Opinion

TAGS:

It’s terrific to see how popular this show is. London 2012 course-designer Bob Ellis reckoned 438 horses jumped on Friday — great for a long-standing tradition in the British calendar.

The organisation here is second to none; they think of everything. They’re so busy yet they ensured I had a parking space and good stables ready for my demo. I was impressed, all credit where it’s due.

The demo had great feedback.  I used a six-year-old and although he got sharp in the atmosphere — he’s never experienced packed stands — he focused well.  He made a couple of errors but horses need to learn — the key is how they learn from their mistakes. Hopefully the audience took away new ideas however large or small.

I’ve been out in Spain since January and found jumping indoors tight, especially as the trade-stands take anotherfive to six metres off the arena’s long side since I was last here in December. I guessed 12 clears and [course-designer] Paul Connor got 15 from 47 — it was tough enough without killing anyone. 11pm was a little late to finish, but big entries show the popularity, so a positive negative.

I was delighted with my eight-year-old Escapade H, he stepped up to a big test for four faults — I’m very excited about him.

I knew I’d have my work cut out on Loughnatousa WB in the jump-off when Kerry and Welly were clear and quick. They’re an amazing partnership and hard to beat — he’s a great little horse and she has such belief in him. Congratulations on a well-deserved win.

Ref Horse & Hound; 13 April 2017