A social worker, interior design graduate, drums teacher — riders from all walks of life were triumphant in the amateur championships at the Longines Royal International Horse Show (29 July), classes open to those riders who do not earn any income through showing.
It’s not just the pros who win at the Royal International, and by the time this year’s show had concluded on Sunday evening, the following 12 amateur champions had been crowned:
Skewbald & Piebald Amateur Championship
Phoebe Airey piloted Brookfarm Mr Chips to victory in this championship, and they also stood junior champions. Reserve amateur coloured was Melissa Barnett riding Touch Ov Dutch.
Amateur Hack Championship
Abbie Dark, who studied business management at the University of Wales, and Runnon Ruby Tuesday collected this title. PE teacher Lucy Thirlby finished second riding Stage Knight.
Amateur Maxi Cob Championship
Avril Bartolomy and Clantara Shadow Play stood champions over Kay Gillam and Crossfire in this championship. Avril is retired and didn’t learn to ride until she was 50.
Amateur Heavyweight Cob Championship
The heavyweight winner, Ballyell Turbo, went on to stand supreme amateur cob champion with mother-of-two Lizzie Oseman in the saddle.
Amateur Lightweight Cob Championship
Reserve supreme amateur cob was Lily Gibbs aboard The Comedian, pictured here winning at BSPS area 16 in April, who topped the lightweight championship. The Comedian was previously campaigned by Allister Hood and is co-owned by Lily and Lady Caroline Tyrrell.
Ponies (UK) Amateur Riders Ridden M&M Championship
Collette Green and Cadlanvalley Sandpiper collected this title, pipping Sophie James aboard her own Glenmore Gwennic.
Middleweight Amateur Hunter Champion
There were tears of joy from Lucinda Martin when her 10-year-old Boss, a son of Concorde, took the middleweight title and then stood supreme amateur hunter champion.
Originally from the Shropshire/Welsh border, Lucinda has been living in London since September and commuting home at weekends to ride, while studying an architectural interior design course at Inchbald School of Design.
“I’m going home now to start job hunting,” said Lucinda. “Mum has been doing all the hard work while I’ve been away. Boss is a total gentleman and so easy to do everything with.”
Nolton Carnaval (Emma Davies) filled the reserve middleweight spot.
Small Amateur Hunter Champion
Hart Beat (above) took this title for owner/rider Becky Patterson and stood reserve supreme amateur hunter. The six-year-old by Le-One is produced by Kirstine Douglas and has been partnered by Becky, a sponsor account manager for M-Sport Ltd, for two seasons.
“I’ve probably only ridden him at Kirstine’s 10 times this season. I would love to spend more time in the saddle but I travel abroad a lot for work — I should be in Finland or Belgium this week,” said Becky.
Last year’s winners, Hannah Binks on Wycliff, stood reserve small amateur hunter champions.
Lightweight Amateur Hunter Champion
Morse Code beat 28 other horses to this title, ridden by Jamie Ryder-Phillips. This was the duo’s first flat class this season — they qualified for RIHS at the end of 2015 — following a string of worker wins and reserve placings.
Jamie is a graphic design graduate and he juggles freelance projects with teaching children to play the drums as well as working behind the bar at his local pub.
“It frees Jamie up to do the horses in the morning,” said his mother, Penny. “This horse is completely home-produced. They do a lot of cross-country schooling and showjump during the winter. Jamie said he was only going to jump the horse this season but I said ‘no, you need to do a flat class’.”
Nutwood Mimic and owner/rider Sophie Buckley stood reserve lightweight champions.
Heavyweight Amateur Hunter Champion
Hayley Curtis-Eslor’s eight-year-old Lord John (above), by Crosstown Dancer out of Dirren Iren, only joined forces with rider Hetty Spencer five weeks before arriving at RIHS. They were also winners at the Hickstead Derby in June, two days after Hetty, who is based with the Hoods in Norfolk, acquired the ride.
Reserve heavyweight was Highlane Riley (Rachal Fairbairn).
Large Amateur Riding Horse Champion
Picture by Margaret Shaw
Events manager Samantha Coates piloted Bronte (above) to victory in the large riding horse class before standing supreme amateur riding horse champions. Produced by Katie Jerram, the 10-year-old by Riverman is in her second season with Samantha and they finished second in this class here last year.
Reserve large amateur riding horse was High Estate (Judy Harvey).
Small Amateur Riding Horse Champion
Amy Yates and her home-produced Lisette (above) took the honours in this class before being pipped by the large winner in the championship. Amy has had the mare since a four-year-old.
“We had a very naughty intermediate that we couldn’t do anything with, so we sold him and when I went to collect the money at a show, I saw Lisette and couldn’t not have her — so I put her on a friend’s lorry to bring home,” said Amy’s mother, Cathy.
“Coping with sound was an issue,” said Amy, who recently completed a masters in social work. “She’s fine with tannoys and clapping now, but there have been hairy moments.”
Kilnamona Glen, owned by Pat Duncan and ridden by Caroline Mackness, were runners-up in the small section.