A 30-year-old former police horse was crowned the Veteran Horse Society’s supreme champion at Olympia.
Judges Colin Roberts and Rob Buckley chose Hudson Bay, a 16.2hh Cleveland Bay x Thoroughbred owned by HAPPA, as this year’s champion from the 10 finalists. Zanna, a 23-year-old grey Thoroughbred mare, was reserve champion.
VHS founder Julianne Aston says: “All 10 finalists were a credit to the society. They were of such a high standard I would have found it nearly impossible to set them apart. I would like to congratulate them all.”
Hudson Bay, who is known as Crispin at home, will hold the Minty Memorial Trophy for the next 12 months. He has been ridden and cared for by Sarah Frazer since he was given to HAPPA at the age of 18, when he retired from active service with Staffordshire Constabulary.
Sarah has competed Crispin in dressage and veteran showing classes for the past few years with increasing levels of success.
Sarah says: “We enjoy competing in dressage during the winter months and are always in the top three. To start with showing was another matter though, as he used to try and run over the judge in a sideways canter while everyone else was trotting.”
Following advice from the VHS on ringcraft and feeding, Crispin’s performance in the ring improved and Sarah has enjoyed considerable success in veteran showing circles, prior to winning this prestigious award.
“Being at Olympia was simply amazing, although I did have my hands full during the morning’s warm-up session,” explains Sarah. “I was praying that he wouldn’t replicate his behaviour in the afternoon but I needn’t have worried as he was wonderful. He loved the atmosphere and did his best trot extensions ever.”
Under VHS rules Crispin cannot contest the regional qualifiers next year, although Sarah intends to continue competing in veteran classes, as well as appearing at special equine events for the VHS, as long as Crispin wants to.
“I tried to retire Crispin once before but he loves working and being the centre of attention so he got awfully depressed. I think if I retire him now I will lose him, so we will keep going until he lets me know it’s time to stop.”
For more information about the VHS visit: www.veteran-horse-society.co.uk