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Rene retains his unbeaten record

Rene Schoop scores his sixth success of the season in the horse tandems.

Remaining unbeaten this season, experienced horse tandem driver, Rene Schoop, scored his sixth win of the year at the Cirencester Park Horse Driving Trials. Driving his Lippizaners/trotters in their 11th year of competition, Rene’s solid marathon and cones round clinched the victory from Colin Allen and Jimmy Robson, who finished second and third respectively.

Rene has been using his new horse, a Russian Trotter mare, in the dressage but, he said: “This was her last chance – if she did not improve here, I was going to sell her as a riding horse. Changing her feed has done the trick and she altered dramatically, giving us our best dressage score this year.”

In its second year as a reinstated event, the trials attracted more than 120 national competitors. Four obstacles were rebuilt and the five-section marathon was almost entirely over farm, forest and park tracks. The final obstacle, which featured a bridge, was incorporated into Sunday’s cones course to a few competitiors’ consternation.

The horse teams class gave Karen Bassett her first success of the season. Leading from start to finish, Karen, a member of the British team in the World Four-in-Hand Championships in Belgium later this month, said: “At last it feels as if I have my old team back.”

Richard Margrave was in second throughout, while Barry Capstick’s good cones round secured him thrid place.

Gerogina Frith’s exemplary driving proved her invincibility once again in the pony teams and a lead that increased from 16.3 to 60.5 by the end of the competition demonstrated this. In spite of a severe scratch on one eye, which had affected her vision earlier in the week. Anna Grayston drove a good marathon to come up from third place to second and she retained this position from Alison Leggett in the final result.

In the horse pairs, Andrew Williams scored a spectacular victory, his usual good marathon moving him to second place from fourth after the dressage. In the lead up until the final phase, John Pickford, driving national horse pairs champion, Brian Belsham’s horses, sadly had a momentary block as he came over the bridge in the cones and lost his way, which cost him dear in time-faults and dropped him to second place.

Sarah Garnett notched up her third win in the single horse, driving her seasoned Gelderlander, Deemster. Her magnificent 27 dressage score, gained in spite of making, she says, “three mistakes in rein handling during the test”, gave her a good early lead. But she was closely challenged by Richard Fisher’s storming marathon and superb double clear in the cones, which earned him second place.

In the single pony, Rachel Stevens claimed her first victory of the season with her chirpy 13-year-old Connemara, Buttons. Second was Paul Chambers, whose Tyllwyn Taran was off form following back problems.

Felicity Ruffe won the novice horse class, beating Janice Walsh into second place. Heather Kinner continued her successful season with a win in the novice pony.





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