‘I’m not a convert yet but we’ll see!’ how puissance winner came back barefoot to reclaim his crown

  • Guy Williams’ multiple puissance-winning ride Mr Blue Sky UK has shown he is just as good, if not better, without shoes.

    Guy and Caroline and Rupert Phillips’ Chacco-Blue gelding retained their London International Horse Show title on Thursday (15 December), clearing 2.15m to take the win jointly with Joseph Trunkfield on Cruze.

    The 13-year-old is a superstar over the red wall, winning at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS), Rouen and Liverpool as well as the previous three London titles. He finished third in the class at HOYS 2022, which Guy said was ‘probably the only time he’s had the wall down”. But he has since come back in style.

    Guy told H&H his daughter Maisy has been competing the versatile grey in young rider classes – he has previously joked about his “family horse” – and it was she who proposed the change.

    “My daughter took the shoes off her stallion and he’s been jumping clear at 1.45m and going better, so she asked if she could take the shoes off all hers, and I said yes,” he said.

    “I was going to put them back on but thought I’d leave him; I haven’t been riding him much but he came here and jumped super.”

    Guy added that he is “not a [barefoot] convert yet but we’ll see”.

    “We’ll play it by ear,” he said. “Everyone in Europe seems to be jumping without shoes so why not try it? I think they lose a bit of stride [length] which has been handy for Maisy because he’s a big horse.

    “So maybe it’s helped him – but it certainly hasn’t hindered him!”

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