Reading University were in control from the word go at the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) Equestrian Championships held at Hartpury College this week (26th - 28th June).
BUCS Equestrian provides a unique platform for students, whereby they can continue to ride and compete alongside their studies on borrowed horses. The Championships are the culmination of a year of competition and always produce high quality sport. 2012 has proved no exception.
The Championship features the top six 'first' teams that have qualified from the six national areas as well as the three top individuals from each region. The Trophy competition is the second level event for the second, third and sometimes fourth teams to compete on a national stage and it is no less competitive.
The experienced Reading team, made up of Amy Jones, Jennifer Galuszka, Maddy Taylor and Mary Edmundson, set the bar high on day one. They left other teams trailing on day two and no one was close to touching them when the final results were in for the Championship. They were crowned BUCS Champions 2012, winning the Calcutta Light Horse Trophy as well as an impressive haul of gold medals. Newcastle (Emily Corbett, Georgi Finnigan, Natalie Noble and Katie Astall) made the trip worthwhile taking overall silver but they never looked a threat to Reading and were chased home hard by the teams from Writtle and 2011 Champions Bristol in third and fourth respectively.
Individually Mary Edmundson and Maddy Taylor had a stellar week taking home all of the individual gold and silver medals between them. Mary, a 2011 British Eventing Young Rider squad member won the dressage, show jumping and overall golds on her first attempt. The last time a rider won all three individual golds at once was in 2003. It is but no means a common occurrence.
Maddy Taylor, who the Trophy competition individually in 2009 repeated her performance from 2011 taking the overall silver medal but added the dressage and show jumping individual silvers to it this year. Over four show jumping rounds, all that split the girls was 0.1 of a second. It really was worth watching. Mikaela Bryant-Meisner (Imperial) proved that consistency is key, taking home the overall bronze medal after placing 8th in both the dressage and show jumping phases.
In the Trophy competition, no team managed to gain a stranglehold on the competition. In the end almost every team went home with a medal of one colour or another. The Bristol team (Kat Daniels, Laura Macfarlane, Morgan Taylor-Wrighton and Marianne Knipe) took home the overall and show jumping spoils while Leeds University (Abbie Lloyd, Emma Shipperley, Jo Calver and Aimelia Herbert) headed the leaderboard for the dressage. Individually the Trophy title also went to Aimelia Herbert (Loughborough).
All eyes within Student equestrianism now turn towards the World University Equestrian Championships at Aachen in August, where Great Britain will be represented by Alison Rountree (Canterbury Christ Church), Victoria Adderley (Exeter), Ben Murray (Bristol) and Hector Payne (Bath).
Full results can be found on the BUCS website www.bucs.org.uk and further information on how to get involved can be found on Student Equestrian www.studentequestrian.co.uk.