Eland Lodge success
A triumphant weekend for Soviet Suspect and Cold Blow Den at the Horseware National Hunter Trial Championships
The first weekend in October saw Eland Lodge in Derby host the National Cross Country Championships. This was the culmination of over 22,000 competitors across 5 classes at 175 venues through the year to qualify for this prestigious Championships Event.
Lauren Faggetter and Rebecca Wilman qualified again and attended on their two RoR’s Cold Blow Den and Soviet Suspect.
Soviet Suspect & Rebecca Wilman
Soviet Suspect (stable name Tiny due to being only 15.1hh) flat raced 3 times as a 2 year old but came last in all his races despite good breeding lines. He was then purchased by his racing groom and turned away.
The Wilman family purchased Tiny in January 2013 as a 4 year old project after he had been brought back into work and lightly schooled for a few weeks. It soon became apparent jumping was his love, especially cross country. Rebecca retrained Tiny and has competed him for the last 4 years in all disciplines including representing Bisley and Sandown Chase PC, Gordon’s School and Bookham RC in unaffiliated competitions, including competing at Hickstead and Blenheim.
Tiny has excelled in show jumping and hunter trials with dressage being his least favourite discipline (and Rebecca’s). He has also successfully team chased. For the second year running he has qualified for the RoR National Championship show at Aintree and is the current RoR National Champion at 1m show jumping and reserve Intro Dressage National Champion.
This was Tiny’s 4th year qualifying for Horseware Ireland Hunter Trials National Championships at Eland Lodge. Tiny is Rebecca’s first RoR and is a pleasure to own, he has matured into a horse of a lifetime.
Rudi, as he is known at home, previously raced only a couple of times on the flat but wasn’t successful finishing last. Lauren has owned him for 3 years, he had a brief kick start with an eventer but he wasn’t growing so was sold to Lauren.
Rudi had never competed when Lauren got him and had a basic start since racing, he had only been XC schooling once. But he took to XC like a duck to water and this is their 3rd year at the National Championships. They have jumped clear now in all 8 rounds at the champs in 3 years. Lauren and Rudi came 6th in their first pairs champs with another RoR winning their first ever pairs qualifier.
Rudi is now competing dressage (which Lauren isn’t keen on either), local RC level SJ finishing in the ribbons at the LSE Novice SJ, they were part of the winning team at their first RC Horse Trials and individually 6th.
Rudi has shown his versatility attending the London New Years Day Parade and has made several appearances at racecourses including Champions Day at Ascot last year as a painted demo horse – standing for 4 hours to be painted. He has been “meet the racehorse” at several racecourses and booked for two more painted demos.
Rudi is still work in progress with his SJ which hasn’t been as easy as his XC. However he won his first 80cm at the RoR regionals recently which left Lauren in tears of joy after a freak accident while Rudi was stood on the lorry tacked up having travelled the day before from Surrey to Aintree for the RoR Nationals so they didn’t even get to compete. Last year they didn’t attend Aintree after qualifying in SJ as Lauren didn’t feel he was ready to be competitive.
Rebecca and Lauren travelled the 312 mile round trip to the Horseware Ireland National XC Championships and it was certainly a challenge due to heavy rain and muddy conditions. A repeat of last years clear 80 round on Saturday in mud for Lauren and Rudi who were 7 seconds too fast finishing 21st of 127 finalists. Lauren was elated to discover they and won the highest placed RoR receiving £100 and a lovely Horseware RoR embroidered rug.
On Sunday the mud got a bit deeper but Tiny & Rudi jumped a lovely clear pairs (not placed in the top ten of the 70 pairs competing), they won the RoR prize of £60 and a Horseware RoR embroidered rug each! It was a thrilling ride (even if they came back needing a bar of Vanish for the white breeches) the horses were full of beans and jumped their best round over the undulating taxing course.
The plan went out the window when we got to the start box and Tiny went into team chase mode so they had seconds to agree to change the plan of Lauren leading to Tiny leading. There were a few hairy moments and knowing they are both excitable as a pair we planned to just get home safe and forget the dressing fence as the photographer provides a prize for the best dressed fence (which we won before). We did manage to dress the fence and give a wave but the main thing was to get round with 4 shoes and sound horses. Eland lodge worked tirelessly to avoid cancelling but it was a close call due to the rain.
Later on Sunday Rebecca and Lauren both rode in the 90 and were clear. Rebecca & Tiny finished runner up of 93 finalists just one second off the time and also gaining the highest RoR so another £100 and a RoR rug. Lauren finished 15th gaining runner up RoR prize of £50 with 4 seconds off the time.
Lauren and Rebecca were thrilled that the RoR recognised that cross country RoR’s deserve a championship prize fund and it proved to be a very lucrative weekend for the pair and their lovely former racehorses.
RoR is always interested to hear of other success stories so please email us and send a photograph of your own story.
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