Horsing Around

The RAF Equitation Association Inter-Station League encourages competitive riding at Station Level. It promotes riding in the RAF and supports novice riders to enter and gain experience of competition work.

Competitions entail a Riding Test followed by a small show jumping course. The competitions are a lot of fun and all riding abilities are encouraged to give it a go.

During the 2011/12 ISL season, the RAF Halton Team had great success…! Following valuable team training and individual efforts to memorise the Riding Test, we competed against RAF High Wycombe at ‘Hideaway Farm’, Oving, Aylesbury. Fg Off Hannah Welch, Cpl Sarah Elwood, SAC Tanya Collins and I formed the team. The day was an eye opener, especially for those who were “rusty” or had never previously competed. After initial nerves and a steep learning curve for all, High Wycombe pipped us to the post 12 points to 9. Individually we placed 1st (me), 5th (Hannah) and 6th (Tanya). A good effort but better results were soon to come away against RAF Coningsby.  Away matches require competitors to ride completely unfamiliar horses that they have never even seen before. Despite this, on a damp and thundery day in June, the team rode to an overwhelming victory over Coningsby, winning by 15 points to 6! We also placed individually 1st (me), 3rd (Sarah), 4th (Tanya) and 5th (Hannah).

The third competition was against RAF Northolt at ‘Hideaway Farm’. The ISL rules state that a complete team is 4 riders, with the 3 best scores to count. As Hannah was unavailable, the 3 remaining riders were put under pressure as all of our scores would count! Again it was a great day and we beat RAF Northolt 11 points to 10 and individually placed 2nd (me), 3rd (Sarah), and 5th (Tanya).

After all first round matches it was a waiting game to see if we had made the cut for the finals or semi-finals. I was soon notified that we would compete for the top places at RAF Cranwell Saddle Club on 23rd August 2011. The pressure was on once again as Tanya was unable to compete. The format of the finals was the same as for previous competitions, although the fences were a little bigger this time! The day was hugely enjoyable and a great success. It was a very close contest with RAF Halton finishing in 2nd not far behind RAF High Wycombe.  The individual placings were extremely tight; after the riding test there were 4 individuals with the same results at the top, so it all came down to the show jumping. Hannah achieved 2nd place and I finished in 3rd place.

The team had attained resounding success including good individual achievements. We showed clear improvement finishing 2nd out of 8 station teams. If you would like to take part in the 2012 Inter-Station League for RAF Halton, contact me on Ext 6921. You don’t need to be an experienced rider, just willing to get stuck in – why not give it a go? Cpl Flo Dent


 

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