The Dodson & Horrell 2018 Chatsworth International Horse Trials - photo special

Rosalind Canter at the Derbyshire Life jump

Rosalind Canter at the Derbyshire Life jump - Credit: Archant

Another great event in a beautiful setting...

The promise of thrilling cross-country action across the spectacular Derbyshire parkland was soon realised as Chatsworth delivered another exciting event for 2018. Crowds of spectators enjoyed both great sport and a range of entertainment.

Piggy French, on Jayne McGivern’s ‘Quarrycrest Echo’, followed a clear showjumping round with a superb display of fast, accurate cross-country riding. A Dodson & Horrell Ambassador, she headed an all-female line-up in the first leg of the Event Rider Masters (ERM) and went on to win the four CIC3* class in an impressive time of 6 min 5 sec – only the sixth rider to come in under the optimum time of 6 min 6 sec since 1999. Irish rider Sarah Ennis, winner of the Dodson & Horrell Challenge in 2014, was placed second and Britain’s Izzy Taylor took third on ‘Call Me Maggie May’.

‘I am so over the moon,’ said an elated Piggy French, who was celebrating her biggest win since returning to competition after the birth of her son Max 20 months ago. ‘I sat in my wagon waiting for my turn and said to myself “Come on, do something useful”! Above all, my horse deserves a great day like this.’

The Dodson & Horrell Challenge, however, was the preserve of the male riders, with 21-year-old Cathal Daniels from Calverstown, Co. Kildare winning two out of the three CIC3* sections with ‘Rioghan Rua’ and ‘Sammy Davis Junior’. The third section was taken by world number one Oliver Townend who perfectly judged the cross-country round to finish in 6 min 7 sec.

Wills Oakden was best male rider in eighth place, just ahead of William Fox-Pitt in ninth. For the second year running, Yorkshire rider Joanne Pullan was successful in the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse qualifier and Cheshire’s Caroline Basnett also booked a ticket for the BYEH finals at Burghley. The Derbyshire Life Trophy for the highest placed rider from the county went to Georgie Rockingham from Thorpe, near Ashbourne. Georgie and Ellie Healy from Bamford were the two highest placed Derbyshire Riders in the Novice Sections. Ellie also won the Brigadier Bill Trophy for the best novice rider living in Derbyshire, and received the poignant Izzy Squire Memorial Trophy, presented by Tracy Dodds in memory of her daughter, for the best rider on the East Midlands Junior programme. Izzy was a member of the local Barlow Pony Club.

Course-builder David Evans and his team received great praise for the excellent course while course-designer Ian Stark, after a four-year absence from competition, rode the Duchess of Devonshire’s home-bred ‘Chatsworth Diamond’ in the 100cm arena eventing class.

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There was plenty of entertainment in addition to equestrian sport, with the Yorkshire Countryman and his spaniels, ferrets and birds of prey, the Paws for Thought dog display team, the hilarious and informative Sheep Show, have-a-go Autarky dog agility and pottery painting.

‘We’ve had a thrilling weekend and it’s been an honour to be a part of such an impressive event,’ said Sam Horrell, CEO of Dodson & Horrell. ‘Sincere thanks to the army of volunteers who come here each year to support and ensure that everything runs smoothly. It’s been a fantastic weekend and wonderful to see so many competitors and spectators enjoying the atmosphere here at Chatsworth. We’re already looking forward to 2019!’