by Fionn Crinson
The year started off with a high when the second team commenced the season with a home competition at our centre, Court Equestrian. Home competitions create a lot of nerve and being the first competition, it sets the standards for the rest of the year. That didn’t phase the team of Captain Rachel Childs (3rd year Student Physiotherapist), Lucie Beard (3rd year Primary Education), Evie Kilburn-Thompson (2nd year Student Paramedic) & Ella Miall (1st year Sport Business Management) who rode brilliantly for a well-deserved team first! At her BUCS debut, Ella M impressed the judge to end on a double zero (the best score attainable) and land individual first with Evie sixth and Lucie seventh.
After the high of the second team win, the first team, consisting of Captain Fionn Crinson (3rd year Student Paramedic), Millie Cooper (3rd year Computing), Csenge Barna (2nd year Graphic Design, Marketing and Advertising) & Ella Humphreys (1st year Student Physiotherapist), travelled to Birmingham to continue the success. Not to be outdone, each rider rode 2 tactful rounds for team second with Millie individual second at her BUCS debut and Ella H sixth.
The third team were last to start their season in Loughborough and as it’s the first season the club has contested three teams, with three riders making their BUCS debut, club chair Fionn Crinson joined for support. Not that Captain Charlotte Ankcorn (3rd year Student Nurse), Molly Gibbard (2nd year Sports Coaching Science), Maria Dawes (1st year Law) & Kathy Fletcher (1st year Student Paramedic) required any support, as they navigated very difficult horses and a tricky course for team third. This day was not without entertainment from Kathy who fell off not once but twice, in the most impressive way, and was more concerned if we got it on video rather than her health. Thankfully she was fine and lives to fight another day!
In the new year, the standards were set high as the teams went into Round 2 with both the first and second team competing on the same day. Due to a non-related horse injury Fionn Crinson was ruled out of the BUCS season with a broken shoulder and Ella Miall was brought up. The competition in Warwick also saw a last-minute addition of Sophie Dimambro (1st year Student Paramedic), originally a reserve rider, for her BUCS debut. The team changes did not dampen the hard work and impressive skills seen over a very full up jumping course on inexperienced horses. The team gained another second, with Ella M individual fourth and Millie sixth. A special mention must go to Sophie who gained individual ninth, just missing out on qualification points, after not jumping over 95cm at a competition before – the club are incredibly proud.
Over in Newport at Harper Adams the second team trio of Rachel, Evie and Maddi Watson (3rd year Student Nurse) rode brilliantly. Due to the last-minute rider changes the team started on a disadvantage with only three riders, but they did not let this hinder their performance. They gained team fourth and lots of smiles around, especially after Maddi’s unfortunate fall in the show jumping phase. The third team have their second round at the end of February which has given them plenty of time to get multiple training sessions in, especially due to it being a home competition.
At the halfway point of the mini-league rounds, the first and second teams are currently second and the third team third in their leagues, pole position for team regional qualifications. In the individual rankings Millie Cooper is currently third in the Championship league in an individual qualifying spot, with Ella Miall and Ella Humphreys close behind!
The riders have represented their club exceptionally well showing true sportsmanship, congratulating other teams and with their heads held high if things did not go to plan. The addition of the new navy hair scrunchies and silk riding stocks (made from scratch by the chair and her mum) and beautiful Akuma Sports kit made the riders look beautiful whilst representing the university. A big thanks must go to our returning sponsor McDonalds who are very supportive and involved with the club and our charity work. Another thanks must go to the Students Union team for supporting us all along the way!
It’s all to play for with the next few rounds and varsity prep is well underway. With the talent shown over these past few months, we look forward to attacking the competition with pride.