The Royal international Horse Show (RHIS) got off to a spectacular start this morning, with sun beating down on Hickstead and throngs of people filling the grandstands. After an intense morning of coloured horse classes, Merrigan, a 16hh skewbald, was pronounced Coloured Horse Ridden Champion. Meanwhile in the International Arena, Shannon Mackenzie and Spinnelli sped to victory in the Winter 128cms Championships.
Henrietta Knight had the difficult task of selecting the Champion and Reserve Champion ridden skewbalds and piebalds from a line-up of top class coloured horses. After much deliberating, Mrs C Martin and Dell Park Studs Merrigan was crowned champion, with Philippa Porleys Chantilly Lace IV as reserve.
Merrigans victory marks the fourth time he has received the Supreme Coloured Champion accolade at RHIS. According to Natalie Lintott, his rider, he is an easy horse to look after and enjoys spending the winter hacking out at home. But ten-year-old Merrigan is not only an exceptional example of a coloured horse, he is also the first coloured to qualify for the Hoys riding horse championship he finished six last year.
The Winter 128cm Championship made an exciting spectacle, with eight riders making it through to the jump off. In the end Shannon Mackenzie and Spinnellis 40.38 sec time proved unbeatable, winning them the £50 first prize. Jessica Mendoza (Spring Disney) took second place with Natasha Dean in third.