|Laura Collett & Rayef | Open Intermediate Winners on a score of 25.0 (Dressage 21.4!)|
Salperton is hosted by Rayef's owner, Jason Houghton, on the most wonderful undulating parkland of magnificent, clover rich pasture. Walker Logistics, another Patron of Laura's were sponsors at the event, making this very much the Collett Eventing Team Show.
|Chris King Racing Home To Take 2nd In AI Section F On Idol Hero|
This being the heart of the Cotswolds, the course has plenty of steep inclines and descents on the way round, making it easy to bowl along on the forehand or run out of steam if not careful, but Laura & Rayef just sailed round, as did another of the leading Kings of this sport, Chris King. He rowed home one second over the optimum time looking every bit a NH jockey as he thundered past me on Idol Hero to finish second on a score of 28.9 behind yet another King, Kitty King, who won AI Section F on her dressage score of 27.9 aboard the fabulous little mare Zindante. By the way all of these King's are unrelated, and with so many of them being announced (Mary [King] also made an appearance) I incorrectly tweeted earlier today that Chris had won this section. I'm very much looking forward to seeing more of these two horses and the Kings later this season (weather permitting).
|Chris Burton & Holstein Park Leilani | A Nice Quiet Run|
|Andrew Nicholson | Like A Subaru In Cruise Control - Quick & Economical On Cross Country|
|Coral Keen | A Good Defensive Seat!|
Salperton Horse Trials will definitely become a permanent fixture in my calendar from now on, and a firm favourite. With many shared characteristics to those lost to Highclere's demise and lovely flowing novice and intermediate tracks I hope my next visit will see my camera replaced by a horse. It has been simply great to watch some of the hungry amateurs and world's best compete & have fun in such wonderful surroundings. Sadly, I suspect, for Sunday's Novice the bell has tolled, it has been raining non-stop since the close of play today, so it's bound to be cancelled (check the BE site & twitter feed for updates)
I'll leave you with a gallery of photos from Intermediate day at Salperton to enjoy - in particular look out for the variety of facial expressions on riders faces! ("if everybody looked the same.....")