The senior inter-regionals at Keysoe Equestrian Centre on 19-20 May saw 35 teams from eight British Dressage regions battle it out for the coveted title. But it was Northern Engagement who led from the start.
Cara Shardlow from Whitby riding Detonator in the elementary and Laura Steel from York riding Moonlighter in the novice, both scored just over 70% to put themselves and their team at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the first day. But the Eastern region team was only a few marks behind them.
On day two, Tracey Kibler from Northumberland was the first member of Northern Engagement to ride. Diamond Pantera delivered a foot perfect performance in the elementary, to keep the team in the running. Laura couldn’t quite match her winning score from the previous day, but gained a very respectable 66.45%.
Riding in the preliminary, Charlotte Hinchliffe’s chestnut mare Treliver Diorissimo found the electric atmosphere hard to handle on day one, but delivered a much more relaxed performance on Sunday to keep the team clear of its Eastern rival.
Last in the team to go was Cara who managed to keep a cool head. She scored 68.53% to win the elementary individual and take Northern Engagement to team victory.
At just six years old, Cara says she had no expectations of Detonator. “I was amazed he did so well,” Cara told H&C. “He didn’t like the tannoy and was rearing in the warm up, so I thought he wouldn’t go very well. In our first test he reared just before the bell went – so I had my heart in my mouth throughout the test, but then he got on with it and did his job. I’m over the moon with him.”
The pair has qualified for the novice regionals and Cara says she will then be working towards selection for the home international team in September.