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Equestrian extravaganza: Vardags at the Osberton and South of England horse trials

By Thea Dunne -

Equestrian extravaganza: Vardags at the Osberton and South of England horse trials

An eventful month at Vardags saw us sponsoring and attending two international horse trials in as many weeks.

Eventing is a labour of love for founder and president Ayesha Vardag whose private eventing yard, Vardags Equestrian, succeeded in qualifying two horses for the trials.

Vardags Saratoga was in the 6 year old championship and Horatio R in the 5 year old class, both ridden by Kate Greenhalgh. To celebrate our beautiful horses in their first major events, Vardagians, guests and ambassadors joined on the final Sundays of both trials.

600 horses converged on the small village of Ardingly on the 23rd September for the South of England International horse trials for eventing from BE100 up to 2*. On the Sunday we were joined by guests and ambassadors in a pavilion overlooking the showjumping arena to watch Vardags Saratoga, or Sara as she is lovingly known. Having just started her riding work when she joined Vardags Equestrian in February last year, the six year old mare has gone from strength to strength and the team were amazed to have brought her to this level. Ever the champions of sitting-down sports, the group was also gratified to watch two Brits win the international sections with storming victories.

The following Sunday at Osberton International & Young Horse Championships began with an inauspicious start after Olympic gold-medallist William Fox-Pitt was brought down by Vardags hollow. A very demanding part of course, the name became something of a refrain for the commentators as it continued to pose problems for riders throughout the day. It was described in turn as "influential" and "one of the most intellectual fences on the course". Thankfully, after what looked like a moment's hesitation, Sara made the jump cleanly and Mr Fox-Pitt was spotted merrily chatting with Ayesha Vardag later that day.

The more ignorant of the group, including the press team delegate, benefited hugely from the patient tutelage of riders Kate Greenhalgh and Helena Vardag who were kind enough to explain the the nuances of the jumps as we walked the cross country course.

Kate Greenhalgh was thrilled with the outcome, "for us and many others this event has been the aim for the whole season, and is a real achievement to get there". Ayesha too was delighted with Kate and Sara's "gloriously clear" flight over the cross country course, whooped and cheered along by the Vardags contingent, all decked out in Vardags gilets.

All in all it was a roaring success, the results were excellent and watching world-class British sportswomen and sportsmen up close was a joy.

You can watch Kate and Sara's storming through Vardags Hollow and across the home stretch, here.

Follow Vardags Equestrian on facebook here.


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Thea Dunne

Thea joined Vardags in September 2016. She read English at Trinity College, Cambridge and previously interned at Christie’s Auction House.