Just days after being seen back in the saddle, one of Queen Elizabeth II’s show horses has won a supreme championship at Hickstead.
Five-year-old Sunbeam was ridden by Katie Jerram-Hunnable to win the Supreme Coloured Horse Ridden Championship at West Sussex’s All England Jumping Course on Sunday.
Sunbeam is not the first Hickstead champion that Jerram-Hunnable has piloted for the Queen – the ex-racehorse Barbers Shop won back in 2013. “I was thinking when I was in the ring that this was our first big chance since Barbers Shop to win another one for Her Majesty,” Jerram-Hunnable said.
“It’s so lovely to have a win for the Queen in her Jubilee year. He’s a homebred of hers, and he’s beautiful, but he’s only five, so it was a big ask. The Queen knows about the win, and she’s over the moon.”
The reserve title went to Cobert De Niro, and eight-year-old ridden by Louise Durdin.
Sunbeam, whose mother Tiger Lily IX (by Primitive Rising) was bred by the Queen and evented by her granddaughter, Zara Tindall, was born at the Hampton Court Stud farm. Jerram-Hunnable first laid eyes on him as a youngster, and from that moment she felt he had that little extra something that makes a top-class show horse. “I thought he was absolutely lovely,” she said.
Sunbeam was sent to the Jerram-Hunnable stable when he was three and a half.
“He’s what we’d call one of the ‘Covid babies’. He hasn’t seen a lot in life yet. Normally, they come through their novice years and get stepped up to big shows like this, but these Covid babies haven’t seen a lot.”
To overcome Sunbeam’s lack of exposure to the atmosphere of major show rings such as Hickstead’s, the Queen and Jerram-Hunnable hit upon a novel approach, stabling “Sunny” on site for the Jubilee celebrations, “so he heard a lot of the noise and crowds!”
She hopes to bring Sunbeam back to Hickstead for next month’s Longines Royal International Horse Show, of which the Queen is the official patron.