Littleton Manor Equestrian Centre Hunter Trial 24th October 2020
Words & Photos by Julian Portch
One hundred and ninety four competitors came out of the start box at the LMEQ Hunter Trial, near Reigate in Surrey, to attempt the Willis Brothers' cross country course, consisting of 80cm and 90cm tracks for individuals and pairs, plus a 100cm track for individuals. Thirty one competitors were beaten by the track, but what else would you expect from the builders of the Badminton Horse Trials cross country course?
Cold, but dry, weather greeted the morning competitors in the 80cm individual and pairs classes, but this soon turned to misty, drizzly rain. Competitors were running under Covid-19 rules, with social distancing and signs around the venue showing “Arrive – Compete – Depart".
A nice treat for the younger riders and equestrian social media fans was the entry of Esme Higgs, AKA This Esme, in her very first hunter trial and on her new five, nearly six year old, thoroughbred Joey (Cavorting Law). I captured them over fence two, on the early part of the course in the gallops section. They made it to the end of the course, but sadly were eliminated on technicalities. It was a very good effort for their first hunter trial and I very much look forward to seeing more of this partnership. For the Facebook users here, click on the following link to see This Esme’s photos from the event on our NagMag FB Page.
Due to the wet conditions the riding got tougher, but the smiling competitors kept passing me, nothing was going to stop them enjoying this 2020 hunter trial. By the end of the day, the weather was slowly lightening up and everyone looked as if they had thoroughly enjoyed the competition.
Thanks must go to Kate and Matt Tarrant of Littleton Manor Equestrian Centre for organising and running a great day. A big shout out must also go to the army of volunteers for fence judging, starting, time keeping, etc, to make the day run smoothly and safely. Here’s to some more competition in 2021.
Please see the photo gallery of the section winners.