The flowing 12-fence working hunter course at the 2021 Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) rewarded those combinations who had put in the miles on the hunt field. Stamina, fitness and bravery — of both horses and humans — were tested.
The penultimate fence — the permanent water obstacle — caused the most drama, and those without enough petrol in the tank to withstand the distance and undulating turf rolled the odd poles.
While the course required a fair hunt horse, a rider with a top show jumping record netted the overall Saracens Horse Feeds working hunter championship after scoring the heavyweight class.
This was Nicole Lockhead Anderson aboard Paulette Cooper’s outstanding 11-year-old MJM Laszlo, a winner here in 2018 with his former pilot Louise Lyons.
This result was the cherry on top of a stellar week for Nicole, who had already practiced her Longines International Arena victory lap earlier in the week when she won the Al Shira’aa six-year-old championship with Emerald Irish Cruise.
Laszlo resides with Tokyo-bound British Olympic showjumper Holly Smith where Nicola has been based for the past three years.
“I’m very lucky to ride Laszlo; he’s a fabulous horse,” said Nicole, who dabbled in some showing during her childhood but is relatively new to top level worker ranks. “He’s the easiest, loveliest horse and he gives you a great feeling in the ring.”
When asked how jumping the working hunter track here compares to the show jumping, Nicole said that Laszlo makes the transition easy for her:
“He gets into such a nice rhythm and is so careful that it makes everything so easy for me. The course suited him well; it was flowing and while some of the fences seemed to cause a few problems he’s not spooky at all.”
Reserve was the winning lightweight, Cheryl Farrow’s Alda Cruise 10-year-old Bloomfield Incognito.
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