Wenlo riders celebrate championship success
WENLO Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Group is celebrating after eight of its members represented the North Midlands Region in RDA UK’s Virtual National Championships, coming “home” with a haul of rosettes and Class Champions in Dressage and Countryside Challenge.
For the first time ever, the 2021 National Championships, like the Regional Qualifiers earlier in the year, were held virtually, with groups required to submit videos of all ridden tests for judging.
The Championship finals were livestreamed over the RDA website, Facebook and YouTube channels in a packed two-day programme mirroring the ‘real’ event which is usually held at Hartpury College in July. Over 4,000 tuned in to watch the event on YouTube alone.
In Dressage, Wenlo’s Errin Bowles, riding Rocky, took first place junior and Class Champion in the ID Walk &Trot class, while Isobelle Hardy, riding Clancy, took first place senior and Class Champion in the Partially VI - Walk Only class.
Luc Doherty, riding Ilar Gwry, was second junior in Led Walk & Trot; Jonathan Rigby, riding Maverick, was fourth junior in ID Walk Only; and Hannah Hardy-Smith, riding My Last Bob, was fifth junior in Grade 1-6 Walk & Trot.
Errin (11) started riding in 2018 and moved to Wenlo RDA Group in September 2020. This was her first time at the Nationals. Broadcaster Jenny Rudall and eventer Simon Grieve, who provided commentary throughout the two days of the event, were particularly impressed with Erin’s skilful and accurate riding.
Isobelle (22) - who is an ambassador for British Blind Sport - started riding when she was 19, after she lost her sight. “Isobelle says she rides because it makes her feel physically free and exhilarated,” Rudall and Grieve noted from the commentary box.
In addition to her first place at Dressage, Isobelle also came second in the Countryside Challenge VI Independent class, riding Clancy. Hannah HardySmith was second placed junior in the Countryside Challenge Independent, riding My Last Bob.
Kirsty Laing (26) overcame COVID to ride Clancy to first place senior and Class Champion in Countryside Challenge VI Independent. Two weeks prior to filming her entry, Kirsty contracted COVID-19 and spent six days in hospital. After being discharged from hospital Kirsty was desperate to be back in the saddle, completing her video just three days later - the day before the deadline for entries closed.
Wenlo’s Samantha Payne was placed second senior in Arts & Crafts - Photographic, and Tyler Daniels second senior in Paintings & Drawings. Tyler was also awarded fourth place in Collage.