Stunning RIHS working hunter debut for rider who has ‘never won anything like this before’

  • A rider jumping at the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) for the very first time in his career went through the card to take the Saracen Horse Feeds supreme working hunter title on the winning heavyweight. Craig Kiddier and Susan Tennant’s magnificent eight-year-old Mulberry Lane (Obie) were both making their working hunter debuts at the show.

    The partnership produced a textbook clear round in the jumping phase, despite Obie’s lack of championship show mileage.

    “I’ve never won anything like this before,” said Craig. “That championship ride was unreal, and galloping around during the lap of honour was the icing on the cake.”

    Craig has ridden flat horses on Hickstead soil for several years; just 24 hours earlier he had ridden Obie to finish fifth in the middleweight hunter line-up.

    Craig is in his third season with the OBOS Quality son. As a novice he showed his promise after he was working hunter champion at the Great Yorkshire, and he featured at Horse of the Year Show last year, just rolling a pole.

    “He is the most incredible horse,” added Craig, who hunts him regularly with the South Notts. “He’s got a lot of character, but I like that. I can only describe him as a big dog.”

    Of the Kevin Millman-built course, Craig said: “It was up-to-height with plenty of questions throughout. At one point I thought we were safe but then I came down the hill to the ditch and I had to think again. The ground was slippery, so there were quite a few horses landing out of the ditch and having the following fence down. Obie didn’t falter, though, and he was brilliant every step of the way.

    “It was my first time riding in the main ring, too, so I completely winged the championship; I tend to wing everything in life.”

    Owner Susan spotted Obie as a three-year-old at Dublin Horse Show. She bought him out of the ring from Brian Clingham.

    “He was backed by Brian, hunted in Ireland for a bit and then he came over to the UK,” said Susan, for whom this was also a first RIHS victory. “He then had a growth spurt and he went to Craig when he was a five-year-old. He’s never done a lot and we’ve never pushed him with his jumping, though this year he’s matured a lot and it has shown in his results.

    “I never expected this when I saw him in Dublin five years ago. There are so many things that can potentially go wrong along the way, and you have so many ups and downs that you can never predict how a horse will turnout.”

    The winning lightweights, Melanie Hennah and her own AS Finistere, finished as reserve champions. This duo also have a Great Yorkshire championship win to their name.

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