15 outstanding moments from the Royal International

Hickstead's Press Officer Victoria Goff takes a look back at some of the best moments from last month's Royal International Horse Show 

Will Morton & Kilcarna Brilliant (6)

This year’s Royal International Horse Show was a classic, with six days of superb competition. Here are some of our standout moments from the show.

1 Red Rock gets the tricolour

Show producer Janay Atherden got the show off to a flying start in Tuesday’s Oyster Wealth Planning Supreme Skewbald & Piebald Indian Trail Ridden Championship, taking the title with the 11-year-old Red Rock. “We’ve got an awesome relationship,” said Janay afterwards. “I get him and he gets me – my husband always says ‘you two were made for each other.’.”

2 Youngest star

Wednesday is all about the prestigious British Showjumping National Finals, and we had a host of worthy winners in this year’s classes. The youngest prizewinner was eight-year-old Annabel Widdowson, who won the Pro Ponies UK BS Winter 128cms Championship. And while Annabel is one of the youngest competitors to take this title, her pony Bunbury Conquest is one of the oldest at the grand age of 22.

3 YouTube sensation

Young equestrian influencer Harlow White qualified to compete at the show for the first time this year, and she made it a winning Hickstead debut by taking the BSPS Heritage Mountain & Moorland Supreme Mini Championship on her mother Chelsea's Dartmoor pony Coppinshill Commemoration. In addition to competing at the show, Harlow also did a number of meet-and-greets and signings at the PONY magazine stand and the Aztec Diamond stand, where many of her fans queued to meet her. Well done Harlow! 

4 Flying Fred

Ireland’s Fred Scala had always wanted to compete in the Ashby Underwriting Eventers’ Challenge, so to win it was an absolute dream come true. The win came courtesy of the 11-year-old chestnut mare Corriebeg Supernova, with last year’s winner Gemma Stevens having to settle for second place on Flash Cooley, and third place on Santiago Bay.

5 A double for Francisco

Brazil’s Francisco Jose Mesquita Musa enjoyed a great week at the show. On Thursday he took the €26,200 Royal International Trophy with Catch Me Marathon, with the pair going on to have another world ranking class win in Saturday’s Royal International Speed Classic. The latter of the wins came on Francisco’s 45th birthday, and he said afterwards: “My horse gave me a great birthday present.”

6 Brookes’ two stars

For the third year in a row, Cheshire’s Zara Brookes and Merrycorner Mister Bui took the win in the Enablelink Supreme Show Hunter Pony Championship. It was their farewell performance in the class, after three years together. The Brookes family also own the Saracen Horse Feeds Supreme Hack Champion, Parkgate Royal Visit William, who was ridden by Robert Walker.

7 Big win for Burchell-Small

Six years ago, James Burchell won the overall supreme pony title with lead rein winner Seamoor Lady Derby, and this summer he picked up another Hickstead championship in the UKPH Young Riders M&M Supreme Championship. His winning ride was the seven-year-old Welsh Sec A pony Rowfantina Orlando-Bloom, who was bred by James’s grandmother Amanda Burchell-Small.

8 Kiddier’s serious talent

In the Saracen Horse Feeds Supreme Working Hunter Championship, it was Craig Kiddier who got the nod on the eight-year-old Mulberry Lane. It was the first time Craig had ever jumped in the working hunter final at the Royal International. They also took the reserve in the Barberstown Castle Supreme Horse Championship, close on the heels of the winner with 28 points out of a possible 30. 

9 Derby contenders shine in Queens

The Breen Equestrian Queen Elizabeth II Cup saw some major Al Shira'aa Derby talents fill the top three places, with 2022 champion Shane Breen winning, Harriet Biddick (runner-up five times) finishing second, and this year’s Derby winner David Simpson finishing third. The result was a fitting tribute to Prince Torki, founder of the Old Lodge Stud, with the news reaching us shortly after the Queens that he had sadly passed away. He would have been very proud to see his horses Haya and Night of Glory OL finishing first and second in the class. 

10 Jack is back

Jack Whitaker is one of the top British riders on the international circuit at the moment, so it was a surprise to find that his victory in the Royal International Salver was his first in the International Arena for nearly a decade! The last time he won in the main ring was when he was competing in Children on Horses classes. 

11 Will to win 

Young producer Will Morton has had an extraordinary season at Hickstead, winning the hunter titles at both the Al Shira'aa Hickstead Derby Meeting and the Royal International Horse Show. Riding the aptly-named Kilcarna Brilliant, Will then went on to win Sunday's Barberstown Castle Supreme Horse Championship, scoring 29 out of 30 points from judges Tony Whipps, Alison Ledingham and Pearl Underwood.

12 Working wonders

Isobel Hartswood-Collier and her mother Claire’s pony Beech Hall Ryan were crowned the overall winners of the Supreme Products Supreme Pony Championship. Beech Hall Ryan was the first working hunter pony to take the supreme title since Polly Eddis' Beat The Boss won in 2015.

13 Sea of grey

In this year’s Surrey Envelopes BSHA Supreme Cob Championship, you could have any colour you liked as long as it was grey – with the first and second placed horses from lightweights and heavyweights all a matching shade. In the end it was Simon Reynolds and Copenhagen who took the top spot. “They obviously like greys!” he joked afterwards. “It was a very, very good championship. They were all very good examples of their type, and the judges had four very nice horses to choose from.”

14 Britain finally score at home 

We'd had a 13-year wait to see Great Britain win the home leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ series at Hickstead, so to finally see the Brits lift the trophy was truly special. The British squad of Ben Maher (Exit Remo), Tim Gredley (Medoc De Toxandria), John Whitaker (Equine America Unick de Francport) and Harry Charles (Casquo Blue) were on dominant form to lift the Edward, Prince of Wales Trophy, finishing on a team total of just four faults. Harry Charles produced two immaculate rounds to share the €50,000 double clear bonus, Tim Gredley made his first Hickstead team appearance a winning one, Ben Maher crossed off one of the few major titles left on his bucket list, and John Whitaker – a week short of his 68th birthday – described it as a highlight in over 180 Nations Cup appearances. “Today was – after all those years – probably the best day,” said an emotional John in the press conference.

15 A week for the Whitakers

Two days after his father John clinched the Nations Cup, Robert Whitaker won the big Grand Prix of the week – the Longines King George V Gold Cup. “I bred the horse and the rider!” joked John afterwards.

Riding Caroline Blatchford's Vermento, Robert produced the only double clear of the competition to clinch the win, becoming the third member of his famous family to lift this iconic trophy. It was the first British win since Ben Maher and Tripple X III in 2013, and indeed the first time British riders won both their home Nations Cup and the British Grand Prix in the same year since 2010. What a treat for fans of British showjumping to see two amazing victories on home soil at this year’s show.


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