Posted on Friday, October 6, 2017 by Heather Dodd
Day one of Horse of the Year show 2017 got off to a flying start in the Horseware Bronze League Championship and Silver League Championship. Emma Sargeant from Staffordshire turned back the clock as she claimed a superb victory in the Silver League Championship on Fool’s Business, winning two years after her sister Katie triumphed with the same horse. A jump-off time of 32.51 seconds meant Emma did enough to beat defending champion Rachel Walker, riding Bo Gi, into second spot, with Vicky Burns and Denzel II third.
The Horseware Bronze League Championship went to Bedfordshire’s Abbi Jackson in emphatic fashion. Drawn first to go from 13 starters, she delivered a stylish first round performance on Christopher Robbin IV, then clocked 31.62 seconds in their jump-off to win by almost four seconds. Angela Mills and Quids In were best of the rest, taking the runners-up spot, with Southerly Roberts and Tinx finishing third.
The Connolly’s RED MILLS Senior Newcomers Championship was a tough fought competition with just two riders jumping clear and making it through to the jump-off. Sussex-based Nicole Pavitt continued her recent domination with a stylish performance to take the win aboard her mother Sandra’s HC Cornet, leaving Adam Botham in second with Jerome Du Luot.
In the Talent Seekers inc 7 Year Old Championship, Chloe Winchester described her opening day win at HOYS as “what dreams are made of” as she took the Talent Seekers title with her 10-year-old bay mare Sportsfield Our Clare. Louise Saywell riding Mac Uwe finished in second place and landed the 7 Year Old Champion title.
In showing, prolific HOYS winner Jayne Ross began the 2017 event in trademark fashion as she guided 10-year-old bay mare Time 2 Reflect to an impressive win in the Ladies Side Saddle Horse of the Year Championship.
Beware Chalk Pit was on top form and took the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse of the Year Championship. There were tears of joy as Ann Leftley’s 13-year-old ex racehorse Beware Chalk Pit took the honours. ‘Pete’, as he is known at home, won more than £9,500 over his seven year racing career, trained by Jonathan Geake. He ran his last race just two years ago.
In the Brineton Colne Mountain & Moorland Mini Pony of the Year Championship, a round of applause roared around the TopSpec Arena in appreciation of one fantastic pony, Thistledown Van-Der-Vaart, who was crowned Brineton Colne Mountain & Moorland Mini Pony of the Year for the third year running.
The Price family’s superstar pony – and reigning Supreme Pony of the Year – Litton Enterprise made a stylish comeback to the TopSpec Arena on the first day of HOYS with a win in the Equissage Pulse Ridden Partbred Pony of the Year Championship.
It was fourth time lucky for Mirv and the Purebred Arab of the Year title. Clare Fitch punched the air in delight as her ride, Mirv, was called forward to take the Simon Constable Equine Vets and Mr & Mrs Roberts Ridden Purebred Arab of the Year Championship.
The Cuddy Working Hunter displayed a beautifully designed course by David Cole, although it proved tricky for many. It was not enough to deter Daniel Brian Carroll aboard Red Why Salute who answered all the questions asked and to take the win. When Daniel Brian Carroll bought a five-year-old gelding with “no job to do” straight from the field, he had an inkling success was in the pipeline.
The evening performance was made extra-special with the 2017 Equestrian of the Year presentation which was awarded to Team GB Para-dressage rider Sophie Wells. Fresh from her time on the podium at the Para-European Dressage Championships in August, Sophie was presented the award under the Andrews Bowen International Arena spotlight.
The bar has certainly been set high for what will undoubtedly be a promising week of talent on display at Horse of the Year Show, NEC Birmingham.