Something of a small hunter specialist, Robert Walker has claimed the Horse of the Year Show accolade many times, including three years on the trot with Party Time V from 2011 to 2013. This year’s victory, however, was with a new face, the Colosso family’s Chantilly Bojangles, who came from Ireland. He qualified for HOYS at the EquiFestival of Ireland in July, where he was overall ridden champion. It is particularly fitting as the HOYS class is sponsored by Irish Horse Gateway.
Bojangles is by the Dutch Warmblood Kroongraaf and was selected by British judges Jack Cochrane and Allister Hood to claim the small hunter honours at Dublin Horse Show in 2015. He came to the Walkers five weeks before HOYS and has only competed in two shows in this country, so is a new face indeed. He appeared unfazed by the atmosphere at Birmingham’s NEC when winning this year’s first showing class at HOYS.
The Colosso family, who own him, were understandably ecstatic, with Natalie Colosso saying: “Thank you, Sarah and Robert Walker, for all your hard work after only having him for five minutes. What a massive achievement — you absolutely smashed it.”
Georgina Wilkes was second with Mexican Summer, and Jayne Ross finished third with Hello Dolly — the same position they occupied in 2014 and 2015.