David Barraclough's dreams of taking part in a three-day event are about to be fulfilled at the end of the month when he takes part in Scotland's first staging of the format for pre-novice horses.
Barraclough, 26, from Sutton on Derwent, York, is taking his horse With a Passion to Strathallan Castle in Perthshire, having qualified for the three-day event with a run of clear rounds cross-country.
British Eventing has opened up a whole new world to grass-roots riders by staging three-day events for pre-novice riders this season. It gives the weekend rider a chance to take in the atmosphere of the three-day event.
At Strathallan Castle, the competition will be the old long format event, including roads and tracks and a steeplechase phase.
Barraclough is a joiner with an ambition to run a yard of his own. The family have 15 horses which he sees to, turning them out before work and riding them when he gets home.
"He is working incredibly hard," said his mother, Elaine Barraclough. "It makes for long days but he loves horses and loves to see youngsters coming on.
"He is currently hoping for planning permission to build his own stables and concentrate on horses. He has tried to get horses to three-day events before, but there have always been snags and being able to qualify for the pre-novice event means he can take in the atmosphere of a proper, old-type, three-day event. He is certainly looking forward to it."
With a Passion, Bob at home, is a five-year-old thoroughbred gelding which David bought as an unbroken three-year-old. He backed it and brought it on himself and this is their first season eventing together.
They have had a long run of clear cross-country rounds to qualify for the Scottish competition.
Their first, at intro level, was at Ivesley and they collected ninth place. They went to Bishop Burton and collected a fourth at intro. Then at Skipton, this time in pre-novice they took seventh place. They went on to Northallerton and Aske Hall and continued their 100 per cent cross country-record.
Said Barraclough: "He's still a bit clumsy over show jumps sometimes, but his dressage is coming along nicely and he seems to love the cross-country. I can't wait to see how he copes with the roads and tracks."
His mother added: "People say they would love him to ride for them, but he has never done a three-day event. After Srathallan, he hopes he will be able to take off more in his eventing career.
"He does want, one day, to do Badminton and Burghley. This will be a first step towards that."
The North Eastern Driving Trials Group had 32 turnouts for their sponsored ride at Escrick Park near York and raised 2,420 for Martin House Hospice and Riding for the Disabled.
Students at Bishop Burton College's further education awards ceremony learned about life as a jockey and racehorse trainer from guest speaker Mark Pitman.
Mark, son of trainer-turned-author Jenny Pitman and former jockey Richard Pitman, told students of his time as a jockey – a career which saw him ride 300 winners, including a 1991 Cheltenham Gold Cup win on Garrison Savannah and a second in the Grand National in the same year.
After leaving school, Mark worked as a stable lad for David Nicholson and as a second jockey for Martin Pipe – a position which lasted 18 months. He was then offered first jockey position with his mother Jenny and spent 10 years with her.
Lesley hoping to be a star in the making
Calderdale Saddle Club is enjoying competition successes this season and several members are to take part in national finals.
Member Lesley Stutter is heading for the Horse of the Year Show at the NEC in Birmingham in October with her horse Phoenix Park after winning the Search for a Star ridden cob qualifier at Osbaldeston.
The club's horse trials team is heading for the national finals at Offchurch Bury in Warwickshire next month after winning the intermediate section at the BRC area horse trials at Bishop Burton.
Last year, Calderdale were placed second as a team in the novice section in the area trials and went on to the nationals.
This year, they stepped into the intermediate competition and took the honours.
The team is Kath Speaks with Monarchs Delight, Georgina Lindley with Tassyreigh Sunrise, Jane Mitchell on Gerig Victory and Nicki Harrison on Little Africa.
Kath Speaks placed second in her section and Nicki Harrison was third.
Now the team and the club are seeking to raise money to cover the 500 entry and stabling fees for the three-day event on August 4-6.
Saddle Club spokesman Ingrid Cooper said: "It is going to be excellent fun and a rare opportunity for them to compete at this level and participate in the full programme of eventing including the roads and tracks and steeplechase phase."
It is a sadder tale from Ilkley and District Riding Association which had some of its show-jumps stolen, the second time that thieves have struck.
Two years ago, they had a number of show- jumps stolen from their field at Denton Road, Ilkley and, says club spokesman Mandy Riley: "It took us a whole season of shows to build enough funds to replace them."
But on Friday, June 30, thieves took not only show-jumps worth up to 2,000, but the trailer to carry them, too.
"If anyone should come across or be offered any show-jumps we would be grateful if they contacted West Yorkshire Police."
The club put on a charity show at the weekend for the Horse and Pony Protection Association, despite the missing jumps
Shires, Brood mare with foal at foot: 1, F W O Richardson & Son, Mawstone Winnie; 2, B Winn, Liversedge Zoe.
Foal, colt, filly: 1, F W O Richardson & Son, Bewholme Aurora; 2, B Winn, Winestead Princess Amelia.
Yearling, colt, filly, gelding: 1, B Winn, Winestead Eleanor; 2, G Robinson, Metheringham Upton Amarillo; 3, J G Durrans, Phoenix Rose.
2-year-old filly/gelding: 1, J G Durrans, Phoenix Princess.
Barren mare/gelding/3 years & over: 1, M Bingham, Nornay Alison; 2, J Taylor, Prince; 3, M Bingham, Nornay Penny.
Pairs: 1, J Taylor, Prince & Beauty; 2, M Bingham, Nornay Alison & Nornay Penny.
Champion: Mawstone Winnie; Reserve: Winestead Eleanor. Shire Horse Silver Spoon: Winestead Eleanor.