Tag Archive: Hickstead

  1. Beezie Madden makes history at the Royal International Horse Show

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    American star Beezie Madden confirmed her place among the legends of Hickstead as the Longines Royal International Horse Show reached a thrilling climax on Sunday.

    For the second successive year, 51-year-old Madden was crowned Longines King George V Gold Cup winner, claiming British showjumping’s most prestigious prize aboard the brilliant bay gelding Cortes C.

    Having become the first female rider in more than 100 years to lift the King George 12 months ago, she is now the first woman to claim it two years on the bounce, a feat that was last claimed by anyone in 1961 and 1962, when Italian Piero d’Inzeo triumphed with The Rock.

    Madden’s jump-off time of 43.06 seconds — only six combinations from 42 starters made it through to round two — proved just enough to keep French runner-up Penelope Leprevost and Flora de Mariposa at bay, while Holland’s Jur Vrieling and Vdl Zirocco Blue finished third.

    Jessica Mendoza, the gifted 19-year-old from Wiltshire, was leading British rider in fourth place on Spirit T, and, had it not been for a final fence knock down in the jump-off, she would have prevailed in a time of 42.76 and taken the £46,500 winner’s purse instead of Madden.

    However, she still did enough to keep herself firmly in the selection spotlight for the FEI European Championships in Aachen later this month, when Britain will chase one of three remaining Olympic qualifying places ahead of Rio 2016, alongside rivals like Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland and Spain.

    The top six places were completed by Britain’s William Whitaker and Fandango in fifth, and American Todd Minikus, riding Babalou 41, but it proved to be a disappointing day for many other leading British riders, including Holly Gillott, Joe Clee, Spencer Roe and Guy Williams. Ben Maher had an unlucky four faults on Diva II.

    Reflecting on a fine performance with Spirit T, a horse owned by her mother Sarah, Mendoza said: “My horse is naturally quick, so I thought I would use it to my advantage. She has been jumping amazingly — I wish I could have another one like her.

    “I wasn’t really that nervous, but my dad was more nervous. He kept going on about how this was the most prestigious class and how he would love us to win it. Yes, I have no fear, but I think my horse also has no fear!”

    beezie madden receives a Longines watch after winning the Longines King George V Gold Cup at the Royal International Horse Show

    The day, though, belonged to Madden, who said: “It’s quite an honour to win it back to back.

    “Friday’s (Nations Cup) jump-off was not my finest moment (Madden had two fences down on Cortes C) but I learnt a little from that, as he likes to jump left and I took too sharp of an angle and didn’t compensate. I knew the approach to fence three would be difficult, so I took a little more time than I would have done before.

    “I know he’s amazingly naturally fast, so I knew I could leave strides out, like the right turn to the vertical and at the second last fence, so I really tested him there and I was able to coast home a little. I knew there were a few fast ones behind me, so I had to respect that, but I didn’t want to run the wheels off and have what happened on Friday.”

    Many combinations came to grief at a double of gates immediately after the water jump, and Madden added: “Those gates are always difficult, and when you make them a double combination, then it’s even harder.

    “I think their attention got on the second gate, compounded by the fact it’s after the water. Robert Ridland (United States chef d’equipe) had planned eight strides, but then he said that eight wasn’t jumping that good, so I thought I would ride it off my eye, but I actually did go on eight in the end. I think you had to improvise.

    “Cortes C really prefers grass over sand. He really loves it here — he can gallop and jump.”

    Images: top, Beezie Madden powers to victory in the Longines King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead on Cortes C; bottom,Madden receives a Longines watch as part of her prize for winning the Longines King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead, both by George Gunn, courtesy of Hickstead

  2. Pumphill ponies make their mark at the Royal International Horse Show

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    Pumphill ponies are set for world domination — or, at least, Hickstead domination. Nine Pumphill Dartmoors have qualified for this year’s Longines Royal International Horse Show, collecting a total of 15 tickets. So far three have been in the ribbons.

    Pumphill Rasputin, ridden by Morgan Starkie, was second in his mountain and moorland young riders section, and the same jockey claimed fifth in the intermediate M&M young riders with Pumphill Bennet. Pumphill Ragamuffin (ridden by Erin Macgregor) was fifth in the 122cm show hunter pony section.

    Also chasing glory at Hickstead is Pumphill Buckthorn, who headed both the flat and ridden M&M sections at HOYS in 2010, then added the Olympic supreme ridden accolade in the same year — a feat that has never been achieved by another pony. At Hickstead, Buckthorn will be jumping in the M&M working hunter pony sections.

    Other Pumphill Dartmoors competing this week are Banter, Pincup, Clarion, Fandango and Fingal.

