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Which titles do top riders really want to win?

There are some titles that every rider dreams of having to their name — and their roll of honour reads like a who’s who of the equestrian world.

Since the days when David Broome and Harvey Smith were household names and featured on prime-time TV, horse sport has changed — in some ways — beyond recognition.

A life of globe-trotting, seven-figure prize funds, bright lights and a resident nutritionist hasn’t always been the norm.

But what about those coveted titles? H&H asked top riders what the “ones to win” now are — and whether they have changed during their time in the sport.

Tim Stockdale, showjumping

“More people deemed the Aachen grand prix the pinnacle of showjumping; the one to win. But nowadays that’s more likely to be the Global Champions Tour final in Doha.”

Pammy Hutton, dressage

“The ultimate aims were always Goodwood CDI and the Aachen grand prix. Goodwood now doesn’t exist, but Aachen is still hugely important, as are the national dressage championships.”

David Broome, showjumping

“The King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead was the one everybody would have done, even if it was for only £1. But we were jumping for next to nothing then. People aren’t so keen on doing the Nations Cups these days because the money’s elsewhere.”

Continued below…

Mary Low (née Gordon Watson), eventing

“Other than the Olympics, the ultimate event to win was Badminton. I think that is the same now. Burghley is on a par nowadays but Badminton was the original.”

Michael Whitaker, showjumping

“It is still events such as the Aachen grand prix and the Hickstead Derby that all showjumpers aim for. Even though money has brought in new major titles, we’re not all money-driven. If we were, we would be doing something else altogether.”

Chris Bartle, eventing

“Eventers always wanted to win Badminton or Burghley; they were the only events of that level in those days. Badminton still holds that cachet for many.”

Read the full article about how horse sport has evolved in the current issue of Horse & Hound magazine (19 February 2015)

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