‘He really loves his jumping’: cob with a pop is top working show horse at Royal Windsor

  • An all-round cob kicked off the lap of honours at the 2023 Royal Windsor Horse Show as he jumped to the Royal Windsor working show horse title, providing his rider with a career first.

    Sarah Mckay’s Castlebreg, a 12-year-old black gelding who is known as Cyril at home, was ridden by his producer Justine Armstrong-Small, who noted that she’s never won the working show horses on royal soil, until today.

    “What a whirlwind,” said Justine, who was fourth in the Royal Windsor working show horse class with Cyril last year. “We were so late this morning; we got stuck in traffic so I got dressed while we were sitting in the queue. When we arrived we just threw the tack on Cyril and legged it to the ring. I was last to jump so we popped a cross pole and went in.

    “Thankfully, Cyril is so genuine and he really loves his jumping. It’s always a lovely course in the main ring, and today we had big oxers and lots of open space. I didn’t have time to walk the course so I just rallied round looking for the numbers.

    “This has been a lovely end to a hectic morning!”

    Sarah has qualified for Cyril for the amateur cob final at the Royal International (RIHS) in July.

    “He’s a real family horse,” said Sarah, who bought Cyril from Nicola Wainwright, who in turn sourced him from Val Sheehan. “It was a 10 hour round trip in the snow to go and view him.”

    Justine, who has won the working hunter championship at Royal Windsor in previous years, was initially surprised by Cyril’s potential over a fence.

    “We didn’t jump him when we went to see him but one day at home we had a play with him and low and behold he had a pop in him,” she said. “He ballooned over the jumps.”

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