The weather held out for a glorious four days at the Royal Windsor Show, providing perfect conditions for the festival which has come to be the event of all things equestrian.
In spite of somewhat downsizing this year – the show has lost a ring and a day in a bid to encourage long-term growth – the main attractions were as popular as ever. The show was reportedly one of the most successful in its 62 year history, and lived up to its reputation as the traditional start of the summer social season.
The cream of the showing world converged on Windsor for more than 70 showing classes and championships. The most impressive show of teamwork came from the Dixon family, who walked off with the honours for both champion (John’s Choice, ridden by Izzy Dixon) and reserve (Pebbly Tuff Stuff ridden by Scott Dixon) in the Working Hunter Pony Championship.
Champion Cob was lightweight cob Rob Roy, owned by R. Christie; the Show Pony Championship was won by the Mrs E.G. Wimble-owned 138cm show pony Rhoden Zukino; lightweight hunter Royal Flush (pictured) took home the honours from the Hunter Championship, while the Working Hunter Champion was Reverie, owned by Mrs S. Hookham.
The Polo Pony showing classes, sponsored by Guards Polo Club added an unusual touch to the usual circuit. Judges were looking for speed, obedience and the ability to turn on a sixpence. The doyens of the polo world, the Vestey family, ruled supreme and Lord Vestey rode his son, Ben’s heavyweight pony Andariego to win the polo pony championship.
The Landrover International Driving Grand Prix attracted an even more outstanding field this year, its first as a World Cup Qualifier. Ninety-one drivers from 21 countries sweated it out for the title, competing in three phases over four days. The Duke of Edinburgh, aged 82, finished in third place in the pony teams section behind Dutchman J. Van Dorrestejn and Belgian M.Allo. In the horse teams competition, Belgium was triumphant once again, Felix Brasseur taking second place behind British-based Australian Boyd Exell. J. Dobrovitz from Hungary took third.
Traditional military rivalry was allowed to flourish at the show as the King’s Troop and the Household Cavalry battled it out in Skill at Arms, Tent Pegging and Services Team Jumping competitions. In fact, it was an individual who took the trophy for the skill at arms, which involves displays of dexterity using a sword, a revolver and a lance. Captain Richard Waygood of the Household Cavalry bounced back from a disappointing performance at Badminton earlier this month and clinched victory in the jumping for his regiment.
Eight out of 10 of Britain’s leading show jumpers competed in the feature jumping competitions, as well as five-and six-year-old championships over the four days. Results were spread across the board, with Nick Skelton and Billy Twomey showing the most consistency (see full reports in show jumping news channel).
With several riders claiming that it was “the best Royal Windsor we’ve been to in years” it would appear the show is set to go from strength to strength.