Britain’s best six-year-olds to compete in ‘Big Star’ championship

  • The British Showjumping (BS) national six-year-old championship is to be renamed after Big Star, to ensure his “tremendous talent and performance are acknowledged within the sport”.

    BS said it was “with great delight” that it announced the competition will be renamed the Big Star Championships from 2017.

    The 2016 Olympic gold medal-winner took the six-year-old title in 2009.

    “I have always felt that the age-class system is the correct way to produce a horse with long term performance in mind,” rider Nick Skelton said.

    “When Big Star won in 2009 I knew that he was incredibly special and that we had a potential medal-winner in him.

    “We have always taken our time to produce him slowly and to see it paid off in the way that it has been with back-to-back golds still makes me emotional when I think about it.

    “I am delighted that Big Star is being recognised in this way and I hope it inspires others to take the same route and produce young horses through what I believe to be the correct path.”

    BS said Nick’s decision to take Big Star through the age class structure is testament to the national competition format, and hopes it will “inspire other breeders, owners, producers and riders hoping for top level success to follow in his path”.

    Chief executive Iain Graham added: “We very much wanted to ensure that Big Star’s name was kept at the forefront of everyone’s minds within the sport by renaming a championship title after him and there couldn’t have been a more fitting one than the national six-year-olds.”

    A new bronze trophy of Nick and Big Star jumping in Rio, called Making History, will be created for the competition, by sculptor Carolyn Morton.

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    Iain added: “The series will commence in the spring and culminate at our national championships in August and we look forward to seeing horses, who may well follow in Big Star’s footsteps, crowned and awarded the prestigious new perpetual trophy which is being created for it.”

    Gary Widdowson, who owns Big Star with his wife Beverley, said they were “delighted” by the honour.

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