Harrie Smolders: A good moment for the youngsters *H&H VIP*

  • Opinion

    It’s been a few years since I was able to jump at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) but it’s a show we like to come to — there’s a good atmosphere, a full house and great sport.

    This year it fitted into my schedule well. I went to the nations cup final in Barcelona and the Global Champions Tour (GCT) in Rome with the top horses and they are now having a break, so it was a good moment for some of the younger ones to compete at a three-star show.

    It is our first indoor show of the season and gives us a fantastic opportunity to let the horses experience a show with so much atmosphere.

    The level of competition in Birmingham is always high and it’s tough to win a class, so I was happy to win the accumulator with Cas 2.

    The course-designer did a good job in the grand prix with seven people through to the jump-off, which made for a fast and exciting competition that was good to watch. It was top-level sport with a really close finish.

    This year the schedule was cut from four days to three and it was a good decision. Being on the road so much, it’s easier to fit in and having an extra day at home in the week can make a big difference.

    I came to HOYS having had an incredibly good year with an individual second at the Europeans, plus we have won the GCT already even before the last leg. The Netherlands won the nations cup final in Barcelona and we are still in the lead in the GCT League with the Hamburg Diamonds, with one more leg to come.

    It’s been an unbelievable season with my two top horses Emerald and Don VHP Z who have been super-consistent. “Don” was produced in England and won in Birmingham as a six-year-old. He’s had a cracking year and was there when he needed to be — he jumped double clears in the nations cups at Hickstead and Rotterdam so I can’t complain.

    Emerald will take a break now before going to stud as he is very popular with breeders, and he will do collections for next season. Don also has a six-week break, then will jump the final of the GCT in Doha.

    After that, we will carry on the indoor season with some of the younger horses to see what they can do.

    Ref Horse & Hound; 12 October 2017