Dartans Barrack (above) was crowned the Cuddy working hunter of the year champion at Horse of the Year Show on Wednesday 5 October, ridden by his owner Fiona Hirst.

The duo, who were also heavyweight working hunter winners at the Royal International Horse Show in July, jumped one of only nine clears around David Cole’s testing worker track.

They earned a style mark of 18 and were initially pulled in second, but moved up after the ride and conformation judging to pip 36 combinations and take the championship title.

“He loves a bold track and he takes it all in his stride,” said Norwich-based Fiona, who is a farm secretary and bookkeeper for Brown & Co estate agents. “He’s such an easy horse to have at home.”

The nine-year-old Dartans Barrack, an Irish Sport Horse by Guidam out of Knightfield Sally, qualified at South of England show and showjumps locally with Fiona.

Rory Gilsenan piloted the seven-year-old Vulcanite into reserve.

Take a look at the testing 12-fence working hunter track by clicking here.

Ten combinations went through to the second phase, where judges assess each horse’s ride and conformation. These were Dartans Barrack, Vulcanite, Morse Code (Jamie Ryder-Phillips), Red Why Salut (Daniel Carroll), Opis Day (Stephanie Scott), Out Of Order (Ginny Rose) and last year’s winner Grand Conan (Pollyanna Gredley), plus Andor O (Justine Armstrong Small), Bushmills (Adele Hanson) and Pembroke Grey Mist (Olivia Dales).

The latter three horses all knocked down one fence each.

The other two horses who jumped clear were Mr Seniority and Lux O’Neill, but they did not go forward to the second round due to being ridden by Stephanie Scott and Rory Gilsenan respectively, who proceeded on their other rides.


Champions crowned

Chantilly Bojangles (Robert Walker) was crowned the small show hunter of the year, while the hack of the year was crowned this evening (Thursday 6 October) and the title went to the winning large, Suzannah Welby’s part-bred Arab Elusive, ridden by Jo Bates.

Dianne Stennett’s Hello Dolly successfully defended her ladies’ side-saddle title, partnered by Jayne Ross.


Don’t miss the full Horse of the Year Show report in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound, on sale Thursday 13 October.