Today the hunters were out in force at the Longines Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead (30 July). Here we round up who took each title and the overall Supreme Hunter Championship.
Lightweight Hunter Championship and Supreme Hunter Championship
Jayne Ross took top spot in the Les and Nadia Edgar Lightweight Hunter Championship riding Mrs D Stennett’s Time 2 Reflect (pictured). The eight-year-old bay mare by Cameo’s Reflection continued to impress the judges to take the Supreme Hunter Championship.
Jayne said of Time 2 Reflect: “She’s all hunter and has the most amazing gallop and she just smiles all the time which is rare for a mare, but she’s just got it and she really hit all of the high spots today.”
Second place in the Lightweight Hunter Championship was awarded to six-year-old Pride of Place ridden by Robert Walker and owned by Jill Day.
Middleweight Hunter Championship
An over the moon Danielle Heath rode to victory yet again in the Les and Nadia Edgar Middleweight Hunter Championship. This marked a total of four victories in this class for Oathill Take The Biscuit, having won here in 2011, 2013, 2014 previously. Owner, Dawn Weston shrieked with delight when her nine-year-old gelding by Drayton was pulled forward as the winner.
Jess Cronk, who took over the ride on Oathill Take The Biscuit from Danielle this season, unfortunately couldn’t be at the RIHS after she was kicked in the stomach two days ago.
“Poor Jess has suffered from a shattered kidney and has undergone surgery, hence why she isn’t here today,” said Danielle who received a call after it became clear Jess would be unable to ride.
“It took me less than two seconds to agree to riding ‘Hovis’ today!” said Danielle who produced the horse from a four-year-old up until he moved away from her yard after Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) in October last year. “I thought that was it and I would never be able to ride him again, so today has just been a joy and a pleasure,” she continued, “it’s like putting a comfy pair of old slippers on, getting back onto him.”
It will be touch and go whether Jess will be fit to ride Hovis at HOYS later this year, but Danielle said she would keep him going in the meantime. “I have already offered my services to ride Hovis at HOYS should Jess not be ready!” explained Danielle.
Oathill Take The Biscuit and Danielle went on to take the reserve spot in the Supreme Hunter Championship behind Time 2 Reflect.
Second place went to the eight-year-old About Town ridden by Katie Jerram and owned by Mr and Mrs M J Jerram.
Heavyweight Hunter Championship
Jayne Ross rode yet another horse to victory in the Les and Nadia Edgar Heavyweight Hunter Championship. Bloomfield Excelsior. The five-year-old grey, owned by the Shades Of Grey Syndicate, really impressed on what is his first RIHS appearance.
Jayne bought this gelding after he became Supreme Champion at Dublin Horse Show as a four-year-old in 2014. “As soon as we got him home, we turned him out to give him time to mature into his big frame,” Jayne said. “He really is next year’s horse, but he’s furnishing every week and he loves the crowd,” she continued.
Jayne will now turn Bloomfield Exclesoir out into the field again until three weeks before HOYS. “Whatever he achieves this year really is a bonus,” Jayne concludes.
Second place went to Justine Armstrong-Small riding Laura Smith’s Lord Litchfield.
Keep up with all the action from RIHS on www.horseandhound.co.uk, and don’t miss the full report in next week’s issue Horse & Hound magazine, out 6 August 2015