What a way to end the 2023 Horse of the Year Show! The Grand Prix showjumping class on Sunday evening is the one they all want to win and the crowd were treated to some world class showjumping entertainment.
Last to go in a jump off round of 12 riders, Jodie Hall McAteer appeared to come out of nowhere to steel the lead from previous winner Harry Charles. Jodie produced a stunning round with her mother Mandy Hall’s 11-year-old bay mare, Hardessa, to beat Harry Charles and Romeo by just 0.39 seconds.
“I am over the moon. I really didn’t expect it!” said a delighted Jodie. “I’ve been building her up and this is her first big show for a while but she’s an amazing horse and she really stepped up today.
“She’s always shown great potential, she just needed to find her confidence. These classes are a lot for the horses and you can’t expect them to do it week in and week out. I have now managed to get the connection with her and ask her for that bit more.
“It always helps when you’re last to go in a jump off because you can watch the others and you know what you have to do. I tested the limits a bit with her tonight, but it all worked out!”
Jodie is the first lady rider to win the Leading Showjumper of the Year title at Horse of the Year Show since 2010, which made her journey here from Holland all the more special.
“I am based in Holland now and my trainer [Ben Schröder] thought I was half mad wanting to come all the way back to England for the Show. But I told him you don’t understand how special HOYS is for a British rider.
“The atmosphere here is just amazing, there is no other show I don’t think in the world with this kind of atmosphere for a 3* show. As a British rider the crowd really get behind you and it is just really special.
“I have been coming here since I was about ten and you spend your whole year as a young rider trying to qualify for HOYS. It is the pinnacle of the year for so many British riders and this is a class I have always wanted to win. It’s a big tick off the bucket list.”
Harry Charles took second place with Romeo 88 and sister Sienna Charles took third with Stardust.
Joe Stockdale was awarded the Leading Athlete Award and the Under 25 Rider Award for his accumulation of points across the Show. Audio interview with Jodie: https://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access2/index.php?d=1477&b=32823