There were 51 horses forward for the lightweight and heavyweight working hunter classes at the Longines Royal International Horse Show this morning (Friday 28 July), and only 10 clear rounds. Scroll down to view the fences that caused so many problems.
This caused problems for one combination. They were eliminated for three refusals.
This was one of the most influential fences, positioned near to a tree and off a 90-degree left turn from the first. It was knocked down 16 times and three horses refused it first time. Course-designer Kevin Millman said that "those who showjump it will have it down, those who hunt to it will be OK" — and he was right.
This was positioned so that horses jumped it uphill in the sloping arena, and only two knocked it down.
It walked eight-and-a-half strides from fence three to this upright, on an uphill slope, and those that waited for nine strides generally jumped it the best. The top rail fell for 13 horses.
By far the most influential on course and the majority of horses looked at the tray as they approached. In total, 27 horses knocked it down and 11 either refused or ran out, causing three riders to fall off. One combination was eliminated for three refusals at this fence.
14 horses hit the rails on top of the brush, while one horse was eliminated after refusing here for the third time on course. The hedge at b came up on one stride and most jumped through well.
This jumped downhill, but it was a straightforward question and only one horse touched the rails on top of the brush.
All horses left the first part of this double — the second of three combinations in total — in tact.
These planks were one stride behind the gate. No one knocked the planks down.
There were three refusals at this imposing fence, which headed towards the sponsors/officials area. Three horses stopped in front of it and one was eliminated for cumulative refusals, while one rider fell off when his horse ballooned over.
Only one horse touched this oxer which was on the edge of the arena, right next to the spectators' seating area.
This came up on a one-stride distance, and it wasn't hit by any horse.
Placed at the far end of the arena passing other equines warming up for other classes, this wall prompted a few sticky leaps, but largely jumped well.
There is a dry, open ditch on the landing side of this final fence, which fell eight times. One horse refused it twice.
Don't miss the full Royal International report in next week's issue of Horse & Hound, on sale Thursday 3 August.