Dream close to reality

IT has gone from being a dream for late start eventer Ruth Dickens to fingers crossed as the South Yorkshire Police officer heads for her first international three-day event.

Last September, I reported on her heading to Gatcombe to ride Old Springfield Amber in the Military Novice section, restricted to Service staff and police officers.

Dickens, from Doncaster, takes up the story. "In the follow up article 'Dickens of a Weekend' you finished with the quote that we needed two more qualifying completions at novice and at a two-day to qualify for our first international, the article finishing 'Everybody Needs a Dream'.

"Well we completed at Aldon two-day, and also at our first completion this year at Bradwall, both with qualifying scores.

"With much trepidation we are now entered for the Burgie CCI* International three-day event, from June 17-20."

They are practicing hard at their weak phase, show-jumping, at nearby Sykehouse arena and have survived a scare with their lorry having clutch trouble.

The 10-and-a-half hours journey from Doncaster to Burgie is to be the longest yet for horse and rider. "But we are looking forward to it tremendously because everyone says it is a wonderful, friendly event," she adds.

"By next week, we shall find out if their are any more unexpected spanners in the works. Right now, I have my head in the books working out times in metres per minute for Sections A, B, C, D and wondering exactly what is required for the mysterious 10-minute box.

" I am from a non-horsy background and a late starter to eventing, not competing in my first event until I was over 30-years-old. I work full time and the horses are very much a family hobby, with mother and husband playing their part – they both actually joint own Amber. When quoted in last September's Yorkshire Post it did really seem to be just a dream – now it's fingers crossed."

Ruth has been in the South Yorkshire force for 15 years and in the mounted section for 10. She is a mounted trainer assessor and operational officer.

PRIZE money for this year's Great Yorkshire show jumping events will total 19,550.

The top event has a new sponsor and will be known this year as the Hornbeam Park Cock o'the North Championship.

The William Hanson stakes becomes the Masons Textiles William Hanson Stakes after the Skipton company which makes the Yorkshire Agricultural Society's new ties and the Badsworth becomes the wbs (Chartered Accountants) Badsworth Stakes.

Ancient breed on parade

THE under-threat Yorkshire breed, the Cleveland Bay, will be on parade at this year's Royal Show.

The Cleveland Bay Horse Society has been invited with other British horse and pony breeds to take part in a display at the show in Stoneleigh Park on July 4-7.

The ancient Yorkshire breed remains high on the Rare Breed Survival Trust's critical list.

Nigel Cowgill of the CBHS said: "The Royal Show is the country's premier agricultural show and it presents the ideal opportunity to promote the Cleveland Bay to a wider audience.

"There are a lot of people out there from non-equestrian backgrounds who attend the show and are unaware of the plight of the Cleveland Bay and we welcome the chance to speak to them and answer any questions when they visit the stand."

The horses representing the breed on Sunday and Monday are Whitehouse Sheriff, owned by Mr and Mrs Paul Heathcote and ridden by Mrs Michaela Heathcote, and Oakenbank Grenadier, owned by Mrs Jean Morgan and ridden by Pippa Morgan. Both are National Stallion Association performance tested stallions.

On the Tuesday and Wednesday, the breed will be represented by Harrington Magnus, owned and ridden by Mrs Inger Penistone-Bird and Harrington Here and Now, owned and ridden by Mrs Rona Parry.

Aiming for Lincoln

QUALIFIERS for this year's Derby House-sponsored British Riding Clubs' National Championships are hotting up with members vying for entry through to the two-day finals.

The championships take place at the Lincolnshire Showground, near Lincoln, on September 11 and 12 and are the highlight of the season for Riding Club members.

New initiatives this year include the finals of the Intermediate Show-jumping series.

The championships attract more than 1,500 riders, who compete in the area qualifiers around the country.

Derby House marketing director Paula Burrows said: "Qualifiers are now well underway and there has been some superb competition already this summer.

"The championships are a very prestigious occasion and an excellent end of the year celebration for members."

Classes include dressage, show-jumping, veteran horse and pony, riding tests, pairs and equitation, at a wide range of levels from novice to open.

Emma Spivey, head of Riding Clubs, said: "The qualifiers are going very well and we are delighted with the large numbers."