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Date: 17th October 2018

Around 500 riders took on fences designed by Olympic cross-country course builder Adrian Ditcham in two days of packed classes at Askham Bryan College’s annual British Eventing (BE) fixture.

Despite heavy rain on the Saturday, there were high numbers of finishers in all 14 sections at the York land-based college.

Animal Management and Equine Curriculum Director Jo Richards said:

“It was brilliant watching the students work together and to be able to cheer current and former students in their successful competing over the weekend. We have been overwhelmed with the positive feedback from riders and visitors; in particular how professional the students and staff were, how organised the event was and how well the reversed course rode.”

The Open Novice was won by Mollie Mills on Fune D or M, finishing on her dressage mark of 30.5 penalties, ahead of Jessica Walton on Drewmain Star Attraction and Sophie Brown on Sarchie.

There was triumph for Lucy Sugden, a current Askham Bryan College apprentice based with event horse producers Heidi and Ian Woodhead at Sheriff Hutton, who took the Novice Section M with her mare Elbandani.

It was a third consecutive win for the nine-year-old mare by Verdi, following successes at Richmond and Bishop Burton.

She finished on her dressage score of 31.30 penalties. Elbandani was formerly showjumped by Paul Barker before Lucy took the ride two years ago.

Elbandani will showjump over the winter before going to the Novice Regional Finals, with Lucy, who lives near Potto, hoping to reach the Novice Championships at Gatcombe. If all goes to plan, she will move up to Intermediate next year.

Lucy’s other ride, five-year-old I Am Quality DHI, who she owns with the Woodheads, took third in the BE100 Section I with a double clear, finishing with just 0.4 cross-country time penalties.

Lucy’s long-term ambition is to event professionally.

Another College apprenticeship student, Sara Moss-Gibbons, was delighted with eighth in her first BE90, riding her own Chester XXII, and with only five penalties between the top eight finishers.

Sara, who is working at Parbold Equestrian Centre, inherited the ride from her parents and her success follows her first BE80 last year. She said Chester, who is of unknown breeding which may include Shire, had jumped what she felt was quite a technical course very well and she hoped to step up to BE100 next year.

Second year Level 3 Equine Management student Charlie Wells was among the finishers in Novice Section M with her Welsh Section D mare Newgrove Lass but, after a clear in the showjumping, 20 jumping penalties and 2.8 time penalties on the cross-country dropped her down the placings.

Askham Bryan College has hosted a BE event since 2010, working with BE Technical Adviser Adrian Ditcham who designs and builds courses across the UK and abroad, including project managing and building the course at the London 2012 Olympics.

A former Intermediate level eventer, Adrian is also a Technical Sector Steward at Badminton Horse Trials and has built courses for Burghley Horse Trials.

Around 150 students from a range of courses at Askham Bryan were involved in the organisation, from preparing jumps and removing stock fencing on the course, to providing flower arrangements for the marquee and many other planning and preparation tasks needed to host such a complex event.

During the event students assisted the dressage judges, worked as an arena party for the showjumping section and helped with horsebox and car parking.

Askham Bryan College offers a range of equine courses, from Level 2 Horse Care courses focussing on equitation or horse management, Level 3 courses, Foundation degrees in Equine Science and a BSc (Hons) degree in Equine Science and student numbers continue to increase, with a 20 per cent rise this year.

The College also offers two levels of Apprenticeship schemes, combining on-the-job training with College-based study with students overseen by a team of assessors who visit them at their place of work.

Equine facilities at the College include large indoor and outdoor arenas and three indoor yards with stabling and support for up to 50 horses.

Students can work with a variety of horses, from grass roots to competition level and tutors have a wide range of specialist qualifications and practical experience, including international equine sport management.

Students are able to take advantage of living on campus in purpose-built accommodation with access to social and sports events and facilities including the gym and refectory.

Places are still available on some courses and the College is holding a series of Open events for potential students, with a Higher Education Open Day taking place on Saturday 20 October. 

For more information please see or call 01904 772277.

To book onto a Taster Day or Open Day visit

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Askham Bryan College,
Askham Bryan,
YO23 3FR
01904 772277