Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos are arguably the greatest combination British showjumping has ever seen, winning Olympic gold, European gold, the Rolex Grand Slam and successive Global Champions Tour titles. So it should come as no surprise that they have been recognised by the British Horse Society in its equestrian hall of fame.
The BHS Hall of Fame celebrates heroes and heroines — human and equine — of the equestrian world, and each year, a select number of Britain’s most gifted horses and riders are invited to join the elite group.
World-number-one Brash will now take his place alongside such notables as David Broome, Charlotte Dujardin, Jane Holderness-Roddam, The Princess Royal, Sophie Christiansen and Marion Mould, while horses previously recognised include legendary names like Milton, Valegro, Foxhunter, Penwood Forge Mill, Primmore’s Pride and Beethoven.
Sanctos, owned by Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham, and Brash are joined this year by eventer Lucinda Fredericks’ former Badminton winner Headley Britannia and the consistently-successful showing rider and producer Jayne Ross.
“I think Hello Sanctos and I just really understand one another — I know what he likes and what he doesn’t like. We just click as a partnership,” Brash said about the accolade. “It’s great to receive this recognition and to be remembered by the British Horse Society.
“I am especially glad that Hello Sanctos is getting the recognition that he deserves because he truly is a horse of a lifetime. He’s got to be one of the best horses of all-time.”
No-one, probably even Brash, knows Sanctos better than his groom Hannah Colman, who travels the world with a horse that, injuries and form permitting, will head to next summer’s Rio Olympics as individual gold-medal favourite.
Assessing Sanctos, Colman said: “He is totally laid-back, which you might not expect. He is so easy to do everything with. He is such a very, very nice horse.
“I think he just loves jumping. He likes his own personal space in his stable, and he doesn’t like to be fussed with too much. He doesn’t like too much attention in the stable, but when he is ringside he just loves it, and I think he always knows when he has done well.
“There is a brilliant chemistry between Sanctos and Scott. It’s really good to see, absolutely lovely. When it comes off, it’s amazing. I cried at Spruce Meadows (when Brash and Sanctos clinched the Rolex Grand Slam), and I think when he won Aachen (the second leg of the Grand Slam), well, that has to be the biggest grand prix there is.
“Sanctos just goes in and does his job all the time. With that horse, if you have got him feeling the best he can feel, he will always try his best for you. That’s why I don’t worry so much when I watch him. I always feel peace of mind when I watch him.
“I am incredibly proud of him. I’ve been with him a few years, and it’s the way he does it. It feels better every time. He is so. so clever. If he was a person, he would be a lawyer. He knows when the big days come around.
“When he gets to a show, it is nice and quiet for a few days, then you start jumping and he goes in the ring and he gets a feel for it. There is not a lot of pressure, but come the grands prix he knows it is important and he must feel from Scott when it is a big occasion.”