The RIHS never fails to deliver its fair share of excitement, inclement weather, alternating with brilliant sunshine with the quite amazing performances by our top Show Horses in action in the Main Ring.
Here, apart from the Royal International Championship classes there are Amateur classes for all to enter without qualifying, so it’s a great opportunity to enjoy Hicksteads’ wonderful rings and happy atmosphere.
Ann Hutton continues her very generous sponsorship of the Amateur Riding Horses which resulted in a Championship win for Amy Underwood with Broadstone Dolca Vita with Reserve going to New Team, ridden by Claire Blackham.Amateur Cobs were not so well supported as in previous years but still there was plenty of quality before judges Samantha De Caprio and Sue Rawding; thank goodness for a cool breeze to keep Ride Judge Samantha comfortable!Lucy Cameron and Incobnito took the Lightweight and Championship from Annette Hance on I’m a Star. The very consistent and versatile Ballyell Turbo with Lizzy Oseman won the large section, and took Reserve, from Sara Wicks and The Cobbler.
The Open Cobs were strong classes, which would have given Judges Davina Whiteman and Paul Cook much pleasure to judge; with HOYS Champions in the field and many other top Cobs in contention. Kirstine Douglas made her long journey south from Scotland worthwhile, with a well deserved win in the Lightweight section with Katie Jerram and Cob-in-Hood moving up to 2nd and Richard Ramsay on Lucinda Freedman’s Cochrane 3rd. However it was Starry Night winning the large section with Robert Walker and taking the Championship which must have given a welcome boost to owner Camilla Neame and her family; Jayne Ross and The Keystone Cob and Lynn Russell and Wolf took 2nd and 3rd.
I had the great pleasure of judging the Working Show Horse class with Paul Cook, who had earlier judged the Open Cob classes. This class has grown in stature and quality over the last few years since a Championship series was introduced; with 32 entries we were looking forward to some quality horses forward and we were not disappointed. Kevin Millman the course designer introduced a great course including ditches, water trays, and a copse to navigate and jump out of and finally a water splash. The course proved influential as we had hoped, this is after all a jumping test but our final 8 forward did not disappoint in quality and great rides too. The top Cob was the consistent Ballysheil Quintin with Sophie Spear who is also a stalwart steward here at Hickstead; they jumped one of just two clear rounds. However, the Championship went to the riding horse Park Panache owned and ridden by Rachel Turner. Panache’s super clear, together with his stunning gallop and great ride ensured we had a worthy winner and Champion.
The weather could not have been worse for the Riding Horse classes with thunder, lightning and torrential rain to test the steadiest of horses. Danielle Heath continued her run of success, having been Hunter Champion the previous day, with a win on Quantum of Solace and taking the Reserve Championship. Jayne Ross on Diane Stennett’s Hello Dolly won the small section and claimed the Championship; much to the huge delight of the Stennett family who had also had success with a 2nd in the Lightweight Hunter Championship. Hello Dolly, by Parco is just a 5 year old which has matured and improved throughout this season, no doubt connections are looking forward to many seasons of fun with her.
Then on to the Hacks which saw another appearance by the HOYS Supreme, Pearly King, ridden by Simon Charlesworth for Sarah Carey. They did not disappoint with a foot perfect performance, to win the large section from Jo Bates riding Primitive Dazzler II for Steven Jackson and Allan Dillingham, both horses performing immaculate shows. Lyncombe Legend ridden by Brogan Taverner for Mrs Lucas and Mrs Clark also gave a foot perfect performance to take the small section from Lyndsay Kelbie ridding her own Classic Chauvinist. All four horses looked a stunning picture in the International Arena and an appreciative crowd applauded Pearly King as Champion with Lyncombe Legend reserve.
However this appreciation was nothing compared to the roaring crowd for Sundays Supreme Horse Championship for the Winston Churchill Trophy, the finalists: Hello Dolly and The Humdinger for Jayne Ross, Danielle Heath with her hunter, the former HOYS Champion, Oathill Take the Biscuit, Robert Walker and Starry Night, Pearly King and Simon Charlesworth and the Arab Majestic Cavalier ridden for Mrs Hayley Hyde-Andrew by Wendy Gibson. By anyone’s reckoning this must be a first with all the contestants forward ridden by BSHA Members!They most certainly did not fail to wow the crowd all 5 giving outstanding performances: to loud cheers Danielle and Simon were voted equal points and so, for the first time I can remember, we had a run off with both riders out together, egged on by the stands to produce stunning, crowd rousing shows.Simon’s shows included his trade mark dismount to which he added a ground covering gallop and 1 and 2 time changes, whilst Danielle’s included halting by the Members Stand taking up a glass of champagne and toasting the judges, finally she galloped flat out twice around the arena, with the crowd roaring their approval. With both competitors sharing a kiss Pearly King was crownedKing of Hickstead for 2013 in what must have been a very close decision for the judges and for us BSHA members was a real result! Truly a lesson here on how to win a Supreme – the best I can remember ever.