Horse & Hound
Back-to-back wins for Liles
Dressage-turnedevent rider scores twice in a row at intermediate, while home-bred mare delights
South of England (2), Sussex
FOR the second weekend in a row, Ben Liles topped an intermediate section with his own Westceffyl Kingsdway Lad. The previous week at Pontispool, the pair had won despite tapping out a showjump, whereas here they kept a completely clean jumping sheet, adding just a smattering of time-penalties to a dressage score of 27.1.
“There are enough downs in this sport, so it’s great to be on a high,” said Ben, who took on the gelding four years ago and started off his eventing career. “He’d done a bit when I got him, but he hadn’t evented. He won three of his first four events, so on paper everything looked brilliant, but in reality he was quite tricky.
He’s finally settling consistently for the dressage and everything’s coming together.”
Ben, who runs a yard adjoined to the event site at Moreton, Dorset, and coaches a lot of riders at all levels, is also a well-known face on the dressage circuit. He spent several winters in America, training with the Olympic dressage rider Tina Konyot.
“My dressage background has really helped this horse, as I’ve ridden him at high-profile shows like the Dressage Masters Championship at Hickstead and several regional finals, so he’s had exposure to big atmospheres,” said Ben, who hopes to move the gelding up to four-star level next season.
Pippa Funnell topped the open intermediate with the promising Billy Wonder, while the second intermediate went to her pupil, Tom Jackson, on Ask For Manchier.
Counselling psychologist Charlotte Ord and Mike and Sally Marley-Ward’s home-bred Scarlet Tamarind headed one of the competitive novice sections.
“Mike and Sally have been volunteering at this event for the past 40-odd years, so it was fantastic for them to have a win here,” said Charlotte, who teamed up with the 10-year-old mare earlier in the season.
“This was only our second novice together – before that I hadn’t ridden at novice level for 15 years,” she added.
Another long-standing volunteer at South of England saw her home-bred romp home in front. Becky Rignall, who is often found manning the dressage warm-up, watched her 21-yearold gelding, Burntwood Sorrel, head a BE100 section.