There was plenty of head-scratching at Royal Windsor Horse Show on Friday afternoon after Joe Stockdale and his great mare Equine America Cacharel were given four faults in the opening section of Friday’s opening CSI5* two-phase.
Joe told H&H he didn’t think he’d touched any rails, but ringside spectators had seen the top of fence three, the troublesome Tower Bridge fence, come down and it initially looked to have been a late-falling pole.
“I just looked up at the screen after I crossed the line and saw the four faults, but couldn’t figure out where I’d had it down,” Joe said.
“I thought maybe I had time-faults in the first round [in this two-phase competition] but when I saw the plank on the floor I knew something was wrong, because it was on the wrong side of the fence [nearside, rather than on the landing side].
“Ninety per cent of the time you can tell when horses have touched a pole because you can hear it. They might not have it down but you can hear when they’ve touched it and I could tell she hadn’t.”
Joe approached the judges as soon as he left the ring.
“Straight away they, and all the other riders, said I was four strides away before the fence came down,” explained Joe. “Luckily they’d seen it and agreed it shouldn’t have been four faults so were happy for me to jump again [in the second phase of the track].
“I’ve had fences blow down before but it’s not particularly windy today, so I wasn’t expecting that. Unless perhaps it wasn’t quite on the cups properly beforehand. But it’s just a bit of a strange one.”
The incident was put down to a freak gust of wind on a moderately breezy day and Joe was allowed to return to the ring to jump the second section of the course later on in the class and he and the 11-year-old mare powered home clear in style. Their time of 30.06sec was good enough for 10th place behind winner Henrik von Eckermann of Sweden riding Iliana, and sets Joe and “Cash” up beautifully for a tilt at Royal Windsor Horse Show’s Rolex grand prix on Sunday.
“It did her good to come back in actually – she saw the crowd again and felt that atmosphere and if she’s not going to jump another class again before the grand prix on Sunday I just felt she needed to jump a couple more fences, so I’m glad she got that,” said Joe.
“She feels fantastic, she’s one of those horses that really rises to the atmosphere so sometimes it’s just about trying to keep her calm.”
- You can follow all the action from Royal Windsor Horse Show online and in next week’s issue of the magazine, in the shops Thursday, 19 May.
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