Armed forces to do battle at Olympia

Riders from all three armed forces are to do battle over a course of showjumps at Olympia next month (19 to 23 December).

The UK Armed Forces Equestrian Association (UKAFE) said it is “incredibly grateful” to show director Simon Brooks-Ward for again including the services showjumping class at the London International Horse Show.

The class takes place on the Tuesday (19 December) and for only the third time in the event’s history, all thee services – the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force – will be represented, “reflecting the growth of equestrian sport in the military and the depth of talent”, according to the UKAFE.

Among those taking part are three officers, three senior non-commissioned officers and two junior non-commissioned officers. Two riders are reserve personnel with civilian jobs and three come from mounted military units, riding three military working horses.

All working horses have taken part in military parades this year.

A UKAFE spokesman explained that riders gain points at a series of qualifying military competitions throughout the year, with the top 17 taking part in a semi-final at the Defence Animal Training Regiment (DATR), at Melton Mowbray in October, at which the top eight qualified for the Olympia final.

“With two previous class winners, and six UKAFE showjumping team members in the mix, the class is set to be one of the best the armed forces have fielded at Olympia,” the spokesman said.

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Major Richard Chambers, riding master of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, added: “For the military to have the opportunity to jump on such a world class stage is fantastic.

“It must be remembered that all personnel riding at this event have operational roles and fit in riding at this level with a hugely demanding work commitment.”

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