The Queen’s former racehorse Barber’s Shop has taken out the hotly contested Supreme Ridden Showing Championship at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
Fourteen high-class contenders of all sizes and types, from an 18hh heavyweight hunter, down to a diminutive Dartmoor lead-rein, entered the Castle Arena for the judging of the class, sponsored by Dodson & Horrell.
Judged by Olympic dressage supremo Richard Davison and international showjumper William Funnell, tension mounted as competitors entered the arena for the last time, with some horses clearly over-awed by the building atmosphere.
It was the Queen’s homebred former racehorse Barber’s Shop, ridden by Katie Jerram-Hunnable, who took home the prestigious title, the first Supreme Champion to be crowned at Royal Windsor since 2002.
Jerram-Hunnable said: ‘‘This is his last year at Royal Windsor Horse Show, so to do this today is just fantastic.”
Annabelle Jewks’ Diamonds Are Forever, ridden by Allister Hood to be crowned Champion Riding Horse earlier in the week, took the Reserve Champion title.
Some 30 world-class riders lined up for the £254,000 Rolex Grand Prix over Bob Ellis’s 1.60m course.
Four-time European gold medalist, Michael Whitaker was the first to jump clear aboard JB’s Hot Stuff, with whom he won the Antwerp Grand Prix last month. He was in good company as the likes of World No. 1 Kent Farrington, the previous night’s winner Jessica Springsteen and Olympic gold medalists Scott Brash, Laura Kraut and Eric Lamaze followed suit.
The jump-off had the packed crowds on the edge of their seats as 12 riders came forward to compete for the £63,000 first prize. When Britain’s Guy Williams came in to the famous Castle Arena as second to go, jumping clear in a time of 43.45, it looked like his time would be hard to catch.
Jessica Springsteen rode a fantastic round, taking a flyer to the up-to-height Bahrain oxer in front of the Members Enclosure to make up valuable time and momentarily took the lead, but defending champion Kent Farrington was next into the arena, and sped over the course to knock more than three seconds off the previous best time.
World No. 4 Eric Lamaze flew round, however he took one too many risks and paid the price finishing with four faults, albeit in the fastest time of the day. Home favourite Scott Brash, riding his talented mare Ursula XII, put up a good challenge, to finish in third, and Lorenzo de Luca and Halifax van het Kluizebos secured second as last to go.
Boyd Exell scored his eighth win in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix, having taken his first title in 2004. After a good win in the dressage phase with his team of four mixed Dutch and Swedish-bred horses, the reigning World Champion from Australia drove a steady round, mindful of a young horse in the wheel competing in his first marathon. Second in this phase, by less than one penalty point to his pupil Edouard Simonet from Belgium, he nevertheless retained the top slot overall.
There were numerous changes in the final standings in the Pony Four-In-Hands section. The overall win went to the only competitor to post a double clear in the cones, Tinne Bax from Belgium. Bax has competed at Royal Windsor for the last half-a-dozen years, but this is her first win.
In a team competition among Horse Fours competitors – the Netherlands took first place with Ijsbrand Chardon, Theo Timmerman and Koos de Ronde. Belgium was second with Edouard Simonet, Dries Degrieck and Glen Geerts, and Germany third with Georg von Stein, Mareike Harm and Rainer Duen.
The two 128cm show pony contenders, Yorkshire-based Whiteleaze Aurora with Mia Donaldson and the Jago/Carvosso team’s Tuscany Sweet Serenade, partnered by Charlotte Tuck, stood champion and reserve in the Show Pony Championship after giving superb performances in front of an appreciative audience which included the Queen.
The result came after strong classes described by visiting South African judge Gregory Goss as: “full of the best ponies I’ve ever seen. The British riding pony is the envy of the world and I was blown away by the quality on show here.”
The coveted Novice Show Pony title headed to Hertfordshire via Ro Rennocks’ home-bred Team Harvey-produced 138cm victor, Rendene Secret Charm, beautifully ridden by Ellis Taverner-Burns. Harriet Dennison and Di Brereton’s working Highland stallion Dunedin Duncan headed a marathon BSPS Heritage Mountain and Moorland Ridden section, one of the most prestigious titles for native ponies on the show circuit.
Elsewhere, the Final of the DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games saw victory go to the young England team, with the Shetland Pony Grand National sponsored by Sandra and Martin Wood was won by Harry Barker, the grandson of legendary commentator Mike Tucker.