To qualify for Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) is many riders’ goal for the season and to reach any championship is a remarkable achievement. But some of this year’s showjumping contenders have amassed a seriously impressive haul of HOYS tickets.
Durham-based rider Annabel Shields leads the way, having claimed an outstanding eight slots at this year’s show.
“Riding at HOYS is always an honour and to have eight qualification tickets is just brilliant,” says Annabel, 26, the former national champion.
Her most successful horse — and the “princess” of the yard — has been the seven-year-old Gerona (pictured) (Bacardi VDL x Matterhorn), who graduates to HOYS with a hat-trick of finals to contest — the Equitop Myoplast Foxhunter, the Talent Seekers including seven-year-old championship and the British Horse Feeds Speedi-Beet HOYS grade C championship.
Annabel’s busy week at the Birmingham NEC will also involve riding the nine-year-old Epke (Ultimo x Burggraaf), the eight-year-old grey mare and former eventer Creevagh Carisma, the eight-year-old British-bred Rubin VHS (Zenith x Chellano Z) and the 10-year-old Capriole II, one of two owned by Annabel’s father Robert.
“You have a great feeling of pride riding at this fantastic show and it’s a super testament for my family-run yard and the effort that everyone puts in,” said Annabel.
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HOYS regular Nicole Pavitt has amassed seven qualification tickets for the senior championships, while pony rider Claudia Moore is hot on her heels with six championship places to her name.
The national jumping classes run at HOYS from Wednesday 3 October until Sunday 7 October with international competitions beginning on Friday. British riders including Michael and John Whitaker, Guy Williams, Joe Clayton and Robert Whitaker have all confirmed their attendance.
Don’t miss our full preview to this year’s 70th anniversary edition of Horse of the Year Show in next week’s Horse & Hound, out Thursday 27 September.