Located in breath-taking open countryside, in the beautiful village of Chiddingstone, Sevenoaks, lies a stunning and impressive equestrian gem. Set in 160 acres of woodland and pasture, Lockskinners Equestrian boasts a magnificent and extremely well-designed cross-country course.
On Sunday 6th October, Lockskinners hosted a Hunter Trial event which was open to anyone to take part.
Hunter trials are a single-phase competitive event where riders can compete as individuals or as pairs. Riders are marked at each jump with penalty points accrued for jumping faults (e.g. refusals and falls) and also for time faults (going too fast or too slow), a bogey time is set which encourages a safe speed for all competitors. The combination with the lowest number of penalties (and in case of a draw on penalties then the nearest to the bogey time will be used) will decide the winner.
Riders with varying levels of ability were able to compete at Lockskinners Hunter Trials, with a choice of five different classes. Each class varying in height, from Class 1, the clear round mini individual at 40cm (which was held in a separate ring), to Class 5, the open individual, seeing the pluckiest riders and horses take on the challenging 100cm course.
The ever-popular pairs event saw a total of 23 pairs competing in Class 2 at a height of 60cm. The pairs event sees a two horse and rider combination compete over the cross-country course together, either side by side or one after the other, with penalties accrued for each individual rider which are tallied together for a total.
The event was won by Dilyn and Emma Arro in a fantastic time of 3 minutes 29 seconds with no penalty points accrued.
Class 3, the Novice individual, was the most popular class of the day with a turnout of 40 riders and horses competing. At a height of 60cm the class is able to meet the demands of varying riders’ abilities, from the young inexperienced rider to the older, but equally inexperienced rider, which encapsulates all that is great about these events.
11-year-old Bella and her pony Rocky finished joint 6th in a time of 5 minutes 43 seconds. Bella’s mum was absolutely thrilled with her achievement, telling Sevenoaks Sports “This was Bella’s first ever Hunter Trial!”. A truly fantastic achievement from the daring youngster.
The class was eventually won by Emilia Rogers in a time of 3 minutes 21 seconds, just three seconds off the bogey time and with no penalty points accrued.
The Lockskinners event then takes a break for lunch, cue the sounds and smells of petrol quad bikes racing up and down the course, armed with packed lunches ready to refuel the numerous helpers located around the course.
We took this opportunity to catch up with Lockskinner administrator Emma Welch, to tell us a bit more about the hunter trials. “This event is run as a non-for-profit event with all the proceeds of the day going to the Air Ambulance Service. The multitudes of people here who help to make the event run so smoothly, are all volunteers.”
And we didn’t find a single volunteer on the day who didn’t have a smile on their face, from the jump judges to the parking attendants, they are a credit to Lockskinners and to the whole event.
After lunch the event gets going again with Class 4, the Intermediate individual set at 80cm. Another popular class with a total of 33 riders competing for the glories. With a bogey time set at 3 minutes 20 seconds, David Hodston came top of the class with a time just one second off the bogey time coming in at 3 minutes 21 seconds and with no penalty faults.
The final class of the day, Class 5 sees the boldest riders and horses take on the imposing 100cm course. A true test of the horse and rider partnership.
A total of 10 competitors braved the most challenging class of the day, with some truly amazing performances.
Overall winner of the day with a time of 5 minutes 51 seconds was 15-year-old Daisy Dogger from Cowden in Sevenoaks, riding her horse Duncan. We caught up with Daisy after the event to hear about her experience.
“This was my first 100cm competition, to win was amazing. I’ve been competing at 90cm for a while and to have Lockskinners to make the transition was fantastic as it’s so local to us and a very well thought out course. Some elements were quite technical so there was a lot to think about. I was so happy with Duncan (aka Derrymore Duncan’s Desire) as I’ve brought him on over the last two years from a very green 5-year-old. He’s immensely talented with a very good brain but it hasn’t been easy as he can be stubborn and is hot blooded.”
Daisy, who attends Mayfield Girls School, was awarded the gifted and talented equestrian scholarship when she joined there.
“I compete regularly for them at NSEA (National Schools Equestrian Association) events and I am a member of Old Surrey and Burstow pony club. We will be competing at BE (British Eventing) events next season and at least I know I can step up to 100cm fairly quickly. I’ll be practicing on the new course at Lockskinners before then. I can’t wait!”
Lockskinners Equestrian hold various events throughout the year and the course is also available to hire.
For more details please contact Lockskinners directly via email; email@example.com.