With two contenders on the same marks, it was all the play for in the 2018 De La Hay supreme ridden pony championship at the 2018 BHS Royal International Horse Show.
Both the Heritage Mountain and Moorland champions Matt Cooper and Benbreac Of Croila (Ben) and the show pony champions Isabella Whittle and Moluccas Bengal Beauty were tied for the win as they both secured 25 marks from judges Adrian Charley, Nicky Coe and Jane Crofts.
Both exbibits were asked to perform again, and Matt and Ben soaked up the pressure and copious amounts of rain to pull off two stunning shows and given the final nod.
This was a first supreme ride for Matt and his freestyle show included two great gallops, smooth changes through the gears and plenty changes of rein to demonstrate Breac’s manners and obedience.
“He’s a dream ride and I think the weather and the occasion helped us as he just ploughed on regardless and he loves a big atmosphere,” said Matt.
It is believed Ben is the first native to win the coveted Dick Saunders trophy awarded to the supreme pony champion.
‘Freddie’ never flicked an ear or turned a hair...
“I knew exactly how fast I went last year and how many fewer strides I needed to take [to win]”
Reserve champions Isabella Whittle and the winning 148cm and champion show pony Moluccas Bengal Beauty, produced by the Jinks Show Team, were another new combination to the pony supreme championship.
However, they hardly had time to develop any nerves as they arrived hot foot from their show pony championship.
“We went through our original show, but in the ride-off I just made one up. All I wanted to do was go well and I hoped to be in the top 10 in our class, so this is a fantastic result,” said Isabella.
Full report from the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of Great Britain at the BHS Royal International Horse Show in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 2 August.