This year’s Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) had its ups and downs for me, but it was an amazing experience — people dream of jumping at HOYS and I hope I have a chance to compete in the international classes again.
I had some strange luck this weekend but the horses all jumped really well.
Galway Bay Jed, who won on the first day, was just incredible and did nothing wrong all week — not even on Sunday when I fell off in the grand prix.
I got to the combination on a completely different stride to everyone else and I think he was a victim of just jumping the previous fence too well. I can’t fault him at all.
The Andrews Bowen surface was great in the main arena, the horses had a lot of spring off it and that’s probably part of the reason there were so many clears in the grand prix, because the track wasn’t soft at all.
David Simpson was first to go in the first round and he made it look so easy. He’s really found some form on Gentlemen VH Veldhof and works so hard for it. It’s nice to see him have a good win.
It did seem that HOYS was missing some of its faster foreign riders this year, but the ones who were there had a very good show and loved the crowd. It’s not an atmosphere you find everywhere.
We lost some riders, such as Laura Renwick, to shows like Vilamoura this week, where you can jump four rankings classes in a weekend.
The prize-money at HOYS does seem to have dropped, and people don’t want to be pushing it in a 1.45m if there are no ranking points and you win £3,000, when you can win twice that elsewhere. Considering the entertainment the showjumpers give, it would be lovely if HOYS could offer a bit more.
Ref Horse & Hound; 10 October 2019