Over the stable door: Yorkshire riders to represent Britain

Country Week columnist Jo Foster.  Picture by Tony Johnson.
Country Week columnist Jo Foster. Picture by Tony Johnson.
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Massive celebrations are afoot in Yorkshire eventing circles this week following the announcement that two Northern lads have been selected to represent Britain at the FEI Nations Cup in the USA in July.

Ben Hobday from Morpeth will be riding the 15-year-old ‘super cob’ Mulrys Error, owned by Sally Ryle from Ilkley. Ben has ridden for his country before but it’s a first for Mulry so the super cob’s fan club will swiftly be extending trans-Atlantic.

York-based James Sommerville has also been selected to ride on his first cap for Britain. James will be taking his own and his mother Jennifer’s gifted horse ‘Talent’ to Virginia. The pair completed Bramham in seventh place last weekend.

Britain holds first place in the Nations Cup Eventing standings so far in 2017 after coming second in the first three legs of the nine-leg series.

Another Yorkshire yard in the throes of celebration this week is that of Guy and Freya Brewer in Malton. The couple won the Champion Hunter Chase at Stratford last weekend with point to pointer Young Hurricane, beating hot competition including the Irish champion hunter chaser Balnaslow. The 11-year-old gelding, who had won three races in the last five years, received a brilliant ride from John Dawson, who played a cool waiting game to surge clear of the favourite after a great leap at the last to win at 16-1. The victory came as a welcome surprise to all involved.

The Brewers are a popular couple amongst the Yorkshire pointing fraternity. Alongside training Guy works at Askham Bryan College and Freya at a local vet’s practise.

The result was a change of luck for jockey John Dawson who, the previous week, had spent his second wedding anniversary in hospital supporting his wife Alice who was recovering from major back surgery.

Alice, a shepherdess, was involved in a nasty pile up at Hexham point to point and broke vertebrae in numerous areas of her back leaving it unstable. She spent two weeks laid on her back following the operation, which entailed a scary number of pins and screws.

Understandably the fall has led to her retirement from race riding but this shepherdess is a woman of many talents. Not only a top Yorkshire jockey who struck up a great partnership with Holderness huntsman Charlie Clark’s horse, Rumble of Thunder, this season but she is also a champion sheep shearer.

Alice is now glad to be back at home to keep a closer eye on her horses and the farm. I bet not being able to pick up those sheep shearers is driving her crazy.