Allister Hood dominated the British Horse Society supreme ridden horse championship at the Longines Royal International Horse Show this afternoon (Sunday 30 July), piloting Diamonds Are Forever to take the prestigious top title.
Diamonds Are Forever (‘Freddie’) was home-bred by his owner Annabel Jenks and came through to the supreme after standing riding horse champion on Friday.
The three supreme judges rewarded Freddie’s elegant individual show with 28 marks — two nines and a 10 — from a possible 30.
The only other 10 went to Our Cashel Blue.
“What an achievement for Freddie and Annabel, especially after she’s had the patience to stay with him,” said Allister, who started producing Freddie as a four-year-old but the gelding missed his fifth and sixth years due to an unusual growth spurt.
“He grew unevenly. As a four-year-old he was only 15.2hh, but then he grew behind — up to 16hh — and didn’t grow in front, so he was downhill.
“At six he grew level but needed time to mature, so I had him back at Christmas when he was coming seven. Since then he’s been unbeaten and this is his first supreme championship.”
Allister also piloted Lady Caroline Tyrrell’s cob champion Our Cashel Blue to stand reserve supreme for the second year running.
Allister’s son, Oliver, finished third on the Lisha Leeman-owned coloured champion, Kellythorpes Master Key.
It has rained heavily this week and the ground in the international arena was soft in places, but Freddie looked balanced and graceful throughout — Allister even cantering by the judges with one hand off the reins.
“We hack out a lot at home and he has to cope with all sorts of ground, so a bit of mud wouldn’t bother a horse like him,” added Allister. “He’s a beautiful moving horse and when a judge sits on him he’s the most soft, easy horse to ride.”
Due to the going, galloping was not allowed in individual shows. The gallop is normally a speciality for the defending champion Time 2 Reflect and the Dianne Stennett-owned hunter champion — supreme here with Jayne Ross in 2015 and 2016 — finished joint-third this time.
Time 2 Reflect, Kellythorpes Master Key and Susanna Welby’s hack champion Elusive (Jo Bates) all scored 22 marks.
The sixth horse forward was the pure-bred ridden Arabian champion, Sameon Marouhk (Ben Hester), who scored 20.
Lady leads the way
The mini champion Seamoor Lady Derby (below) lifted the de la Hey Family supreme ridden pony title.
The six-year-old lead-rein winner — and mini champion here for the second year running — is owned by Mandy Burchell Small and handled by her son Oliver. Oliver’s young son James was in the saddle and attracted a huge cheer when he waved to the crowd while rising to trot during his show.
Don’t miss the full RIHS report in next week’s H&H, on sale Thursday 3 August.