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Showing 2019 nostalgia: best of June — a judge awards zero marks, Cuddy contenders shine and why a failed wedding was the best thing to happen to one rider

As the showing season is on pause for the foreseeable due to the Coronavirus lockdown, H&H takes a look back at its June 2019 showing reports, and it was a busy month…

We bring you some memorable stories, thought provoking quotes, horses we loved watching and some top tips for when we can finally hit the show ring again.

Quotes that stuck…

“It is a dream come true for me to have a horse like this” — Allan Birch on his working hunter Parkmore Rowan, who clinched his Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) ticket at Derbyshire Festival.

“This class was like being offered a box of fine chocolates — they were all outstanding” — Judge John Keen on the field of Cuddy in-hand contenders at Royal Three Counties, which was eventually won by Steve Pitt and Vicky Smith’s broodmare Power Of Love.

Stories we loved…

Young working hunter rider Ruby Ward was back to her brilliant best at Midland Counties following a spell in hospital for a mystery virus that attacked her kidneys and immune system. Despite ongoing treatment, she jumped to head the plaited working ponies with her 133cm victor Noble Peppermint (above).

At Royal Cornwall, hunter Chantilly Bojangles went through the card to clinch the hunter title before landing the Queen’s Cup with owner/rider Lucy Lockwood in the saddle. The gelding was bought off the back of Lucy’s wedding not going ahead; he had been offered to Lucy prior to her wedding, but she turned him down on the basis she knew she was getting married and hoping to start a family.

“Things didn’t go to plan and I didn’t get married,” said Lucy. “We call him the wedding pony. Everything happens for a reason and my drastic change in personal circumstances brought this horse into my world.”

Dianne Stennett’s prolific mare Time 2 Reflect (above) made the perfect start to her new job as an in-hand broodmare when she won her first ever Cuddy ticket at South of England.

“This mare is extraordinary,” said her producer and former rider Jayne Ross, who was on the end of the lead rein. “No matter what I ask of her, she tries her heart out and then tries even harder.”

Tips we took home…

Allan Robertson gave readers a taste of how he sets about judging a coveted championships such as a Cuddy in-hand qualifier when officiating at the Royal Bath and West.

“You have to be hyper-critical when you first start looking,” said Allan. “But when you have your top six, you’re looking at the smallest imperfections.”

At Royal Three Counties, the ridden heavy horse qualifier caused much discussion after four horses were given a zero mark for ride. Ride judge Brigit Ensten explained: “It is a ridden class for 
HOYS qualification, so if I get on a horse and it doesn’t go, I cannot give a mark — hence the zeroes. My marks show how each 
horse rode for me on the day. This should give competitors a good indication for improvement and get their homework in order. Horses that gained good ride marks were responsive, balanced and forward-thinking, making for a pleasant, enjoyable ride.”

The horses we wanted in our stables…

Jill Godden’s exquisite show pony mare Rhos Exception (above) netted a Cuddy ticket at Midland Counties with James Crockford. The home-bred mare by Derwent Rainbow Bandit was ridden champion at HOYS in 2015.

At Hambleton and District, a former HOYS show hunter pony champion made a triumphant return to the ring to land her first Olympia ticket in senior ranks. The 19-year-old 2008 HOYS victor Pretoria (above) — also a former Royal International (RIHS) winner — won the ridden title for her owner Kimberley Wright. “She is our horse of a lifetime,” said Kimberley.

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Connemara White Diamond made a triumphant Three Counties debut to take both a HOYS ticket and section championship for owner Katie Goulding. “I don’t have a manège at home, but I think it went in our favour as Nemo just floated through the mud here — his name has proved extremely apt as he loves water,” said Katie.

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