie, and her husband, Steve, who tells her, "I don't care whether you win, just don't go wrong!" Alyson epitomises the dedicated owner/riders for whom we organise this competition, because in Alyson's words, "I really do appreciate every moment!"
The Willow trophy for best turned out horse and rider was awarded to sixth-placed Jo Hales aboard her smart iron grey, Worthy Illusion. Eighth-placed Millie Simons on Facet, also very smartly turned out, received the Moose trophy for completing the crosscountry round closest to the optimum time.
Thank you once again to Smiths Lawn organiser, Tissie Reason and her team and to our wonderful sponsors: former Team GB trainer, Gill Watson, Protexin Equine, Equilibrium Trizone, Your Great Mind coaching, Crisy Salmon (Feel Good Forever Aloe Vera products), Cala and Garry Russell (Chester the eventer) and Nigel Taylor of Aston-le-Walls horse trials.
|Photo courtesy of Fiona Scott-Maxwell Photography|