The newly crowned Scottish Grassroots Eventing BE100 Champions are Edinburgh solicitor Stephanie Lynch and her homebred, Journeys Atlas.
“This is our first season at BE100 so I was just happy to get to Blair – and it was stiff competition out there,” said Ayrshire based Stephanie. “Journey’s Atlas is out of my pony event mare. I started eventing him when he was a five-year old [he’s now seven] and we’ve done the Scottish BE90 Championship twice.
“I love Blair, it’s my favourite Scottish event. The courses are invariably challenging but if your horse is bold enough, you are fine. The mud wasn’t ideal but he coped well – we have had ‘too fast’ penalties in the past, so I was keeping my eye on the watch and at the third-last fence I had to slow him down.”
Rosie Simpson and her 10-year-old mare Sierra came closest to catching Stephanie after adding just a couple of cross country time penalties to her first phase score. Third place went to Joanna Heaton and Jamesfield Abercrombie, this pair having placed third in the BE90 Championship in 2021.
Amy Dixon had the perfect end to a hugely successful season. Back in May, she and Goodluck II won the Voltaire Design Grassroots Championship at Badminton, her second win in this class, the first being on Maid In Holland in 2010, and they are now the winners of the BE90Open Scottish Grassroots Eventing Festival at Blair Castle.
“I get very nervous, as does ‘Ronnie’,” Amy admitted. “I’m a true grassroots rider, I work full time in the family business – we have two cafes in the Lake District and it’s a busy time of year for us so it’s difficult to prioritise horses, work comes first because it pays for everything.”
Did she expect this result? “I know that Ronnie is capable at the level, but the reason I stay at BE90 is partly my nerves, plus I still have to put the work in. It isn’t a given that results will come and I don’t feel I have the time to put in to move up a level. I went hoping we would do well but I have never done the showjumping as the last phase. It’s my weakest phase by far, so I didn’t know what to expect.
“I thought the cross-country course was very fair, but the ground made it a tough ask. Being in the lead, I knew I would put huge pressure on myself and wanting to do well can have a negative effect, but we are in our comfort zone at BE90.”
Amy finished with a fence in hand, ahead of Rose Reid riding Surefly Landarco; Ben Fairbrother on Upper Limit completed the top three.
Stephanie Lynch and Journeys Atlas © Athalens