1. Horse of the Year Show being back with gusto
There were so many sensational, emotional HOYS wins, with riders and spectators happy to have this “Olympics of showing” back in the calendar for the first time in two years. Saturday night’s puissance was a highlight, with Michael Duffy (RMF Charly) and Joseph Trunkfield (Senators Rhondaigo) both clearing 2.16m in the fifth and final round in front of a packed crowd who promptly lifted the roof on the NEC. Twelve started, with just three making it through to round three. You’d have put your money on puissance specialists Guy Williams and Mr Blue Sky UK, but this pair exited at this stage after dislodging the bricks behind when the wall stood at 2.15m. Harry Charles, took the grand prix on the 11-year-old mare Stardust, a fairly new ride owned by Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein and Chase Steer, and Robert Walker clinched the overall horse of the year supreme honours in the evening performance in the International Arena riding View Point. All in all, top sport.
2. The relentless strength and depth of Charlotte Dujardin’s horse power
Charlotte Dujardin won her fifth consecutive HOYS Dressage Future Elite title, this time riding Imhotep, on whom she swept the board at this year’s Lemieux National Dressage Championships,. What’s even more impressive is that she has now won the title on five different horses. The class, an inter I freestyle, is for eight- to 10-year-old horses, and Charlotte’s previous winners include the championship medal-winning Hawtins Delicato and Mount St John Freestyle. This time, Charlotte was riding Carl Hester and Coral Ingham’s eight-year-old Everdale gelding Imhotep. The pair won on plus-84%, putting them seven per cent ahead of second-placed Andrew Gould on Genie I. “He’s got the biggest heart and he tries so hard; he’s definitely one who will be lining up for Paris,” said Charlotte. We wait to see who will be riding him there.
3. The trend for horses wearing titanium hoods
Anyone watching Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) this year will have been struck by the increased number of horses competing in liquid titanium hoods. But why? The masks, made with or without ears, are said to have a calming effect on the horse. Some showjumpers swear they make flighty horses less so. Others say they’ve tried them and the round didn’t go badly so they stuck with them, which sounds like as good a reason as any. Perhaps like anything that promises to help children sleep – it’s worth a crack if your horse is on the fretful side? Then there’s the added bonus that they stop fly veils from slipping.
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