1. Andrew Nicholson saying he’s not going to do any more five-stars
After completing Blenheim Horse Trials CCI4*-L with Monbeg Exclusive, New Zealand eventing legend Andrew Nicholson said he will step down from top-level competition. Some have wondered whether this might be on the cards ever since Andrew handed his five-star ride Swallow Springs to Oliver Townend in the summer, just after winning Barbury. But Paul and Diana Ridgeon’s 13-year-old gelding stayed with Andrew while Oliver took over the reins in the build-up to Blenheim, where he finished 10th in CCI4*-L under Oliver, securing the pair’s five-star qualification as a combination. Andrew, 60, said he enjoyed watching Oliver riding Swallow Springs this week and added: “I think Oliver has done such a good job, I can’t see why I need to go to Badminton again. So, I think I’ll step back from these five-stars and four-star big [fixtures] like this one, and maybe just do the smaller level horses that I can get up through the grades and then sell.” It appears his decision very much hinged on how Oliver got on with the horse at Blenheim, or whether he’d be coming back to Andrew. “I haven’t asked [Oliver] yet if he wants to ride him at Badminton, I’m just presuming,” Andrew added, with that smile.
2. Blenheim winner Yasmin Ingham and her megastar ride
Yasmin Ingham, 24, was a guest on the Horse & Hound Podcast a few months back, where she won herself fans, coming across as someone you’d truly want to support. She won herself many more fans at Blenheim Horse Trials when leading from start to finish. Her talent and manner have secured her loyal owners, and she has a Paris 2024 hopeful in Banzai Du Loir, on whom she won the CCI4*-L title at Blenheim, saying: “That is the most pressurised situation I’ve ever been in in my life and I just couldn’t be more grateful to be sat on such an incredible horse going into this final phase. He gave me his all and tried so hard for me. It’s the best day ever!” Good luck to the pair, who we hope find themselves in many similar situations in future.
3. Highs and lows for Sadie Smith at the National Dressage Champs
Proving the old adage that horses are great levellers, the super talented Sadie Smith won the six-year-old young dressage horse final with Swanmore Dantino at the National Dressage Championships, before being deposited on the floor by the daughter of Dante Weltino in the prize giving. The mare will have to get used to having rosettes placed on her bridle, as we see and expect big things from the winners of these classes. Once Sadie was back in the saddle, her left rein broke… Highs and lows. Congratulations, Sadie, and for taking all with equal good grace. As expected, Charlotte Dujardin topped the four-year-old class on Mon Amour.
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Up-and-coming event rider Yasmin Ingham explains how she got the ride on 2020 eight-and-nine-year-old British champion Banzai Du Loir
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