One of the many great stories to come out of last week’s Al Shira’aa Bolesworth Young Horse Championships (19-23 August) was from Saturday’s Equerry Horse Feeds 1m open championship.
With a colossal field of 74 riders bidding for glory, this final was always going to be fast and furious, but it couldn’t have been closer between the top two riders — a real case of David versus Goliath.
The stylish victor was international rider Jay Halim with the 10-year-old stallion Billy Cointreau, a son of Billy Congo who had formerly been jumping at CSI3* and CSI4* level but was dropping back significantly in level with his new rider after “not going a yard” over the higher fences.
But giving Jay a brilliant run for his money was 12-year-old Ruby Light riding Shirley Light’s Brendon Stud homebred Lord Don, a stallion son of the great Don VHP Z, who Ruby had been riding for a matter of days.
Just 0.36sec separated the two in this two-phase championship and Jay was presented with one of the coveted Bolesworth winner’s rugs but, in a wonderfully sporting gesture supported by his owners, he then offered it to a “thrilled” Ruby, who was also presented with a trophy by Bolesworth.
“It’s nice to see international riders supporting the young riders,” said Ruby’s mother Jacqui. “Ruby only sat on Lord Don last week for the first time, this was their first show. He’s a total gent and a perfect horse for children-on-horses.”
Ruby also finished with four faults on her second ride in the 1m final, the 11-year-old Lady Warrior, another Brendon Stud home-bred by Warrior.
Jay nevertheless travelled back to Gloucestershire with his own winner’s rug, after a tremendous victory in Sunday’s 1.40m grand prix on Aragon Z.
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“It’s a fairly unique double – I can’t imagine many riders have won a 1m championship as well as a grand prix at one show!” said Jay.
Don’t miss the full report from the Al Shira’aa Bolesworth Young Horse Championships in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound, out Thursday 27 August.
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