The British Horse Society Supreme Horse Championship at Hickstead went to Diamonds Are Forever for the second year in a row.
Twelve months ago, show producer Allister Hood took the title, and this year it was son Oliver who piloted Annabel Jenks’ nine-year-old gelding to take the overall honours.
Diamonds Are Forever picked up his supreme championship ticket in Friday’s Saracen Horse Feeds Supreme Riding Horse Championship. He has now been crowned champion Riding Horse for three years running, as well as twice winning overall supreme.
The three judges – Badminton Horse Trials 1990 winner Nicky Coe, former show producer Jane Crofts and Adrian Charley, owner of Townfields Saddlery – awarded Diamonds Are Forever 29 out of 30 to put them top.
“He’s a once in a lifetime horse, and we’re enjoying every minute with him,” said Oliver. “He’s really at his best when there’s a big crowd and he just goes up another gear.”
The Hoods are now hoping he will become the first horse to win the Supreme three times in a row. “He’s always an exciting horse to bring out, without question we’ll be aiming to come back and win again next year,” Oliver added.
In reserve with 28 points was Robert Walker and Jill Day’s Saracen Horse Feeds Supreme Hunter champion, View Point.
The De La Hey Family Supreme Pony Championship then followed, and this time it was Melanie Stanford’s Highland stallion Benbreac of Croila who took top spot, with Matthew Cooper riding.
Benbreac of Croila, the winner of the BSPS Heritage Mountain and Moorland victor, and Moluccas Bengal Beauty, the Leeman Family BSPS Supreme Show Pony Champion, both finished on 25 points so had to ‘ride off’ for the title.
In the end, the 11-year-old Highland’s rousing gallop got him the nod from the judges. “He’s an absolute pony of a lifetime, and we bought him unhandled straight from the hillside in Scotland,” said Gemma Stanford, who is the BHS Director of Horse Welfare and the daughter of the pony’s owner. “He’s had an incredible in-hand career and now he’s having an incredible ridden career too. He’s a working stallion and his offspring are now starting to show with great results. He’s like a Thoroughbred in a Highland’s body.”
The supreme championships brought six days of showing at the BHS Royal International Horse Show to a close. The event is the most prestigious showing competition of the outdoor season, with thousands of horses and ponies competing throughout the year with the aim of collecting a qualifying ticket to compete at Hickstead.