The great Harvey Smith, who turns 80 later this year, is one of the best-known names in showjumping.
Following in his hoofprints — quite literally — is grandson Joel Parkinson, son of Harvey’s younger son, and Robert’s brother, Steven. Joel is currently competing on the national circuit on a horse owned by his famous grandfather.
Joel, 36, was in action at Heckington Show in Lincolnshire on Harvey’s nine-year-old gelding Emmett VDM, a hugely talented prospect attracting plenty of attention and not just because of his famous owner.
“He’s only been lightly competed and is green at this level but we think a lot of him — he takes everything in his stride,” said Joel.
Joel was making his competition debut at Heckington, although both his father Steven — who represented Great Britain at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics before a serious motorcycle accident put an end to his showjumping career leading him to become a highly respected trainer — and Harvey himself have jumped at the venue.
“I came this year because it’s so hard to find bigger classes to jump and this show has a great schedule; I’ll certainly be back,” said Joel, who picked up a couple of placings at the show with Emmet VDM.
Drawn second of five riders in the jump-off for the area trial, Joel produced a speedy clear to finish third — an impressive feat considering the gelding is only newly upgraded to grade B level and this was the pair’s first attempt at this level.
The class was won in impressive style by the in-form Mennell Watson on Whisper In The Wind.
It's Throwback Thursday time, and with Horse of the Year Show 2017 underway, we rewind the clock 40 years to…
The newest member of the famous British showjumping family decided to arrive while Robert was preparing to compete in Liverpool
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Among his many achievements in the jumping arena, Harvey earned several championship medals, won the Hickstead Derby four times and jumped at two Olympic Games. He retired from showjumping in 1990 and now trains National Hunt racehorses with his wife Sue. They won the Grand National in 2013 with Auroras Encore.
Read the full report from Heckington Show in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound, out Thursday 9 August.