Southampton-based Lauren Edwards, 22, had her first win at Hickstead for more than a decade when she claimed today’s final class, the Winter Grades B & C Championship.
She saw off opposition from several of Britain’s leading national riders, with 15 horses going through to the jump-off. But none could beat the time of 38.04sec set by Lauren with the eight-year-old grey mare Ella Sandra G.
“I think she’ll be a really good horse, though she’s a typical sensitive mare,” said Lauren. “She’s got all the ingredients to make a top horse; she’s got a lot of jump and she just wants to please you.”
Lauren has not had a win at Hickstead since the days of competing on 128cm ponies.
“I’ve jumped here a few times and had placings, but my last win was about 12 years ago when I was jumping in pony classes so it’s really good to be back with a famous blue sash.”
In second place was Rachel Connor on Fantastic, ahead of third-placed Jay Halim on Jaque Mate.
Other British Showjumping Winter Finals held at Hickstead today included the SEIB Winter Novice Final, which went to Rebecca Marsh and Predator Ridge.
In the Winter 128cms Championship, Cheshire-based Olivia Banks and Remington Steal had an emotional win. “I was crying before I went in because I was so nervous! I fell off at my last show,” said Olivia.
Blackburn’s Madison Jamieson and Flavia won the Oakley Coachbuilders Winter Grade JC Championship, while Brentwood-based Claudia Moore and My Bugsy Malone won the Winter 138cms Championship. My Bugsy Malone is a veteran showjumping pony at the impressive age of 25 years old.
“It’s amazing that he’s still going strong at that age. He’s very lovely, he’s always bubbly, he’s never down, he just keeps pushing and pushing. Most ponies retire by around 20 because they don’t want to do it anymore but my pony absolutely loves it,” said Claudia.
In the showing classes, 16-year-old Josephine Ready won the Leeman Family Supreme Show Hunter Pony Championship riding Wolferlow Esperanto. The pair previously competed at Medium-level dressage.
The pure-bred ridden Arabian championship went to Ben Payne on Ben Hester’s Sameon Marouhk.
The highlight of Thursday’s action at the Longines Royal International Horse Show is the MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge, when a number of top event riders will complete a timed course of cross-country jumps in Hickstead’s famous International Arena.