Showjumping highlights: An Arko son impresses in the ring and much more *H&H Plus*

  • An Arko son impresses for Cressy Neads, while the Tuff family are out in force

    Keysoe, Beds

    Cressy Neads made a winning return from lockdown by riding Amazone Narko Z to victory in the 1.40m open. This was the first attempt at the level for the seven-year-old Belgian-bred son of Arko III and a Skippy mare, who jumped the only double clear of the class.

    “I think he’s going to be one of the best horses I’ve ever ridden. He’s got so much jump that it feels as though he only needs to step over the fences,” said Cressy, who acquired him two years ago.

    Cressy manages to combine competing at top level with being the mother to three young children from the stables in Surrey she runs with her husband Stuart.

    “We have 10 horses in at the moment, including some nice youngsters and liveries,” she explained. “It’s easier now because the children are becoming more interested. They have a pony and they enjoy helping on the yard.”

    This was the centre’s first show under the new distancing rules and Cressy was impressed. “I don’t do too many shows normally and the horses went in the field during lockdown, but this first one back worked well,” she said. “The courses were lovely and it was all very organised.”

    Simon Crippen was another rider in form, partnering his reigning Foxhunter champion Premier Titanium to victory in the 1.30m open on their first outing since March.

    Bicton Arena, Devon

    After finishing second in their first attempt at the level, Mikey Tuff and Cupidam went one place better to win the 1.40m open.

    Mikey has been riding Julie Cooper’s 13-year-old since 2016, but the Dutch-bred gelding has been at his Devon yard for only a short time. “Julie used to have Cupidam at home and deliver him to shows for me to ride, but she had serious health problems nine months ago and he came to me,” explained Mikey. “He’s a wonderful horse because he always gives everything. All he wants to do is clear the fences.”

    Mikey spent 18 months riding for Shane Breen, where he met his partner Harriet Webb. They now run their Lillisford Equestrian business at Mikey’s home base, where all his family is involved in showjumping. Mikey was chased all the way at Bicton by his 17-year-old nephew, Oliver Tuff, who finished second and third on Homemade Danga SW and Felix X.

    “It’s always good to manage to beat Oliver. We can’t have him getting too confident,” joked Mikey.

    Although his Dartmoor base sounds remote, Mikey feels lucky to be not too far from some top venues. “As well as Bicton, we have Chard around 90 minutes away. They’re both brilliant facilities and are almost home-from-homes for me,” he said.

    Two shows at Bicton over three days gave riders plenty of opportunity to shine. Chloe Reynolds (Grenadier Volo) and Alice Watson (Gift Of My Blue) were 1.30m winners, while Rachel Vicary’s three wins included a 1.20m double on the 19-year-old pony Sparkling Indulgence.

    Brook Farm, Essex

    At a busy first show, the 1.40m open honours went to local rider Harry Bateman on Zuniek VD Tojopehoeve Z. “I’d hired courses a couple of times, but my horses needed a show, so it was lovely to find one with classes for them all not too far from home,” said Harry, whose plans to compete internationally and on the county circuit have had to be postponed.

    “Zuniek is eight now and I’ve had her since she was three, so she’s coming to the end of being produced and feels ready to do more,” he explained. “This was meant to be her showcasing season and I would have loved to see what she could do, but it won’t harm her to wait another year and just have fun this summer.”

    Young talent fought out the 1.30m open, with two 19-year-old riders taking the top places. Katie Waldock-Smith was the winner on Creevagh Tompico, with Allana Clutterbuck and Urlevent Du Bary close behind.

    Ref Horse & Hound; 23 July 2020