Now for something a little different: take a virtual walk the 2023 HOYS working hunter course

  • One of the most anticipated classes on day one of the 2023 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) was the Sport Horse Breeding of Great Britain 2023 HOYS Working Hunter of the Year Championship which saw the country’s most talented horses and riders battle it out for the crown.

    The 11-fence course, provided by Cheshire Show Services and designed by David Cole, was a feast for the eyes, with each obstacle providing a different challenge.

    Not a single fence could be labelled out as the bogey of the course, as rolled poles were aplenty, with a handful of horses also finding the atmosphere too much and offering stops or run outs.

    Six combinations produced a clear round.

    See if your horse could take on the 2023 HOYS working hunter of the year course, or if you might need to put in some extra hours of training over winter before you give it a go…

    Fence 1

    And they’re off! You could hear a pin drop in the main arena as each of the combinations cantered into number one. The initial effort of the course was a tidy oxer with a small filler to the front, approached off the left rein. 

    Fence 2

    A poley upright with a filler to the front.

    Fence 3

    An inventive and spooky skinny made up of three upright poles and a house filler to the front. Heading towards the crowd, so spooks here were not surprising. 

    Fence 4ab

    The first of two doubles, this one being the more rustic of two. This combinations requires just the one stride, and a decent effort from the horses.

    Fence 5

    An inventive yet sizable oxer sits at fence number five. While pretty, the dash of colour might be off putting to some horses.

    Fence 6

    The lightest of touches could role the top pole of this upright and the filler in the front might make some horses take a peep.

    Fence 7

    At seven you will find this rustic jump which has options. Which route are you taking?

    Fence 8

    Probably the best dressed fence of the course, number eight houses the water tray. The tray sits behind a branch, and there are plenty of fillers to the sides to keep things interesting.

    Fence 9

    The second double consisting of two skinny uprights. This one caused quite a few problems, with some horses being intimidated by either the line or the narrowness of the fences. It required a long single stride.

    Fence 10

    The penultimate fence is a chunky oxer that has been dressed with thatched decorations and sunflowers.

    Fence 11

    The final effort of the course. If you made it this far, this white gate with bushes to the front and side shouldn’t really be a problem. Famous last words. 

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