A win for Padraic Judge in The Naylors Equestrian Puissance
Irish eyes were smiling at Horse of the Year Show on Saturday night as Padraic Judge and Citi Business powered to victory in the Naylors Equestrian Puissance to take the £4,950 prize money. A capacity 10,000 crowd at the Genting Arena roared its approval as Padraic, who is from County Mayo, guided the 15-year-old gelding to a winning jump of 2.14 metres high (7ft).
They were the only combination to go clear in round four, as defending champions Holly Smith and Quality Old Joker had to be content for tied second place with Louise Saywell and Dassler. A total of 14 combinations started the competition, but it was Padraic who came up trumps on his first appearance at Horse of the Year Show.
“He jumped very well. I am very pleased with him,” Padraic said. “I was always hopeful we could go well – I have great faith in the horse. I knew he could jump over seven feet, no problem. He had done two puissance classes before this one, and he was joint first in both of them.
“The atmosphere tonight in the arena was unbelievable. I loved the experience. He got a bit sharp in the first round but it suited me because it woke me up and I had to forget about everything else. It is a lonely spot out there in the puissance, but it is my job, my life and I love it.
“For a puissance horse you need so much scope, they need to be brave and he needs to trust the rider, and if the confidence is there between both, then it is a great start.”