Kathryn Pitt and Springbok went through the card at Solihull, the pair crowning a successful two days at the BSPS Winter Championships by taking the winter supreme title.
Springbok was found last November after Team Hollings placed a “wanted” ad on its website and in Horse & Hound. He and Kathryn headed the novice and restricted show hunter classes here, then clinched the intermediate title before taking the spotlight.
Kathryn, who travelled to South Wales to look at the quality bay, said: “It was love at first sight. I wanted a quality hunter with the correct amount of bone, and with his movement and presence, he had the lot.”
Formerly a top small hunter, the son of Catherston Zulu had been unshown recently due to his former owners’ ill health.
“He’s the most amenable horse with a big jump, so he may well do some workers,” said Kathryn, adding: “The stables at Team Hollings have now been declared a ‘war zone’ because everyone is wanting to swing into his saddle.”
“We all love riding him and I may even make a comeback on him in small hunters. He was going to contest the HOYS qualifiers here, but I think he’s earned a day off,” said Nigel Hollings.
The popular winter championships boasted a whole host of debut performances and new partnerships, including 11-year-old Lucy Loughton, who took the mini working hunter title with her mother’s Llidiart Illusion.
Other new faces worth following this summer include Addington Lucky Charm, who carried off the mini show pony and show hunter pony honours and the four-year-old part-bred Cleveland Bay, Badger Bay, who was novice SHP champion.
Working hunter course-builder David Cole earned lavish praise for transforming Solihull’s indoor arena into a piece of England’s green and pleasant land, and riders were also given plenty of food for thought outdoors with a devil’s dyke and bank.
Champions included Katie Heginbotham, who is quickly off the mark with the well-hunted Whineray Beach Boy, and Zoe Newsham, who produced a brilliant round with Parkfield Freddie to take the HOYS championship.
The 27th winter championships, which have settled happily into their venue at Solihull Riding Club, ran with military precision throughout the three days, despite
the weather calling for everything from sunglasses to thermals.