Charlotte, riding the shining eight-year-old prospect Mount St John Freestyle, claimed an emphatic victory in the Dressage Future Elite Championship, with Maria Eilberg finishing second aboard Sarotti 57 and multiple British Paralympic medallist Sophie Wells taking third with C Fatal Attraction. Having won the title in 2016, Charlotte maintains her title for another year. Earlier in the day, visitors had been treated to a rider signing and a Dressage Masterclass, where Charlotte ran through some key training exercises she often uses and shared her advice with the packed out HOYS audience.
Listen to Charlotte’s interview HERE
Listen to Sophie’s interview HERE
In showing, the TopSpec Arena was heaving as The British Show Pony Society Mountain & Moorland Working Hunter Pony of the Year classes took to the ring. Culminating in the afternoon Championship, Amy Smith was “gobsmacked” when she not only took the win in the ‘exceeding 143cm’ section, but went on to win the prestigious overall British Show Pony Society Mountain & Moorland Working Hunter Pony of the Year Championship as well aboard her 10-year-old Connemara gelding Laburnum Richard.
Another popular final, worthy of a Royal visit today, was the NPS/Baileys Horse Feeds Mountain & Moorland Ridden Pony of the Year Championship. It was Kelly Jones’ quality Connemara, Skaergaardens Delicious Love – ‘Delicious’ for short – who took the prestigious accolade, with Welsh Section D Ballynacoy Prince, owned and ridden by Beth Simons, in Reserve. As Patron of the National Pony Society, HRH Princess Anne made a very special appearance to present the prizes of the prestigious NPS/Baileys Horse Feeds Mountain & Moorland Ridden Pony of the Year Championship.
For the Pony Club competitors, there was fierce competition in the Virbac 3D Worming Pony Club Mounted Games Cup. A firm favourite at Horse of the Year Show, the Virbac 3D Worming Pony Club Mounted Games highlights the sheer athleticism and team work displayed by these young riders and their ponies. This year’s qualifying teams include Oakley Hunt West, Romney Marsh, Banwen & District, West Hants, Eglinton Hunt and in their Horse of the Year Show debut, North Hereford. After narrowly missing out on the title to the team from East Kent Hunt in last year’s Virbac 3D Worming Pony Club Mounted Games Cup Final, the team from Oakley Hunt West came out fighting for the title this year. In their 25th appearance at Horse of the Year Show, Oakley, trained by Steve Garrett, dominated the competition early on. The team consisting of Charlie Yates (14), Sophie Grimshaw (14), Jamie Medcalf (14), Jaimsye Bailey (14), Charlotte Sabatier (14) and Luke Grimshaw (12) showed that the experience from last year’s show only served to strengthen their performance.
Meanwhile in the showjumping, Yorkshireman Matt Sampson added his name to a who’s who of British Showjumping when he won the prestigious Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Championship. Matt, who is now based in Sussex, guided the eight-year-old grey mare Ebolensky to victory by more than two seconds from closest jump-off rival Jamie Wingrove, on Heartstring, with Rachael Connor and Fantastic finishing third.
Listen to Matt’s interview HERE
International classes at the Horse of the Year Show begin on Friday, with some of the world’s biggest names taking part, including British stars John Whitaker, Michael Whitaker, Guy Williams and William Funnell, plus the likes of Holland’s prolific world-stage winner Harrie Smolders, American ace Lauren Hough and Irish powerhouse Shane Breen.