Showjumping returns to Hickstead

Showjumping returns to Hickstead with a ‘socially distanced’ show.

Harriet Nutall winning the 2019 Science Supplements All England Jumping Championship at Hickstead Photo: Nigel Goddard

After the cancellation of both its international fixtures, Hickstead is ready to play host to its first competition of the 2020 season.

The Science Supplements All England Jumping Championships will take place from the 2-6 September, offering classes from pony and grassroots levels up to a 1.40m Grand Prix.

After a summer of cancellations, riders have been keener than ever to get out competing, and the national show has received unprecedented levels of interest, with entries selling out within the first 24hrs of opening.

“We were expecting quite a bit of interest when we opened entries, but the response took us by surprise,” said Hickstead Director Lizzie Bunn.

A number of measures have been put in place to ensure the safe running of the show. No members of the public can attend, and only one rider, owner and groom are allowed per horse. Face coverings will be mandatory for all course walks and in the collecting rings, and over 40 hand sanitising stations have been installed around the site.

Because of the overwhelming response, a number of entries have had to be turned away.

“We’re sorry to disappoint any riders who have been desperate to get out competing this season, but we are delighted to even be able to run this event after the cancellation of our international shows,” said Lizzie. “We are especially pleased to be able to run some classes that were due to be run at the Longines Royal International Horse Show, including the British Showjumping Pony Winter Finals.

William Funnell coming down Hickstead’s Derby Bank Photo: Nigel Goddard

“Equally, for those who are keen to watch some live sport and who can’t attend because of current restrictions, the action will be livestreamed from the Longines International Arena every day on Hickstead.TV and ClipMyHorse.TV.’

A number of leading showjumpers are due to compete, including Great Britain’s Guy Williams, Holly Smith, Joe Clayton, William Funnell, John Whitaker and Robert Whitaker, while Irish entrants include brothers Shane and Trevor Breen, along with Michael Duffy and David Simpson. Olympic event riders Pippa Funnell, Gemma Tattersall and Christopher Burton are among those switching discipline for the week to compete in the showjumping classes.

As well as national classes at all levels, the show features Al Shira’aa Young Horse championship classes, arena eventing and the Total Waste Management Ltd 10 & Under Mini Challenge. The feature class of the show is the Science Supplements All England Grand Prix, a 1.40m competition with a £6,000 prize fund. Last September Harriet Nuttall became the first female winner of this class, and competition will no doubt be fierce as this year’s contingent of riders aim to take the title.

Close run Cowdray polo match in windy conditions

TEAMS taking part in this exciting match were Emlor Red and Murus Sanctus, with players listed below.

Top polo action at Cowdray Photo: Mark Beaumont

Emlor Red                                                                                      Murus Sanctus

1.    Spencer McCarthy                                                                        1. Corrine Ricard

2.    Max Charlton                                                                                 2. Lucas Nottin  

3.    Juan Ambroggio                                                                            3. Guillermo Caset

Bk. Richard Tyrone                                                                              Bk. Facundo Sola

The first chukka saw a super opening goal by Facundo Sola in the first minute to get Murus Sanctus on the board.  Good defensive work in front of the Emlor goal saw Guillermo Caset (Sapo) take the ball all the way to score a second goal.  Weaving his way through the Murus Sanctus defence, Juan Ambroggio tickled the ball through the post, and a 30 yard penalty awarded against Murus Sanctus allowed Max Charlton to roll it over the line and level the score at the end of the first chukka, 2 all.

Chukka 2 was tight and speckled with fouls on both sides and the score ended with 5 goals to Murus Sanctus and 4 to Emlor Red.

Chukka 3 saw Emlor Red take the lead with 2 field goals by Juan Ambroggio and 1 by Max Charlton with Sapo Caset adding another to the Murus Sanctus tally. 

Richard Tyrone did a wonderful run up the field leaving everyone else behind for goal number 8 for his team. Sapo Caset levelled the end of the chukka with a score of 8 all, with everything to play for in the fifth.

