‘He lapped up the atmosphere’: owner gets dream wedding present as small hack reigns at Windsor

  • A small hack pulled off his biggest win to date at this year’s Royal Windsor Horse Show by winning his class and clinching the Count Robert Orssich 2024 Royal Windsor hack championship.

    Shildons Plan B (Bart), a 10-year-old bay gelding, was partnered by Jo Bates who stood in for usual rider Ami Blundell (nee Miller), who has been in South Africa celebrating her honeymoon this week.

    “Bart is a real showman and he lapped up the atmosphere,” said Jo, who has now won the hack title at Windsor four times. “This is the third season for him but it’s his first show of the year. Ami got married last week but has been watching him via video coverage from South Africa. She even held the safari up for 45 minutes so she could see the championship.”

    The son of Kilvington Scoundrel was bred by Vicki Rudd out of Colbeach Regal Model. Last year he stood reserve classic hack champion at the British Show Horse Association (BSHA) and he was also section champion at New Forest show.

    “He was well placed last year at HOYS and RI with Ami, too,” Jo added.

    Talking about his Windsor triumph, Jo said: “I came with no expectations; I’m just happy if they go beautifully but I’m thrilled to bits with Bart. He loves competing and he felt great today.”

    At the 2022 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS), Ami watched Jo take the hack title aboard her large winner Ballinclare.

    “We were looking for something that was true-to-type and that filled the eye,” said judge Julie Templeton, who assessed conformation while co-judge Zara Owen was the ride judge. “I have never judged with Zara before, but we were both looking for hacks that were in front of the leg and going freely forward in all paces. We felt some horses were over-bent today; that’s one of my pet hates and it’s a difficult fault to correct.”

    Reserve champion, another by the legendary Kilvington Scoundrel, went to second placed large contender and three-time Windsor hack champion Forgeland Hyde Park, who was ridden by his owner Isabella Mears Wood, new to hack ranks this season.

    “We felt he came in the main ring and lit up,” said Julie. “The championship is judged separately, and he was better in there than in his class.”

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