Addington Show Jumping Finals – Ratcliffe Equestrian Team

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Addington Manor Show Jumping Finals is a prestigious event held over 3 days with over 800 competitors from England, Scotland and Wales (who were successful in qualifying) taking part. Ratcliffe successfully qualified two teams in the 90cm class and also two riders qualifying for a range of individual classes.

The teams for the 90cm class consisted of Charlotte Huband with two horses, Lauren Bates with two horses, Carrick Anderson with two horses and Isabella White and Katie Winston, both with one horse each. Lauren Bates competed in the 1m and the 1.10m class individually and Carrick Anderson competed individually in the 85cm.

The teams and individuals had qualified earlier in the year at Princethorpe College and at Arena UK, at the Belvoir High School event.  These fabulous results here and at other venues allowed Ratcliffe to retain the title of best school in our region for the 3rd year running! (Thus making us County Champions!)

Although the competition was not until the Friday, work had well and truly begun weeks before in training of the horses and riders to make sure we were all up to scratch and the Thursday was spent bathing, plaiting grooming and exercising the horses,  as well as loading up the lorries and packing our bags for the night away camping!

The day began for the Friday’s team (Charlotte Huband, Isabella Whyte, Lauren Bates and Katie Winston) at 5am and we arrived at Addington Manor at approximately 9am to enable us to walk and learn the show-jumping course before the start of the class. There were over 35 teams and over 165 riders and we were not on until 11am.  This gave us the chance to meet with Mrs Cushing who came to support us and also get our horses (and riders) looking their very best and warmed up as best they could. The team put in a very respectable performance to finish on a total of 4 penalties and fast times which, although this meant we didn’t qualify for the evening performance , it did mean we finished in the top 10 schools in Britain. Later on in the Friday afternoon, Lauren Bates competed both her horses in the 1m and 1.10m classes as an individual,  putting in respectable performances and narrowly missing out on the prizes!

We finally had a chance to sit down for lunch for half an hour and by now most of us were very tired. So the rest of the afternoon was spent cleaning the tack and lorry, feeding and cleaning the horses and making up and settling the horses into their temporary stables, which just so happened to be the furthest away from the water tap and very muddy!  Carrying the vast amounts of water that horses drink therefore became a very messy and hard task!

Finally we could relax and went for tea in the on-site restaurant before returning to the lorries and having a good night’s sleep, to be up nice and early for the national championships on the Saturday!

Saturday morning began a little later at 7.30am where we had to feed the horses and sort out their stables and rugs. We also went on a short ride around the park to stretch the horses’ legs as we were not competing until after lunch.

On the Saturday we had both teams riding and every horse and rider in action, proving to be a busy day! The first team was Charlotte Huband, Lauren Bates, Carrick Anderson and Katie Winston (Charlotte, Lauren and Carrick all on their first rides of the day!) and put in a super performance to finish again on a team total of just 4 over a particularly testing course.  We finished 9th as a team out of over 40 teams and nearly 200 riders!  This performance means that Ratcliffe College is ranked 9th in England Scotland and Wales! The second team consisting of Charlotte, Carrick, Lauren and Isabella also put in an equally good performance to finish on a team total of 8 faults and still finished in the top 15 schools! Both incredible achievements!!

For most of us it was time to go home after a great few days at the championships! But On the Sunday, Carrick Anderson competed individually in the 85cm class and finished 9th out of nearly 200 competitors! An outstanding achievement!

Overall some fantastic results and a very fun weekend with a huge effort put in by everyone! Thank you to the school for your financial support which enabled us to compete at this event and thank you to Mrs Cushing who gave up part of her holiday to come and watch and support us! Also thank you to Katie’s dad for taking some fantastic photos over the weekend!

The team would also like to acknowledge the hard work put in by team manager Catherine Ellis, who trains the team on a regular basis and also to Linda Winston who organises the entries and administration for the team, and last but not least, all the mums and dads for giving up all their weekends in all weathers to support the team.

By Charlotte Huband, Team Captain.