The Blue Chip Winter Showjumping Championships is a wonderful show and show director Kelvin Bywater makes it fantastic — he thinks of every tiny detail and it makes a big difference to kids and young riders coming here. The drapes, lighting, flower decorations, presentation spotlights and the lap of honour make it a special, memorable occasion.
Teamwork makes the dream work, and Kelvin has a very good team. They all know their specific jobs and it is finely honed from the top down to the collecting ring stewards to run like clockwork — it has to be just to get through the sheer number of horses every day.
Behind the scenes
There is so much going on behind the scenes that no one sees, from putting in roads to constructing a big drain to get rid of any excess water in the stable area.
It takes a lot of money to put on a show like this and the heavy investment shows in the amount of staff that it runs so efficiently. Kelvin accompanies me to many shows abroad and he’s always observing and cherry-picking the best ideas.
As a course-designer who has worked his way up, I’m a great believer in giving the opportunity to build at big shows. This was Nigel Jess’ chance and his track produced some great jumping and received well-deserved plaudits from top riders down here. I’m very proud of my protégé — he’s clued up, watches all that is going on and is well organised.
He learnt from the bottom, starting as ring crew to understand distances and angles, and he’s turned into a fantastic course designer. He’s now FEI level two and should be level three by the end of the year.
All in all, this has been a popular show that deserves full praise — even the sun joined us.
Ref Horse & Hound; 18 April 2019