Really good eventing mares are like gold dust in the sport and should be recognised. The highest-placed mares at the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials received £850 vouchers from the Gemini Stud, to be used on a stallion there within three years.
The winner of this accolade in the CCI4*L was Chris and Lisa Stone’s Jalapeno, a 13-year-old by the Stones’ 2015 Badminton winner, Chilli Morning, and ridden into fourth place by Gemma Tattersall.
“I’m so proud of that little mare because she has had just one OI [open intermediate] run since injuring herself in the stable at Houghton in May,” said Gemma.
“It was a tiny injury but she had to have time off to fix it and she’s since been swimming and treadmilling loads and loads. I’ve hardly been to the gallops. So I was very scared, but it worked; she was pretty much foot-perfect and gave me the most wonderful ride. She winged the first three cross-country fences and that set the tone for the whole round. She was so smooth.”
In the CCI4*S, the prize went to Becky Stones’ Miss Pepperpot, third under Caroline Harris. Miss Pepperpot (pictured below) is by the great showjumping stallion Peppermill, a British team medallist and Olympic ride for John Whitaker. He is now 24 and still being used for breeding, in Belgium.
Becky, who manages Ridgeway Stud, is more usually seen on the showjumping circuit, but she used to compete in eventing and says that “the dream” was always to produce an event horse.
“I have four eventers I bred myself, all with Caroline, and watching them is beyond satisfying. It’s so nerve-racking – they are my children – but to see a little piece of Peppermill going round is just wonderful.”
There was one stallion competing at Blenheim Palace this weekend. PSH Promise Me completed the CCI4*-L in 47th place with a good clear cross-country round under Gloucestershire-based rider Michael Jackson. Owned by Gary Power, PSH Promise Me is a 13-year-old by Ulysses. The diminutive grey completed the CCI4*-L at Blenheim Palace in 2017 also, and the CCI4*-L at Bramham in 2018.
“He’s a real-life unicorn,” said Michael. “He loves competing and gets quite excited about it, but he was brilliant across country yesterday – foot-perfect – and I’m very proud of him.”