The Blue Chip and IDHS (GB) £2,000 Challenge has been opened up to include cobs with Irish Draught bloodlines in 2005, in addition to show and working hunters. The showing series was introduced last year to highlight the popularity of the Irish Draught breed and celebrate the breed’s best performers.

To enter, horses must be pure or part-bred Irish Draught and registered, or eligible for registration, with the Irish Draught Breed Society or Irish Draught Sports Horse Register. Qualifying horses must be registered in order to compete at the final, which takes place at the annual IDHS (GB) Breed Show later in the year.

Horses will qualify by being the highest placed eligible horse competing in the ridden hunter weights, working hunter and small hunter classes at affiliated SHB(GB) Shows, in ridden Irish Draught or Irish Draught sport horse classes at affiliated IDHS(GB) Shows and from ridden cob classes.

Last year’s competition was won by Emma Gibson and Shelford Rupert (pictured), who was delighted to walk away with the £1,000 first prize. The total prize fund in 2005 will once again be £2,000, with £1,000 going to the champion, £500 to the reserve and £100 for those placed third to seventh at the final.

Blue Chip is also sponsoring the Veteran Horse Society’s 2005 showing championships, the finals of which take place once again at the prestigious London International Horse Show at Olympia.

Blue Chip’s Claire Blaskey says: “I feel that this championship is a fitting tribute to all the cherished horses and ponies who serve their owners well into old age. Owners now have the opportunity to show how wonderful their older horses are. With great Blue Chip prizes to be won and the chance of competing at Olympia, there has never been a better time to bring your horse out of semi-retirement and back into the limelight.”

Award for Jennifer Williams

The British Horse Society has recognised the lifelong efforts of showing doyenne Jennifer Williams by making her an honorary vice president of the society’s Royal International Horse Show.

Mrs Williams of the Pendley Stud in Buckinghamshire is a highly respected judge and successful breeder, who has given many years of devoted service to the RIHS committee, from which she has recently stood down.

The Williams family has been involved with the RIHS since just after the Second World War. Mrs William’s late husband, Dorian, has a trophy named after him, which is awarded each year to the person judged by the organisers to have contributed most to the show’s success.

BHS Chairman Patrick Print FBHS said: “This is an opportunity for The British Horse Society to express its gratitude to the Williams family for their efforts over the years. Without commitment of this level, the Royal International Horse Show would not be what it is today.”

New sponsor for riding horse class

Equine physiotherapy company Equissage is extending its equestrian sponsorship in to the showing sector by supporting the Ponies UK Equissage Mikado Riding Horse series.

Kim Smith-Bingham of Equissage says: “We are delighted to be supporting the showing world this year. The series is of a high standard with lots of entries anticipated. Showing is a new sector to receive support from Equissage. We are looking forward to being involved and meeting showing competitors.”