Robert Walker’s 12 top moments in the ring

  • A brush with death, Windsor whitewash and multiple back-to-back HOYS titles. Robert Walker, who guest edited this week’s showing special (17 March), has enjoyed many great moments in the show ring on beautiful horses — we celebrate some of the best below.

    1. Pride & Joy

    middleweight hunter pride and joy

    Robert suffered a crippling brain virus in 2010, which left him unable to talk or walk. So riding Pride & Joy to stand hunter champion at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) several months later was a poignant moment.

    “He’d been reserve for two years running and, conformationally, was the best horse I’d ever had,” recalls Robert. “But I couldn’t even walk, let alone warm a horse up, so I was plonked on in the collecting ring and just about lasted four laps of the arena.

    “I had to wear a sticky glove and boot to stop dropping the contact in the evening performance. Finishing overall champion meant the world to me.”

    2. Double Coin

    robert walker - Double Coin

    An oldie but a goodie: Robert credits Double Coin’s performance at the Royal International (RIHS) as a turning point in his career.

    “Double Coin was a major influence on my career. I had him when I was 16 and he took me to RIHS for the first time. I was pulled in top out of 43 and suddenly everyone sat up and took notice. We eventually finished third but it was very much a turning point,” says Robert.

    3. Cool Green Star

    robert walker - Cool Green Star

    Although he now lives in Cheshire, Robert was born and raised in Yorkshire, and he always wanted to win the hunter championship at Great Yorkshire Show. Cool Green Star (pictured) obliged in 1998, when Robert was 23.

    “For a Yorkshire person it’s the pinnacle and winning there was a huge deal for me,” says Robert.

    4. Caesars Palace

    CEASERS PALACE ridden by Robert Walker in the Show Hunter of the Year at the Horse of the Year Show at the N. E. C. Birmingham, UK between 8th -12th October 2014

    The “George Clooney” of showing stood show hunter of the year at HOYS in 2014, aged five. He was out of action last year due to a chipped tooth and will make a comeback this season.

    5. Vantage Point

    VANTAGE POINT ridden by Robert Walker for Jill Day, Champion in Class 36, TopSpec Show Hunter of the Year Championship, during Horse Of The Year Show at the NEC Birmingham, West Midlands, UK between 07-11th October 2015

    The year 2015 was a stellar season for Robert, culminating in Vantage Point standing heavyweight winner and overall show hunter of the year at HOYS.

    6. Starry Night

    STARRY NIGHT exhibited by ROBERT WALKER and owned by CAMILLA NEAME during The Supreme Cob Championship at The Longines Royal International Horse Show in West Sussex, UK between 29 July and 3 August 2014

    Starry Night was also crowned maxi cob of the year in 2015, and retired to the hunting field. “Basil” was a winner at HOYS six years in a row, originally as a heavyweight until he measured out of those classes last season.

    His showdown in the ring with Simon Reynolds’ Hallmark, another multi-titled cob who dominated the lightweight scene prior to maxi-cob classes, attracted much attention.

    7. Windsor whitewash

    GRAND SLAM ridden by Mr Robert Walker for owner Jill Day Champion in the Novice Hunter Championship during the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Windsor Castle, Berkshire, UK between 13th-17 May 2015

    Last year started as well as it finished for Team Walker, with a Windsor whitewash in May. Grand Slam, the middleweight tragically killed by colic in August, took the novice championship and Pride Of Place claimed the open title, while the novice lightweight Shroughmore Emperor, novice cob Randlestown Rolex and Starry Night were also winners.

    “Windsor is early in the season for us so it’s hard to have horses bang on, but it’s always an aim to have a novice champion there,” says Robert.

    8. Silent Words

    09.10.08 . Hack Of The Year Class . Robert Walker on Silent Words II .

    Despite lacking match practice after injuring his back at The Royal Show several months earlier, Silent Words successfully defended his small hack title before standing champion with Robert at HOYS in 2008.

    9. Party Time

    Horse No 360 winner of the Top Spec Supreme Ridden Horse Championship at the Great Yorkshire Show on 10 July 2013

    The small hunter Party Time won £1,500 when standing supreme at Great Yorkshire show in 2013. The horse was small hunter of the year at HOYS in 2011, where Team Walker also took second place on Golden Tasset. Both horses belonged to Jill Day

    10. So Smart

    11.10.08 . Cob Class . Robert Walker on So Smart II .

    Robert and So Smart stood champion cob at HOYS in 2006. The pair were reserves the following year, when So Smart stood supreme coloured champion with Robert’s wife, Sarah. It was a special moment as it was Sarah’s first win at HOYS.

    11. Broadstone Doulton

    Broadstone Doulton Supreme horse RIHS 2005

    The riding horse Broadstone Doulton stood champion or reserve every time out in 2007, including standing supreme with Robert at RIHS, the British Show Horse Association national championships and HOYS.

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    12. Whalton Forgery

    The British Horse Society Supreme Ridden Horse Championship - whalton forgery and robert walker

    RIHS 2012 was a good show for Robert, with Whalton Forgery (pictured), by Kilvington Scoundrel, standing champion hack and Royal Engagement finishing reserve in the small section.

    Don’t miss H&H’s showing special (17 March), guest edited by Robert Walker, on sale now.

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