1. Youth beating experience in London
Harry Charles, 22, took the Longines FEI World Cup qualifier, the feature class of the London Horse Show showjumping, in a particularly thrilling jump-off on Sunday afternoon. “It’s an amazing feeling. This is the one every rider in Britain, everyone everywhere, wants to win,” he said. “To win in front of this crowd, to do it in the first year of the new location – I can’t tell you the exact feeling but it’s very good.” And he pulled it off 20 years after his father Peter Charles did the same, which must feel pretty special, too. John Whitaker – 44 years Harry’s senior – set the standard from sixth draw, finishing in 37.5sec on Unick Du Francport. “For one tiny second I thought I might win it – I think I just need more experience!” joked John, a London Horse Show competitor since 1972.
2. Whether Charlotte Dujardin will compete Gio again
Having sold her Olympic bronze medallist to Annabella Pidgley soon after the Europeans, many were surprised that Charlotte Dujardin was to ride him at London Horse Show. They won a few more fans there than they had after Tokyo, with many more people in the room to charm, and now those people are wondering whether they will ever see Charlotte compete Gio again. “It’s complicated” is part of the answer, there is no plan to speak of. Maybe, maybe not then. But the horse had improved even further on his championship performances and having seen him in London many will be sadder about the sale than they were previously. That said, Charlotte reassures us Gio is capable of brilliance with Annabella, too, which I don’t doubt, and it will be very exciting to see that combination in competition next year.
3. Emotional times for Jonty and Art
“Art was bought for a lot of money by a lot of people, as a competition horse. But what he’s done for me is so, so much more than that. He carries my world on his shoulders.” So said Jonty Evans of his Olympic ride Cooley Rorkes Drift (Art) this week. Jonty has been back in competition since April 2019, some 10 months after he suffered serious head injuries in a cross-country fall. But his showjumping round with Art this week (15 December) was, he said, “the first time I’ve felt proud since the accident. I was so emotional on Wednesday; I couldn’t believe I could get that feeling again. I jumped the last fence and could have cried.” Jonty and Art’s thousands of fans will be equally emotional to hear this.
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