9 shocking, hilarious and utterly brilliant things you might have missed from the Blue Chip Winter Championships

  • Last week saw the annual running of the British Showjumping Blue Chip Winter Championships at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire (30 March — 3 April). The competition was packed full with action, some of which Suzanne Jones documents here

    1. Elton John is in the building – the four-legged Elton John II that is, jumping in Wednesday’s novice championship with Daniella Johnston.

    2. Adam Taylor on Cedarmount Socks won the novice championship aided by Lemsip and paracetamol: “I’ve had flu for three days, even the horse helped me in there,” he croaked.

    3. “He thinks about everything, if he was a person, he’d be a geek in glasses, he’s so Captain Sensible and studious, I’m sure he goes back to the stable and works how to do it better next time.” Emma-Jo Slater on her Blue Chip Karma performance champion Kimba Flamenco.

    4. Julian Mincher’s Blue Chip B&C winner Eindhoven GH isn’t called ‘Diesel’ at home because he wins the diesel money. “He’s named after Vin Diesel because when I bought him as a two-year-old he was a trolley cob — short, wide and stocky. Luckily, he’s grown and blooded out now.”

    5. No, you weren’t seeing double or had too much gin! There were two grey horses named Zilverster — both 12-year-old Dutch-bred mares — in the Blue Chip Pro challenge. Gemma Ellison’s Silverstone x Corland grade C mare and Yazmin Davis’ Guidam x Celano grade A Zilverster II.

    6. April Fool! A series of pranks played on the walkie-talkie radios from 7am on Friday morning kept commentator Matt Millin and steward Frank Grunnill on their toes. Even show director Kelvin Bywater got in on the act. No, a refuse lorry hadn’t squashed Frank’s car despite the radio announcements, and Matt soon cottoned on that the clamp on his BMW was actually Frank’s caravan clamp. But when Kelvin claimed both Matt and Andrew Pollard had been sacked over ‘a serious situation’ Frank was temporarily taken in. However, the tables were turned again on Matt with Frank claiming he was walking out in protest of the sacking. Matt was totally taken in. In the end, a draw and truce was declared after much mirth.

    7. Jay Halim (pictured) celebrated winning the Blue Chip grand prix and taking the Andrews Bowen £1,000 bonus — awarded when he was second in the Blue Chip Pro challenge and winning the top-billed grand prix — in novel style. He posted a picture on his Twitter account taken in the stables after his win, wearing nothing but a strategically placed winning rug and sash, a pair of riding boots and a smile!

    8. A very relieved little lost dog was extremely pleased to meet up with his owners after spending four hours in the secretary’s office before being claimed. Although there were plenty of cuddles and titbits handed out while he waited!

    Continued below…

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    9. Lauren Roach hadn’t planned on competing at this show, but when Pebbles Pullen suffered a bad fall in the Animo pony novice championship, she stepped in and rode Iceford Little Miss into second place in the Animo pony discovery final. “But I didn’t have my clothes with me,” she said. Mia Price generously offered the loan of all the gear, jacket, jodhs and boots, etc, although they were a little big for the diminutive and very slender Lauren. “I held the jodhs up with a belt but I had to swap the boots after the first round because they really were too big,” she said.

    Read the full report from the British Showjumping Blue Chip Winter Championships in this week’s Horse & Hound magazine; out on Thursday 7 April

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