Many fresh eyes were on this year’s Sport Horse Breeding (GB) grading, where 24 horses were forward for approval under the judging panel of Richard Bowers, Dr Eberhard Senckenberg and a newcomer, Irish international show jumper Lt Col Gerry Mullins.

But, with standards once again rigorously upheld, only seven horses passed. And, although there were a few disappointed owners, most took the decision on the chin, accepting the need for ruthless selection if British breeders are to face some degree of financial viability – and our horses a worthwhile future.

Gerry Mullins, a hugely-experienced judge of young horses as well as potential stallions, said: “If we are hard, people think we are trying to fail horsesbut this is not the case. If Britain wants to produce better quality horses, we have to be very precise about the stallions we allow through. A horse may be a really nice jumper, but to be a stallion, he needs other qualities.”

NoThoroughbreds passed this time. The non-TB championship went to Helen Lowe and Chris Holmes’s nine-year-old Longdean Westminster, a British-bred Hanoverian who competes at intermediaire level in dressage and has 380 BD points.

This stunning chesnut, bred by former British Hanoverian Horse Society (BHHS) chairman Clem Somerset, is by Weltmeyer out of the great Golfstrom mare, Golfspiel, and was a winner as a foal at the BHHS breed show, where his dam triumphed several times.

The Irish-bred show jumper Diamonds Pride, who stands at Tregurtha Downs Stud in Cornwall, passed with flying colours as a hunter sire – sadly, his pedigree is incomplete and he is thus not eligible for full studbook approval.

This laid-back son of Diamond Rock out of a Prospect Pride mare was imported as an unbroken six-year-old and has since accumulated £1,275 BSJA winnings.

Jonathan Egmore’s show jumper, Pelgrim K, a five-year-old sonof Karandasj out of a Lector-Notaris mare, was particularly impressive in the loose jumping phase, but he has already proved his worth under saddle, winning at the BSJA Festival and the Scope equivalent.

Sharon Baldwin’s established dressage sire, Pro-set, a five-year-old by Jetset D-Flemmingh, earned many new admirers with his athleticism. Fourth in the Pre Vac Pro final as a four-year-old, he was fourth again this year, third in the Badminton Young Dressage Horse final, third in the Shearwater national championship and fourth in the international final. He also has several promising foals on the ground.

The other successful candidate on day two was Kay Leggott’s five-year-old show jumping stallion, Peter H, a Ludwig H-Notaris son bred by the Howiemuir Stud in Scotland and produced by Simon Nicholson. This neat chesnut received a Scottish Sport Horse premium as a foal and was best three-year-old stallion in the society’s 2000 loose jumping championship.

Weston Justice, the Knights’ successful home-bred eventing stallion by Criminal Law-Krisinsky, finally got his seal of approval after a near miss last year. This season, he progressed from novice to advanced, winnings at Lincoln and Great Witchingham, as well as producing double clears in the Gatcombe intermediate championship and Blair three-day.

The only successful six-year-old was Tessa Spencer’s home-bred Med Night Mahout, who was another graded as a hunter sire because part of his pedigree is missing. He is by Jumbo out of the JA pony mare, Medenight.

Read the full report in this week’s Horse & Hound (28 November), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.

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