It was the fifth and final day at Horse of the Year Show and it was the day of champions. Following a week of incredible showing talent in the TopSpec Arena, the 12 Champion ponies from across the week were picture perfect in the Andrews Bowen International Arena for the Ruckleigh School Supreme Pony of the Year. In the end it was Lucy Richardson’s fabulous mountain & moorland lead rein pony, Thistledown Van-Der-Vaart, who was victorious. Ridden by Olivia Brightmore, ‘Charles’ is produced, and shown in the ring, by Sharn Linney.
Taking the equally prestigious title, Annabel Jenks’ Champion Riding Horse, Diamonds are Forever III, stood Ripon Select Foods Supreme Horse of the Year Champion for 2017. The unbeaten eight-year-old won the Topham Barnes Riding Horse of the Year Championship earlier in the day with Allister Hood, but the ride was given to Allister’s son Oliver for the Supreme, while Allister kept the ride on last year’s Supreme Champion, Our Cashel Blue.
Woodhouse Miss Dynamite claimed the Shire Horse of the Year Championship supported by the Shire Horse Society and Field Equine Vets on the final night of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). The homebred mare secured owner Martin Fountain’s second consecutive success in the Championship. Last year’s Champion, Woodhouse Calendar Girl, had also qualified for the Championship with Martin, but unfortunately went lame earlier in the week. Tonight was the turn of Woodhouse Miss Dynamite to take the spoils.
In the daytime International Showjumping for the Horse & Country TV Challenge Cup, John Whitaker landed an outstanding double following up his victory in Friday’s NAEC Stoneleigh Stakes. John showcased all of his experience with nine-year-old bay gelding Crumley and managed to clip two hundredths of a second off Helen Tredwell’s time of 32.19 seconds leading to a roaring round of applause for the HOYS audience.
Onto the Zinc Management Speed Horse of the Year and it was the turn of last year’s Puissance winner, Leicestershire’s Holly Smith with Quality Old Joker to take the win. The nine-year-old bay gelding’s career also shows success at two-star grand prix level and in last year’s Horse of the Year Show puissance. Now a prestigious speed class has been added to the portfolio, together with a prize of £4,620.
Onto the final class of the evening, the crowd watched with baited breath as Nigel Coupe crowned the Leading Showjumper of the Year 2017. John Whitaker had set a brilliant time of 38.88 seconds with Argento, which left Nigel no choice but to do it the hard way. Clocking 38 seconds exactly, Nigel landed the £13,200 top prize, with Robert Smith and Ilton finishing third.
It proved a pulsating finish to a memorable five days of action at the Genting Arena. Leading into the Gala Evening performance, it was a perfect end to a perfect week of competition here at Birmingham’s NEC Genting Arena for HOYS 2017.
The dates for next year’s Show are already set, Wednesday 3rd – Sunday 7th October for what will be the show’s 70th Anniversary!