WEST- Sussex-based Irish sport horse, Golden Inca Cross, exceeded all hopes of owner Julie Cooper when he finished in prestigious seventh place in the TopSpec Heavyweight Hunter of the Year final at HOYS on Saturday ridden by by Karl Standing.
During the judging he received an outstanding conformation mark, with only two points between him and the eventual winner, Rockefeller, owned by Joanne Singfield and ridden by Robert Walker.
Julie, of Slinfold, had returned to the equestrian world this season after a 20-year break, with the aim of finding a hunter that she could produce to win a Championship. She found Golden Inca Cross in Ireland and bought him.
Partnered by Karl Standing, this impressive 17.2hh seven-year-old won the Alltech Hunters Class at the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead during the summer, qualifying for the Horse of the Year Show with that victory. After that win, Karl said: “Despite being a big horse, Inca is incredibly light on his feet and has a lot of talent and potential.”
More successes followed en route to HOYS, where Julie said Karl was very calm and rode her horse superbly in the ring. She also praised judge Chris Gordon for his ride on her horse saying:” He just let him go, taking him at a slow pace and it was one of the best rides from a judge that I’ve seen all year. We had an absolute ball and the aim is to reach HOYS again next year and do even better. ”
She added that Inca behaved impeccably throughout and that her group met a lot of his fans, as well as his former owner Judy Pearson, with whom they shared champagne and talked about Inca and another of Judy’s horses, Loughkeen Dancing Lord.
“We have had hundreds and good luck and congratulation messages and a few in the crowd were cheering him on, having met us at other horse shows. There were also a couple of people who had wanted to buy him- but I got there first when my husband, Royston, went to Ireland and bought him for me after I had seen a video of the horse,” she added.
Inca has accumulated a group of supporters, including Julie’s father, Charles Frankham, now 84, who had been involved with horses before here. He is a keen member of the team which travels with the horse wherever he competes- and HOYS had been the main target of the season. Julie’s husband, son, two daughter and granddaughter always go to see Inca perform.
Talking about her support team for Inca, Julie said:” I am sure Karl’s dressage training plays a valuable part in settling Inca in the ring. Also another key member of the team is James Robertson, Karl’s partner, who is groom at main shows and also drives the lorry.
“He always seems to have a calming effect on horse, rider and owner, and is usually best-turned out groom in the ring and is an accomplished rider himself, having qualified for and ridden at HOYS.”
Julie added: ” Top HOYS competitor Katie Jerram, who has had prolific showing wins, was an enormous help before HOYS, when we needed another saddle because Inca had outgrown his. Katie had many placings in the Lightweight and Middle classes at the show. We really appreciated her help.”
Looking ahead to 2016, Inca has already qualified for the 2016 Championship at Alexanders Horsebox National Supreme Hunter Championship at Stafford but HOYS will again be his main target.