It’s one of the biggest accolades a show horse can take, and this year, a lightweight hunter pinged his way around the Castle Arena to the supreme champion title on the final day of the Royal Windsor Horse Show (13 May 2018).
Let’s get to know the 2018 victor, View Point (AKA Sean). The now seven-year-old Irish-bred bay gelding is owned by Gill Day. By Loughahoe Guy and out of Quality Dame, Sean is ridden and produced by Cheshire-based showman Robert Walker and his team. He was bought as a foal from his breeder, Sean Jones.
View Point: 2018 Royal Windsor supreme champion
1. He has great genes
While his own record is certainly an impressive one, View Point’s older brother Vantage Point, also piloted by Robert, notched up several successes in the show ring a few years before. Vantage Point’s tally includes the 2015 Hunter of the Year title.
2. Novice success
As a four and five year old he took the novice circuit by storm, standing novice champion twice at the British Show Horse Championships and also winning the novice hunters at the Great Yorkshire Show, when he was a five year old.
3. He’s a HOYS champion
In 2017, on his HOYS debut, View Point claimed the overall Hunter of the Year title. “He performed beyond his years in that arena,” says Robert, when the pair won the title. “I thought maybe we had brought him a year too soon, but he’s just got better and better while he’s been here.”
4. In the Windsor limelight
With 16 other contenders, the supreme championship was judged by none other than dressage supremos Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin. “The winner was the only one who had the length of frame and looked up hill the whole time,” says Carl. “I can imagine it’s like sitting on an aircraft waiting to take off.”
5. He’s the first in the field
“He love to go out,” says Robert. “He loves a routine so knows when it’s time to go in the field — in the morning he is waiting to be turned out. In summer, he’s out by himself but in winter he goes out with our heavyweight, Patrick’s Choice.”
6. He’s a quick learner
“He does a lot of hacking as he is a very quick learner and would get bored going round and round in the school. This also means he doesn’t need too much work in between shows,” says Robert.
7. He’s a chatterbox
“When he’s out and about at shows, he often whinnies,” says Robert. “Sometimes he even does it when the judge is on him. He doesn’t even move his head but you can gently hear him. He did it just before my gallop at Windsor, but I just laughed as it’s part of his charm.”
8. He loves attention
“He can often be more relaxed at bigger shows. He loves the cheers and clapping from the crowds and just laps up the attention,” says Robert.
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday
This week’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (17 May 2018) features a full report from Royal Windsor Horse Show, including all the showing, showjumping and dressage action