The Accenture Young Show Jumper of the Year class on Friday morning is a major highlight in the calendar of Britain’s under-21 riders and the roll of honour includes illustrious names like Annette Lewis, Paul Barker, Duncan Inglis and Robert Whitaker.
This time, two members of the Lottery-funded Start squad finished in the top four: Ryan Prater, who won it on Salanka van’t Hertsveld, and Charlotte Platt who jumped double clears on both her horses to finish second on Nobu and fourth on Lanique.
Ryan, 17, had already won the class when he came to jump-off on his second horse Klipper as the last rider, but fell off when attempting too tight a turn into an upright and was eliminated.
“That’s show jumping!” he said philosophically. “Klipper doesn’t really like being chased – he’s only a young horse. Getting to Olympia has been a major plan this year; I missed it last year due to being abroad too much and not qualifying, and the experience of big show atmosphere is so valuable.”
Ryan, who has left school, is trained by Robert Smith’s younger brother Steven, who is a former Olympic silver medallist. “Steven has done a lot for my riding, especially in jump-off situations. He has changed the whole way I manage things and gives me a lot of confidence,” said Ryan.
Check out the full results and timetable on: www.olympiahorseshow.com