Joe Stockdale: The national championships are a highlight on the showjumping calendar *H&H VIP*

Opinion

It’s a real honour to be the ambassador for the British Showjumping national championships at Stoneleigh Park, so I was thrilled to be offered the chance.

It’s a great show — one to which everyone looks forward to and a highlight on the calendar for a lot of people. I’ve been able to have some input and influence on things, and provide a rider’s point of view on how things are run.

It went really well all week; it was a bit of a shame about the weather but the organisers dealt with it so well. They were worried about jumps blowing over so they had people working all night filling sandbags and taking down barriers — they’ve been really on it, eliminating anything that could take away from the jumping experience in the rings. It’s not easy when the elements are against you.

There have been great classes, excellent course-building and the jumping’s been really competitive, all week. The going was very good, too, even in the grass rings. There’s been such a good mix of showing and jumping and a wide range of people here, not just the top riders — although of course we’ve had them.

‘A serious horse’

It was brilliant for Harriet Nuttall to take the national championship; her round was class and she rode really well. It was such a strong jump-off and I was really pleased with Cacharel IV, who jumped clear to finish ninth. She’s only eight and that’s the biggest she’s jumped but she’s awesome; she’s going to be a very serious horse.

The international stairway series final track was built strongly enough and I couldn’t believe Michael Whitaker’s time was beaten; to come fourth in that round shows the quality of the jump-off and the calibre of riders.

The staff have all been brilliant and overall it’s been a great atmosphere and a good show for everyone.

Ref Horse & Hound; 15 August 2019