COMPETITORS enjoyed glorious weather at Hickstead last week as the second ever All England Jumping Championships got underway. Showjumping fans got to see some of the countries up-and-coming equine talents take part in the first qualifiers for the coveted Young Horse titles.
Local event rider Nicola Wilson and Naomi 55. took the Five Year Old Championship qualifier on Thursday.
This talented mare was bred nearby by showjumpers Charlotte and Ronnie Healy. The pair headed off tough competition in the form of Louise Pavitt, who was best placed British rider in the Longines King George V Gold Cup in July. She finished second on board the promising Willvellitt Phoenix.
Sunday saw the first ever running of the Douglas Bunn 1.35m Challenge - a class that features many of the famous Hickstead Derby fences, albeit at a slightly lower height.
In June, crowds saw Paul Beecher partner Patricia Brown’s Loughnatousa WB to victory in the Carpetright Derby, and fittingly it was the same yard’s stable jockey Michael Lonsdale and Loughnatousa OB who won the 1.35m Challenge on Sunday.
“It’s fantastic - I haven’t been riding the horses competitively for long but, with help from my trainer Bernice Cuthbert, they’ve all stepped up a gear recently,” he said. “OB is a great horse and he keeps surprising us, and we’ll hopefully aim him at the Derby next year along with WB.”
Monica Ballard scored another win in the Animo All England 1.10m Amateur Championship on board Miss Cartier. The pair have also qualified for the Amateur final at the Horse of the Year Show so this was a perfect prep run for next month’s competition.
Tony Pearson and Riverside Glen have been having a vintage Hickstead. They won two classes on the opening day, then returned for another win today in the 1.00m Open.
“We’ve only had him for a month, and he’s my Dad’s horse really,” he said.
In the 1.20m Amateur Championship, the spoils went to Glynn Slater and Tubbercurry Lass. They won the 1.20m class.
On Sunday, 52 riders competed in the All England Grand Prix. The very last rider to jump – Ireland’s Trevor Breen with his horse Adventure De Kannan, won by two seconds.
They duo won the Bunn Leisure Speed Derby and the Amlin Plus Eventing Grand Prix this season too.