Thursday December 14, 2017
Tetrathlon Championships 2016

Following the Area Tetrathlon at Gadbury in early July, the Beaufort managed to qualify five teams for the National Championships at Bishop Burton College: two Junior Girls teams, Junior Boys, Intermediate Girls and Mixed Intermediate.  Two of those teams had just three members and so it was 18 riders and their entourages that headed off on the long trip north on Thursday morning. We now have established stopping points at either Trowel or Tibshelf services on the M1 at which you can celebrate achieving more than half your trip!

On arrival we were pleased to find that Pip Green and Rebecca Telford had bagged a nice corner area for the Beaufort encampment. A couple of us without lorries had booked caravans/trailer tents to be put in situ which we were relieved to find in place.  The camping field also held the temporary stable lines.

The Green and Telford families were there early because Sasha and Jess had competed at Thirsk, even further north, the weekend before in the Senior Regional 100 Tet.  At this event Sasha recorded a fabulous clear over a course that caused carnage.  Jess had a desperately unlucky slip up on the flat and was carted off to A&E thoroughly shaken up.  With grit and determination Jess competed at Bishop Burton but it was a big ask after her accident and a truly courageous performance.

As each lorry arrived, the horses were relieved to disembark and have a  pick of grass.  After this leg stretching graze they were taken out for a ride around the hacking track which is a useful facility around the college fields. It is at least 10 minutes walk to the hub of activity within the college campus, which after several days becomes quite tiring as bicycles are not permitted and the car route to the hub is circuitous.

From 5pm a shoot practice was held in the hall that would be used for competition the next day.  7pm saw the briefing in the large indoor arena. Information was a bit thin on the ground but we got the general idea!

Back in the camp site everyone made themselves as comfortable as they could and the club tent was pitched ready for us to enjoy some communal conversation and refreshments.

On Friday we had to fit in swimming, riding out the horses and XC course walking. The swim took place in Beverley Leisure Centre some 20 minutes’ drive from Bishop Burton.  Junior Girls were first, all putting in good performances. Isla was the pick of the bunch with Poppy more or less the same. The Junior Boys top swim was Henry and Jess the best of the Intermediate Girls. Well done to Laura, a former Tetrathlete who has recently been concentrating more on Eventing and Dressage. She came back to the fold and was an invaluable asset to the Mixed Inter Team.  Also well done to Tom Edwards who came to Tetrathlon late and has made huge progress in a short time to join Laura with Amy Peevers in the mixed Inters.

Back to the camp site and the horses needed attention with riding and plenty of leading out from their stables that were fully enclosed with grills.

Then the cross country walks. We took a view to let people go round in small groups with their parents as we have found the large group course walks too difficult to encourage focussing of the mind.  Everyone was advised to photograph each fence on the way so they had something to refer to that evening and the following morning before riding. There were a variety of skinny fences and a decent water jump. The Inters had a tricky combination with corner to angled log.

Friday evening brought the team BBQ. Everyone contributed and we thoroughly enjoyed the food and company. An early night as possible was encouraged!

On Saturday the Inters were on first. It was great to see full marks in this phase from Jess, Emma, Olivia, Amy & Laura. Sasha also put in a great round with just one glance off. Tom Edwards and his faithful Paddy put in a fabulous performance with clear for just a few time penalties. Amy Peevers’ round in particular delighted us all, she having been moved up a year early into the Inter class in order to form the Mixed Inter Team.

Junior Girls next: Meg, Poppy, Rachel, Isla, Grace, Bea and Lucy. Wow! All clear! We dominated the cross country course for nearly quarter of an hour and the commentator was very complimentary. Hooped silks left right and centre!

Finally the Junior boys at about 4.30pm. They were under pressure as they had waited nervously all day and the girls were all clear and ready to show them up! Thank goodness four more lovely clear rounds ensued and the Beaufort could feel justly proud of their achievements.

We dragged them off for a running course walk which this year had been set out around the XC course: a good track with a killer hill at the end.

On Saturday night the event traditionally holds a fancy dress party. This year was no exception with the theme being SUPER HEROES.  As you will see from the photos, everyone entered into the spirit of the occasion! The parents waved them off and hoped they would not be too tricky to round up again at a reasonable hour…

Sunday—the last day so all that packing to be done plus the run phase to achieve. Three teams were in VERY good positions and knew that if they ran as best they were able, some amazing results were possible. They were under pressure but they knew what they had to do. We told everyone “Please don’t drive back home down the motorway wishing you had run just that little bit faster.”  Victory was tantalisingly close but in the run phase nothing is guaranteed as unlimited points are available and plenty of them.

Thank goodness for the human computer that is Tom Hatherell. He was able to calculate to the second what each team had to achieve relative to their nearest rivals.

Intermediates first, a courageous run from all 7 secured a WIN for Inter girls team, 3rd for Mixed Inter team and 7th individual for Jess. A wonderful start.

Next Junior Boys, all four put in everything they had, Henry had a nosebleed but still produced the fastest Beaufort run. WIN for the boys team—congratulations to all, especially Harry Barder who is new to Tet this year and has improved in every phase so rapidly.

Finally the Junior Girls.  They too ran their socks off, especially Poppy Clark who clocked the fastest Junior girls run, even though she is still a Mini! A WIN for Junior Girls Blue team, 9th for the Gold team and an astonishing 2nd for Poppy.  I must admit to being a very proud Team Manager.

A mention here for our Team Photographer, Antonia Tucker. Quite how she found time to take such wonderful pictures while managing Jack and Grace and camping in a trailer for four days is beyond me! However I do know how grateful we all are that she recorded everything so carefully so that we can relive an amazing experience.

So the packing was completed and the prize giving attended. A really great occasion for our athletes who have trained so hard for so many years.  There was unexpected excitement with a special trophy for Amy Peevers presented to the youngest girl to complete the Inter Competition.

The contributions to their success come from many quarters but particularly include Tom Hatherell and his parents for providing the Shoot Training facilities and expertise and our team of swim coaches at Westonbirt: Philip, Rebecca, Sue & Emma. Also testament to the commitment of the parents who have driven their children to training and competitions week after week and year after year.

All sorts of possibilities lie ahead for the Beaufort. We would love to field an Open team next year and we look forward to welcoming older Minis to the Junior fold next year. It’s the power of the team that really counts so keep at it, somehow, whatever constraints try to steal your time, and we will endeavour to build on the success of 2016.

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