Young Welsh eventer Martha Thomas had to dig deep to get her horse out to British Eventing’s Jumping and Style competitions, and has been rewarded with the Kenneth Clawson Memorial Cup.
Adding to the award is the fact that the 22-year-old Glamorgan rider had also been trained by the late Kenneth Clawson, who died in December 2012 after suffering from leukaemia.
Clawson had a long-standing involvement in eventing; the Baileys Horse Feed-sponsored BE Jumping and Style series was his brainchild as he wanted to offer pre-season competition to eventers. The trophy was introduced in remembrance of him in 2013 and to reward those who may have faced personal challenge or adversity during the qualifying period.
Joint-Organiser Paul Davies explained: “We first noticed Martha because she rode so beautifully at the JAS qualifier at Hartpury and had two great top ten finishes in the Novice and Open classes.
“Then amazingly, despite having had an eye operation just two days before the Championships, she dug deep to find true British grit and determination to come to Bury Farm and compete.”
A very emotional Martha commented: “Kenneth used to teach me so I am very touched to receive this news. I have diabetes which has recently affected my vision and though I was OK at the JAS qualifiers I was really struggling by the Championships, but my saint of a horse carried me round.
“When I had him [Hercules Morse] as a youngster I wasn’t sure whether or not to sell him on, but Kenneth told me under no circumstances to sell a horse with such a lovely attitude and talent, which just shows what a fantastic horseman he was.
“At the moment I cannot see very much at all but have been told my eyesight will clear up within the next six months so I will be able to return to riding and finish my dissertation,” added the medical engineering degree student.
The JAS series is an indoor arena eventing experience with a combination of show jumps and cross country fences with classes held at BE90 (90cm), BE100 (1m), Novice (1.10m) and Open (1. 15m) levels and is held at 12 events around the country. Each JAS Event is judged by a BE Accredited Coach.
Horse and rider are judged on style as well as technique and jumping penalties; the style mark is then converted to penalty points and added to any cross country or jumping penalties for the final score; the lowest score wins.