|Fabulous Sunshine For The Grassroots Finale|
Under outstanding April sun, over 150 competitors rose to the challenge of the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championships. Thus, realising their dream of competing on the hallowed Badminton turf.
This year's cross country course ran in a clock-wise direction mimicking the four star route. Designed by James Willis and built by the renowned Willis Brothers, the Grassroots course took on elements of the four star track and merged them into their own course.
In a field of 53 starters in the BE100 Championship the winner was Kelly Turner riding her own 'Talented Boy'. Aptly named 'Talented Boy', is a 17.1hh, 11 year old gelding by Voltaire. Kelly finished on her dressage score of 25.8. From Mill Hill, Kelly juggles being a mother of a three year old son and her passion for eventing.
Runner up was Somerset based Kathy Emery with 'The Witham Widget' finishing 2 marks behind the winner on her dressage score of 27.8. Kathy (46) is a freelance riding instructor from near Frome.
In third place was 'A' Level student, Lucyanna Westway (17) from Ewhurst, Surrey riding her own 'Raindance III'. Lucyanna attends Hurstwood College, near Cranleigh.
In the BE90 Championship the winner, with a clear margin ahead of the next competitor, was Alexandra Farrar-Fry (20) from Drewsbury, West Yorkshire. Riding 'Diamond Trefoil' owned by Marium Haque, they finished on their dressage score of 26. Alexandra is a part time NHS nurse whilst working toward her BHS teaching qualifications.
The runner up place went to 52 year old mother of six, Frances Davies riding 'Dark Pretender'. A Corporate Financier in the city, she lives with her family in Blackheath and relies on the support of Sally Rowe who looks after her horses in Kent.
Third place went to Caroline Bridge (48) from Suffolk riding 'Leonidas 103'. Caroline also rides in British Dressage competitions up to Prix St George level with her horse 'Don George'
Managing Director of Mitsubishi Motors, Lance Bradley, said of the competition; “ The Grassroots Championships have added another dimension to the experience of Badminton. After having such a long involvement at the top level of eventing with Badminton's international competition, it's a real pleasure to be able to support Grassroots competitors, who are just as valuable to the sport.”
In the main CCI4* competition, 85 horses were presented in front of Badminton house at the First Horse inspection. As has become tradition the riders made every effort to impress the ground jury with their sense of fashion and style.
Friday morning, 2010 European Young Rider Gold medallist, Emily Parker riding Treefers will ride the 'guinea pig test' to help prepare the ground jury before the first competitor canters down the centre line at 10.a.m.