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Gemma Stevens & Stuart Buntine Lead Charity Course Walk
March 29, 2024

Keen eventing followers were treated to a fabulous opportunity of a cross country course walk with Gemma Stevens, Team GBR event rider and international showjumper.

Gemma walked key fences on the course, explaining diligently the questions being asked and how to ride such a technicality. Some of these fences included the Arena Saddles “saddle rack” at 6, Eco Voltz “wheels” at 7,  8 is the British Polo Gin “Bar” which leads to the Rathbones including Investec Wealth and Investment corners at 9- after this is 10, the Playground roll and then at 11, the new, movable Elite Sportshorse Agency Bank. This fences poses a new type of question for horses and riders and course designer Stuart Buntine says “One of the challenges of building in really nice estates like this, is you can’t do a lot of […] digging and creating ditches […] so I decided I would build a bank, and it’s a portable bank […].” he also noted that “they [riders and horses] can’t do this in the school, so what I’m trying to do is introduce some stuff, that actually, they can’t practice at home, the horse has got to think about [it] and the horse has got to think quicker”.

There was a great turn out for Gemma’s course walk which gave everyone a huge insight into what expertise goes into planning a cross country round. One young rider asked Gemma “when did you start riding?”, Gemma’s response was- “I have been riding since before I could walk, I was only ever really happy when on a horse, [or] pony, my mum used to chuck me on when I was really little.” Experiences such as this course walk with Gemma set up great role models and provide such inspiration to young riders.

Heading over to fence 12, a combination fence beautifully presented in front of Thoresby Hall and aptly named Warner Leisure Hotels Garden is another question on the course, Stuart noted that here at Thoresby he has incorporated something he says you should never do- have 9 combination fences, in short succession on the course.

The course walk officially finished at 13 A, B and C- the project pony combination where Stuart explained “This to me is a real badminton fence, you’ve got to come off a turn, quite a decent step up- when you get a step up at badminton you get a proper step up”, “This to me is an absolute top end 4* question- it’s quite straightforward but it’s a top end 4* question.” Gemma kindly let interested parties follow with her as she finished her own course walk and headed off towards the Agria stables at 14.

Saturday will see Yasmin Ingham lead an exclusive 4* show jumping course walk.