Robert Whitaker: Keysoe — a show on the up *H&H VIP*

  • I really wish there were more shows in Britain like this one. People think all British showjumpers spend their lives going on foreign trips, but they aren’t actually holidays, as we don’t have time to be tourists. We arrive at a show, do our job and then go home again — and it costs us lots of money in travel expenses and entries.

    I’d love to be able to spend a bit more time with the family, but to do that and pay the bills we need more international shows at home.

    The best thing about this venue is that every time we come back it has improved again. The stables weren’t great to start with and this time they were first-rate. And they were under cover. There’s nothing nastier on cold, wet winter days than squelching about in muddy outdoor stable areas.

    They’ve also doubled the indoor warm-up area, so we have plenty of extra space to help us prepare.

    And being able to use the huge all-weather arena next to the indoor building is brilliant. No one could complain that they didn’t have space or time to work their horses in properly.

    The only downside is that nearly all the prize money is in one class. Of course, winning the grand prix is every rider’s aim and it would be hard to come up with enough money to have two world ranking classes at a British CSI2*, but the winner of Friday’s 1.40m jump-off class took home €500 (£430) and €675 from Saturday’s 1.45m speed class. If any sponsors are looking to finance a good class, I’m sure Keysoe would love to hear from you.

    I was impressed by the number of young riders here this year. And it’s not just the number; their riding’s improving fast too. Many of them are travelling to shows abroad for experience and they know the type of horse they need to compete at top level.

    It’s nice to see new faces because until recently it’s been the same crowd at every big show in Britain. The only problem with the young riders is that they’re a bit too competitive. They need to let the seniors win a few classes too!

    Overall it has been a great show. There were classes for everyone and the team here are trying very hard to get everything right. They deserve our support.

    Ref Horese & Hound; 1 December 2016