Developed by Kate in 2010, this class offers riders the chance to compete their eight and nine year old horses at the top level of the national sport for one of the largest prize pots on the British Eventing circuit. The Dassett Eventing 8/9 Advanced Class is held at Ann and Nigel Taylor’s Washbrook Farm, Aston le Walls, and runs in late July. It has become a firm favourite in the British Eventing calendar.
Following the unfortunate cancellation of the much-loved Chatsworth horse trials, Nigel Taylor stepped up and the team at Aston-Le-Walls held a stand-in fixture to replace the lost international classes. Having supported the now infamous Dassett Eventing A8/9yo class for the last decade, we felt privileged and excited to be named as title sponsors of Aston’s first ever CCI4*-S class.
The competition didn’t disappoint, with some incredible results from both established combinations and emerging talents. The menacing thunderclouds were no distraction to the world-class field of over 200 combinations; after some stunning dressage tests and foot-perfect showjumping rounds it was all to play for out on the cross country. Mike Etherington-Smith designed possibly the toughest track seen at Aston, but there were some seriously impressive cross-country rounds throughout the day, leaving no margin for error at the top of the scoreboard.
Section A was headed by LAURA COLLETT and LONDON 52 – last year’s Pau CCI5* winners, who led from start to finish to complete on their 20.5 dressage score. They were followed by Izzy Taylor and Monkeying Around (22.9) and Tom McEwen riding Toledo De Kerser (23.0).
In section B, ROS CANTER and rising star LORDSHIPS GRAFFALO won the section on their 21.8 dressage, as a couple of seconds’ time faults dropped Piggy March and Brookfield Quality to second with 23.3. Third placed Kitty King and Cristal Fontaine finished on 24.5 with a brilliant double clear.
Unfortunately, the Covid restrictions meant it was impossible to hold the prizegiving ceremony we would all have liked, but we’d like to offer a huge congratulations to the competitors who gave us a fantastic competition.
I wanted to finish by saying a massive thank you to Nigel and the team at Aston for putting on this event. The big international classes at the start of the year are a key part of the international calendar, and I am sure everyone was hugely grateful for the opportunity to compete. Over 200 of the world’s best combinations were in attendance, and we were honoured to put our company name to such an exciting and top-class competition.