Bryony Crippin’s mega multitasker takes Hickstead Novice title

Thursday 20 June 2024

Bryony Crippin’s mega multitasker takes  Hickstead Novice title

The very first class to take place in the famous International Arena at the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting was Thursday morning’s Hickstead Novice 1.10m Championship.

This championship tends to be a showcase of some of the country’s most exciting young showjumping horses, as well as a goal event for amateur and up-and-coming riders – and fittingly, its winner today fulfils both objectives.

Six-year-old California Z is piloted by a professional in Buckinghamshire’s Bryony Crippen, and she’s also ridden by her amateur owner, Henry Fraser. This week California Z will tackle some 1m classes with Henry in the saddle, as well as aiming for the Six-Year-Old title with Bryony.

“It’s very difficult to find a horse that can do both,” said Bryony. “She’s a super straight mare, and she’s lovely – she answers all the questions you ask of her. That’s what makes her so good – she just loves the job. Our horses have a lot of variety at home; they do a lot of hacking, they don’t go to a show each week, and they don’t really jump a lot at home, so when she does come out, she absolutely loves it, and that’s the most important thing.”

Bryony and California Z scored the win in the two-phase class by more than 1.5 seconds, finishing on a time of 30.18 seondsc to go ahead of second-placed Hannah Tiley and Me Duck B (31.75 seconds). That winning edge came from a bold decision to remove a stride in a pivotal line – a tactic that played to the speedy mare’s natural strengths.

“I walked the distance for the first line in the jump-off for eight strides,” says Bryony. “But I set off to the first vertical and I just kept going, and I got down there on seven. So I think that's where I made the time. I was tight back to the first oxer, and then I gave her a bit of room to the white oxer because it's a bit spooky – not that she's spooky! But she’s a quick horse, and when you put your leg on, she knows, and she goes.”

The Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting runs from 20-23 June at Hickstead in West Sussex. Tickets are available at the gate or can be booked online at www.hickstead.co.uk. All the action from the International Arena will be livestreamed on ClipMyHorse.TV and Hickstead.TV.

Image credit: Boots and Hooves Photography

 
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