Harry Charles: 2018 was more than I expected *H&H VIP*

  • Opinion

    Liverpool International is a super show; it gets fantastic attendance and it’s brilliant that showjumping is being brought into other areas of the country, getting more people involved in the sport.

    Everything has run really well, the riders all really like it here — the arena is a fantastic size and there has been good-quality jumping, with not too many competitors, which is perfect for an indoor show as it keeps the crowd entertained. Nina Barbour has done an amazing job at putting more good shows back into the UK, which is something the sport desperately needs.

    For me, Harriet Nuttall was one of the stand-out performances of the week — her win in the 1.50m with a very fast jump-off was very impressive.

    To win a ranking class at Liverpool was brilliant — we have a lot of young riders in the CSI4* here, which is fantastic and the way it should be as the sport needs to keep developing the younger generation.

    Graham Babes, who was on the gold medal-winning young rider Europeans team with me, is one of my best mates and a brilliant rider, so for me and him to be first and second in that class was great.

    Big plans

    I’m going to aim for the senior Europeans next year with ABC Quantam Cruise; we’ve made a system and plan already to build him up to that.

    As well as that, I’ll be riding as part of the Miami Celtics team on the Global Champions Tour, so developing a good team of horses is my main goal — we are nearly there and I’m lucky enough to have brought my second string to Liverpool, so for them to be going as they have is extremely exciting.

    One of my major milestones this year was that I bought the first horse I have ever owned myself, Doulita. She came from Rowan Willis and was already a good horse when she arrived, but I’ve put a lot of work into her over the past year and think she has the potential to go even bigger now.

    Next year we will look at potentially building her into being a grand prix horse, so this is a good stepping stone for her.

    What a year

    My year has definitely been more than I expected. I started off on the Sunshine Tour with a win in my first ever CSI4* grand prix on Controe — a horse we never thought would be so competitive at 1.60m level, and it all went from there.

    I joined the Young Riders Academy and they have given me a lot of help, including getting me an entry to Aachen. This summer I went to my first Global Champions Tour in London, jumped at Hickstead and was selected for my first few senior Nations Cups.

    Then, of course, there was winning double gold at the young rider European Championships and jumping at Olympia — a show I’ve wanted to ride at since I was a child. Then to have an amazing show here, especially on Doulita, it has been the perfect way to round off an amazing year.

    Ref Horse & Hound; 10 January 2019