A melee in front of the Murus Sanctus goal allowed an eagled eyed Facundo Sola to nip the ball over the line during the commotion. Sapo Caset took a knock in from the back line which was stolen by Spencer McCarthy who, never one to miss an opportunity, decisively turned on a sixpence and whacked it through the goal, making it 9 all going into the final minutes. 

Fabulous teamwork by Facundo and Sapo began with Sapo taking a hit in from the back line,  toying with the opposition’s defence they weaved the ball up the pitch into the space that Corrine had made by taking Spencer out of the way. Sapo then raced into position around the Emlor players to score the winning goal riding Trucha, who he had played in the 2nd and who was awarded Best Playing Pony, with a textbook cut shot.

Final score was:

Murus Sanctus 10 – Emlor Red 9

Stephen Biddlecombe of Equine Management presented a saddle to the Most Valuable Player, Sapo Caset, who also won the Best Playing Pony prize for his mare Trucha.

Ask The Experts clinics for riding clubs

Due to the great success of British Riding Clubs (BRC) virtual Sports Resumption clinics, it has organised a timetable of new ‘Ask the Experts’ clinics which will be taking place over the next few months.

During July and August 2020 BRC have been running a series of online clinics following the release of large amounts of important information and guidance relating to restarting riding club activities.

BRC is aware that with this large volume of new information which members, clubs and organisers have had to take onboard and understand, they may at times have felt that these were often complex and overwhelming. So it was decided that to support our riding clubs better we would set-up a series of virtual Sport Resumption clinics, where attendees could ask their questions in person online. 

“It has been great to be able to reassure so many of our clubs. Everyone is keen to resume activities in a safe and steady way and to be able to assist them has been wonderful. As a result of these clinics we have informed organisers that feel confident in running Covid secure activities.” said Rachael Hollely-Thompson – BRC Manager & Editor Rider Magazine

These clinics have been designed to offer members, clubs and organisers the chance to speak with BRC officials about resuming riding club activities and they have proved to be extremely popular. Attendees have been able to ask specific questions relating to Covid-19 compliance, keeping volunteers safe, any new rules that needed further clarification, or just having the chance to hear how it has gone for other riding clubs across the UK.

Members were able to book their place on to an hour-long session giving them the chance to raise questions and queries, with up to 15 attendees taking part per session.

“I found the clinic really useful, we were able to ask any questions we had and they were answered thoroughly. It gave me the reassurance I needed to ensure that we can resume activities while remaining Covid safe for everyone attending our events, including volunteers, riders and spectators.” said Rebecca Rayner – Stevenage & District RC

Due to the success of these virtual Sports Resumption clinics, BRC has now organised a series of new ‘Ask the Experts’ clinics. Starting on August 12, and they will run until October 21, every Wednesday at 7pm. Each session will focus on specific topics such as; General Q&A, Marketing, BRC Rules, Health & Safety and Safeguarding.

These clinics will offer members and clubs the chance to speak with BRC officials and specialists in these subject areas. Members may have some specific questions about how to market their club, new rules that may need extra clarification or need further health and safety guidance for getting club events back up and running with the new Covid-19 compliance or maybe a safeguarding query. These will once again be hour-long sessions which will offer attendees the chance to raise their queries.

In order to attend these clinics, members will need to book onto a session on a day that suits them best and have access to a computer and the internet. We have a maximum capacity of 15 attendees per clinic and this will be determined on a first-come-first-served basis.

To book, please email: with your name, riding club, official role and the email address you want the invitation to be sent to. You will receive an email response to confirm if your booking is successful. Listed below are the scheduled clinic dates:

  • 12 August – General Q&A
  • 19 August- Marketing
  • 26 August – Safeguarding 
  • 2 September – Health & Safety
  • 9 September – Rules
  • 16 September – General Q&A
  • 23 September – Marketing 
  • 30 September – Health & Safety
  • 7 October – Safeguarding
  • 21 October – Rules

For full details including how to book on to these clinics, please use the following BRC website link and scroll down to the relevant section