Owner Kim Barzilay has brought a team of horses, ridden by Emma-Jo Slater, to the Blue Chip championships every year since its Stoneleigh days
The Blue Chips has become a major show in our calendar. It caters for all and is a good end to the winter season. We used to try and qualify more horses than the previous year, but we’ve given up on that — it was getting expensive! We still try to do better each year, and buy novices to aim specifically at these championships. Over the years, I’ve got to know what horse you need to win here.
Stoneleigh, Solihull and Hartpury have all hosted these championships, but I think Hartpury is the best — good facilities, good surfaces and good jumping. It can be manic trying to be in two different places at once with both indoor and outdoor rings, though. Emma-Jo jumped 22 rounds yesterday. We have several grooms and try not to keep judges waiting, but they’re very understanding.
The show organisers are friendly, approachable and run a professional show. They’re horse people and animal lovers; dogs are welcome, which can’t be said for every show! The bar is accessible and sociable with a great view of the indoor arena. Both our owners and grooms have a good time — as well as us!
We’ve brought nine horses this year and settled them in on Tuesday, although I was attending a wedding so arrived late and left it to our great friend Jassy Pyke, who drove the second lorry.
Wednesday was an early start but a great day. Emma-Jo won the novice championship on Tantrum and the 1.20m outdoors with Simply Billie Bunter.
The courses seems more technical this year — that’s to be expected I guess with Olympic course-designer Bob Ellis in charge, but they’re there to be jumped and he’s still getting clear rounds.
The horses jumped well on Thursday. Billie was second in the 1.25m, Tantrum third in the discovery championship and Bella Mona fifth in the 1.15m. Not quite as good as Wednesday, but we’re still having a good show and are looking forward to the remaining days.