What an amazing week at the British Show Jumping National Championships and Stoneleigh Horse Show. We have been treated to top class equestrian sport, amazing atmosphere and great trade stands – the feeling around the competition has been second to none.
I have a 100% record of bringing the rain with me to the BSNC and Stoneleigh horse show. Last year it was torrential rain until the sun broke through the day that I left, and this year the sun shone down the first few days of the BSNC and my second day here the heavens opened once again. Whilst there was patches of rain breaking up the sunshine, one thing was for sure – it did not dampen the mood. The week had everything – drama, excitement and emotion!! With HOYS qualification on the line the pressure was on –it truly was an unforgettable week at the BSNC and Stoneleigh horse show.
Here are just a handful of standout moments…
Throughout the week we were treated to amazing, inspirational stories. On day 1 of the Showing classes, the Cuddy Working Hunter (HOYS) qualifier was won by 60 year-old Tonya Wood from Warwickshire, who has hunted with Warwickshire hunt for 30 years and had only started competing in Showing working Hunter classes recently. Tonya not only secured the win here but also gained the all-important HOYS qualification. She has had Dennis since he was 4 years-old and he is now 11 – their relationship clear to see and definitely one of the major contributing factors to the success of this partnership.
I love seeing the love for the horse which transcends all Equestrian disciplines. Today I got to speak with Hannah who won the Coloured Ridden non-native pony class sponsored by CHAPS on ‘home-bred’ Champlers Allsorts ‘Poppy’. Hannah owns and rides Poppy and ‘bred and broke her’. Their relationship evident and the foundation from which the successes the pair have seen over the past few years has been achieved – including winning the class at the Horse of the Year Show last year. It will be exciting to see them return to defend their title this year.
It has been great to continue my Showing education over the past few days, I got to catch many of the Showing classes and meet and speak with a lot of the riders. To mention just a handful of the classes I was able to catch…it was brilliant to chat with Charlotte Tuck & Rendene Secret Charm ‘Penny’ winners of the Kathleen Wood 138cm Children’s Riding Pony and Mini Show Pony Championship winners Cerys Holly & Woodroyd Celebration. Young star Sophia Peters & Barkway Little Star triumphed in the Price Family Lead Rein Pony class and I got to chat with renowned producer Sharn Linney who won the NPS/ Baileys Horse Feeds Mountain & Moorland Ridden Welsh C section with Thistledown Jack Horner ‘Jack’.
I am continually gobsmacked by the talent of both riders and their horses and the professionalism displayed throughout all the classes, regardless of age.
Let’s talk about Jumping… Wow!!
I think a perfect representation of the action we have witnessed over the past week was summed up by Joe Clayton being crowned British Show Jumping National Champion 2018 on the fantastic Carolus k. The course was tricky and technical and a true test of skill. The jump-off was thrilling, and nail-biting as each of the nine riders took to the course and the emotion was evident as Joe and his support team celebrated their win. It truly showed how much it meant to win here; the result of years of work, dedication and preparation – amazing.
Joe reiterated the one factor that had been prevalent throughout the BSNC and Stoneleigh horse show – teamwork! Humble in victory he praised the team behind his wonder horse – brilliant to see!
Joe was just one of the incredible competitors I was honoured to speak with after their winning round.
Speaking with Ellen Whitaker, Faye Adams, Timothy Davies and Chloe Templeton after their wins at the BSNC has left me truly inspired!
It was great to have a chat with Lucy Townley after she executed the perfect game plan on Billy Spiral to win the Connolly’s Red Mills Senior Newcomers Masters 1.25m. I got to hear all about her qualifying journey with the amazing Spiral and their aspirations for HOYS and for the future. The one thing that I loved the most was that Lucy again highlighted the importance of the whole team effort and the huge amount of work and commitment it takes from a multitude of people to compete at this level.
A change of pace…
Saturday saw Si and Ollie from Touch FM visit the show, I got to walk around with them as they browsed everything that was on offer – it was great to meet them. They loved the show, and I had the privilege to listen to everyone they interviewed including event director Emma Williams, course designer Jason Abbs, the lovely Joshua Jones stand and spectators/ competitors around the event. I learnt a lot and it was great to witness the passion of all those around the show and view the show from all different angles and perspectives.
It was a real honour to present the award to the winner of the Horse of the Year Show International Wild Card Qualifier series on Friday and Saturday. Whilst I may not possess talents in putting rosettes on bridles – it was a massive privilege and I could not be more in awe of the riders and their horses who competed in this class throughout the competition – amazing!
These are just a handful of my favourite moments from the past few days – It has been incredible! Now attention turns towards the Horse of the Year Show. The countdown is on!