Presteigne based international event rider Franky Reid- Warrilow has had Blenheim Palace set in her sights, for her season finale with top horse Dolley Whisper.
Presteigne, Powys 19th September 2018: Over the past weekend, international event rider Franky Reid-Warrilow headed to the UK’s feature autumn event – the SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials, with her own, her parents and Bruce & Stephanie Gardiner’s Dolley Whisper.
This event holds fond memories for the pair, as they tackled their first CCI*** here in 2015, jumping a superb double clear. The question this time round, was whether it could be equalled or bettered, along with attempting to get closer to that all important optimum time cross country.
Dressage day saw Franky and Whisper produce a flowing, accurate and harmonious test. As can sometimes happen with dressage marking being subjective, the score was perhaps slightly disappointing for this well-established partnership, especially as they were mistake free. However, 31.5 was by no means not competitive and with the tight new scoring system it saw them only 7 marks off the leader.
Cross country at Blenheim is known for being hilly and twisty so the time is always a challenge. Franky set off meaning serious business and the bravery the duo showed across the country allowed for a seriously smooth negotiation of David Evans track. They crucially kept that all important rhythm, so everything was taken in their stride without losing valuable seconds by over setting up for obstacles. The pair crossed the line clear within the time and it couldn’t have been more deserved.
Franky commented: ‘Whisper gave her all, giving me a fantastic round. She never stopped trying and dug deep. I couldn’t have asked for more.’
This was the first occasion in a CCI3* that Dolley Whisper has made time. Back in 2015 the mare had 14 time faults, so it is a real credit to Franky and her team that they have continued to progress this horses cross country technique and stamina to allow her to achieve this.
Show-jumping day dawned on Sunday, and the duo were sitting in 11th place, with everything to play for. An out and out jumper Dolley Whisper is known for getting clear rounds. However, the mare had never run so fast cross country, and this in itself throws up different challenges. Franky was very open about her show-jumping warm up, saying that Whisper just didn’t feel her usual mega self, explaining: ‘She hit an unusual rail jumping a practice fence, which really put myself and my team on edge! Especially as Di Boddy’s track was up to height with technical lines to combinations, causing the majority to have fences down and not jump within the time.’
Franky and Whisper entered the ring knowing what they needed to do. As soon as Franky picked up canter in the arena the mare switched on her sports mode, and all worries were cast aside. They performed another spectacular clear round within the time, giving a true display of jumping and many heralded it as the round of the day.
This combination has pulled off fault free jumping rounds time and time again, outstandingly this horse has never had a fence down on the last day of a three-day event in the 10 years she has been competing. A phenomenal statistic.
The final line up saw Franky and Whisper finish in 8th place, with their fantastic last phase performance allowing them to climb three places and into a well deserving top 10 spot. A really fitting end to the 2018 season for this top combination who consistently come up with the goods and demonstrate what true partnerships can continuously achieve.