Charlie Atkinson produced a performance to savour as he enjoyed an “amazing” winning experience at the Equestrian.com Liverpool International Horse Show on Saturday.
The talented young rider, from Stockton-on-Tees, guided the impressive Bunbury Conquest to victory in the Liverpool International 128cms Championship, sponsored by Squibb Demolition.
The 10-year-old was in sparkling form, guiding his pony home in a jump-off time of 34.05 seconds, which was more than three seconds clear of the field. Claudia Moore and Peppino II Grande took second, while the podium places were completed by Henry Squibb and Pussy Cat Doll.
Reflecting on his victory, an elated Charlie said: “It was amazing. I got round and did all the turns right – and I came first!
“It is an amazing pony. We were given it by Craig and Wendy Scott, and I have just been working with him for the past eight months, working on those tight turns.
“It is absolutely amazing to win here. It was quite nerve-wracking to ride in front of a crowd of that size, but amazing at the same time.”
Business and accounting student Kerstin Deakin got her sums spot-on by delivering a superbly-timed jump off performance to take the Saturday morning opener Amateur A class, sponsored by Clipperman.
Newcastle-based Kerstin, who attends York University, guided 17-year-old mare Sunsolde to victory in the two-phase competition, posting a time of 38.09 seconds, which proved more than a second clear of runner-up Reece Oliver, riding Urlanmore Aldi, with Aimee Jones and Lilly 483 third.
A delighted Kerstin said: “I have had the horse for about six years now, and she has never failed to pull it out of the bag. She is unbelievable.
“I started going to university in September, so I have only ridden twice since then!
“The course really suited me today because she is so good at tight turns. She has got a tiny stride, so a long galloping course doesn’t suit her, and I am delighted to have won at what is a truly unbelievable show.”
Showjumping action in Liverpool across the next three days will be interspersed with performances that hold a wide family appeal, including music from the UK’s no 1 ABBA tribute band ‘Revival’, the Shetland Pony Grand National, world-class carriage driving, the Black Fire Girls and so much more.
And New Year’s Eve itself promised to be an unforgettable night, with exclusive acts lined up, including Collabro, the world’s number one musical theatre boy band and the winners of Britain’s Got Talent series 8, plus the Equitop Myoplast Puissance, which is always a show-stopper, and a spectacular indoor display of fireworks.
All tickets give access to the show’s shopping village from 9am each day, with the shopping experience featuring a fantastic range of products from high-end equestrian outlets, exclusive fashion retailers, unusual giftware and beautiful things for the home. There will be many food and drink outlets on-site, including an upstairs Champagne Bar and the new Mersey View restaurant, which is open all day and suitable for all the family.
Rider signing sessions, meanwhile, have already proved a big hit, with fans flocking to meet four members of the famous showjumping Whitaker family – John, Michael, William and Jack – on Saturday morning.
Image: Liverpool International Horse Show