From a newly crowned nine-year-old club champion to the professional riders who cleared 2.20m (7ft 3in) in the puissance, the NAF Five Star British Showjumping National Championships gave us plenty to cheer about.
Three months ago, while we were all under lockdown, few could have imagined such a championship going ahead. But for nine days, against the spectacular backdrop of Bolesworth Castle, this year’s national championships produced a string of outstanding winners — here we celebrate just a few of our favourite moments…
1. “Louise was exceptional today, she couldn’t have taken any more time out than she did,” said Di Lampard of the new national champion, Louise Saywell with Mike Elvin’s 12-year-old PLS Halo Diamond.
2. Elliot Smith and his “big friendly giant” Flamboyant share the spoils when clearing 2.20m (7ft 3in) in a thrilling puissance.
3. Blink and you’ll miss them: 128cm stepping stones winners Tilly Bamford, 11, and the 20-year-old gelding Ballyknock Master Roan.
4. Ones to watch: the new under-21 champion Will Edwards and the “kindest” Candies B. The pair won with the only double clear.
5. Retaining her 138cm Championship crown is the all-conquering Tabitha Kyle with Playboy Van De Zoetewei
6. 11-year-old Eleanor Archibald rides a polished, attacking round on Pondhead Dexter to earn the national 128cm title
7. Para Grade III senior 90cm winner, Evie Toombes and High Offley Business Centre (“Daisy”): “Daisy enjoyed herself; she loved the atmosphere and I think she thrives on it,” Evie said.
8. Nine-year-old Scarlett McDonald riding the 21-year-old Engima Variation wins both the 60cm and 70cm club championships — also finishing second in each with Flicka II.
9. Just some of the many brilliant academy team winners — Team Scotland (Brook Walker and Shannondale Flight, Lucy Rennie and Ballylinan Black Beauty, Shannon Jardine and Ragjah du Granit, Keira Rankin and Wyzer By Far).
10. Star in the making: the winter seven-year-old champion Artisan I (by Cevin Z), ridden by Lorraine Lock and bred by Lorraine’s grandfather Peter Lock.
11. Where’s My Colour and Eva Harriman land the national pony 1m restricted rider title in great style.
12. Invincible: the 2019 five-year-old winner Zlatan Z returns with Derek Morton to take this year’s winter six-year-old final. “He’s the most naturally careful horse I’ve ever ridden,” Derek said of the stallion.
13. They call him “Mr Reliable” and Johidoki delivers to take top spot in the SEIB winter novice championship for Harry Wood.
14. Knees up! The winter 1.35m open championship goes to Faye Adams with the scopey Demograaf.
15. Rugs galore: JFS 90cm Team Winners Norwich High School have plenty to cheer about.
16. The new national senior rider champion, Clea Phillipps riding Night Tide II.
17. Best of the five-year-olds is Kartina Van Het Maaskantje, ridden by Jonathan Egmore, coming out top in a 40-strong jump-off.
18. Three in a row for Jess Botham in the four-year-old championship – this time riding the mare Uptons Quickess, who was bought from breeder Jake Saywell.
19. All smiles for eight-year-old Jennifer McLeish and the brilliant little Crag Storm after victory in the junior club 80cm final.
20. “We tried to do everything in as few strides as possible”: Ava Vernon and Here I Am B take the national 1.30m title.
21. Daniella Johnston is crowned the new national 1.25m restricted rider champion riding the multi-talented Elton John II.
22. First and third in the NAF Five Star bronze league final is Holly Johnstone, who won with Carquois Du Ceve and wasn’t far behind on Gogo Bantos.
23. Ping! The 138cm Swn Y Mor Sports Horses stepping stones championship goes to 10-year-old Kate Anderson with Cool Cronan Thunder (AKA ‘Firefly’).
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