    The prefix has featured on championship trophies for many years, with Pumphill Belladonna claiming the supreme in-hand title — now the Cuddy — at HOYS in 1999, the first native pony to do so.

    Image: Pumphill Buckthorn at Olympia by Lebatihem, Flickr, CC-BY-SA.

  3. Login Lucky Lad triumphs at the Royal International Horse Show

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    Michaela Wood landed the prestigious supreme skewbald and piebald ridden championship at the Longines Royal International Horse Show on Tuesday with her 10-year-old Login Lucky Lad.

    During the “coloured day” at Hickstead — the first day of the show, which runs until Sunday, August 2 — she and Lucky did a bit of giant killing on their way to the top, leaving such big winners as Jayne Ross and Aidensfield Rupert and Hayley Patterson with Shybont Bean Dance in their wake. They pipped last year’s HOYS coloured champion, Kim Colosso’s Shear Impulse, ridden by Leon King, into reserve at Hickstead.

    “I still can’t believe it,” said Wood, 24. “I’m over the moon. This is my fifth season with him — he’s won at Royal Windsor for the past three years and at HOYS the last two. He’s a great, great pony. He gives such an amazing ride and always makes you smile, so to win on him means so much.

    “I’m so proud of all my team, both at home and at the show, and would love to thank my mum and dad and Nigel [Hollings, producer] for all their help and hard work.”

    There was also cause for celebration in the Colosso camp, when Rae Colosso landed the junior title with Wulfstan Bubblicious.

  4. Dressage debrief: Hickstead CDIO and Team GB selection

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    For the second year running, Denmark won the team competition at the Hickstead CDIO (July 16-19), which was the last in this year’s FEI Nations Cup series.

    It was, however, an extremely close competition and went to the wire — the second placed British team was just a few points behind — although the Danes, Anders Dahl (Wie Atlantico de Ymas), Sune Hansen (Charmeur) and Sidsel Johansen (Alibi D) also had a handicap of just three riders and therefore no drop score. Team Sweden was a close third.

    While British dressage darling Carl Hester and Coral Ingram’s chestnut Wanadoo, competing in his first international, headed the grand prix, they were not team members so locally-based Dahl, who is married to British rider Fiona Bigwood, set the team up with a good second place on Bigwood’s former ride, Wie Atlantico de Ymas. Johansen, his compatriot, and Alibi D, who competed in their first international grand prix at Hartpury just last week, were third, and this up-and-coming international combination then went on to win the grand prix special.

    Dahl also went home with another blue rosette for second place in the grand prix freestyle, which recorded yet another victory for Hester and Wanadoo.

    Hickstead marked the end of the 2015 FEI Nations Cup series of six competitions and Germany, winner in Vidauban and Hagen, finishes this year’s league at the top of table, with The Netherlands and Sweden second and third.

    Hickstead was another good show for Bedfordshire-based Alice Oppenheimer, who will have caught the selectors’ eyes, if not for this year, for the future: she was fourth in the grand prix and second in the special with the British-bred Headmore Delegate. Henriette Andersen and Warlocks Charm were just a few points behind. They continue to up their game and will be another combination to watch.

    Oppenheimer also won the prix st georges (PSG) with Georgina Pole Carew’s homebred Tantoni Sir Soccrates, whose number of wins this year now runs into double figures.

    This pair headed off Maria Eilberg and Royal Concert (second) and Paralympic rider Sophie Wells who was third with Valerius — these three being the only ones to score over 70%.

    The trio also claimed the top three places in the freestyle, but here Eilberg got her own back with a win. Although only lightly competed this year, the good looking grey Royal Concert, owned by Hermione Black, Penny Pollard and rider, has always been in the top three.

    The Inter I was another top slot for Hartpury small tour victors Becky Moody and Carinsio, another who is on flying form this year, having posted more than a dozen wins.

    Hickstead is also home to its own young horse championships for five and six-year-olds. The talk of the town was the chestnut Hanoverian stallion Brandon, the winner of both national and international five-year-old classes with Berkshire-based producer and event rider Darren Hicks.

    The pair stormed to victory in the national classes with a massive 89.8 % — ten percentage points ahead of anyone else —then took the international class with 81% and a 7% margin. Brandon, a licensed stallion by Bellisimo M out of a mare by Donnerhall, owned by Noora Alkhalisa, was acquired from Gert van Olst in The Netherlands last year. He came to the UK in November and is based with Spencer Wilton at Headley Stud. Brandon and Hicks now go to the Badminton Young Horse Championships next week.

    The six-year-old championship was a much closer affair; the winner’s sash was presented to Sadie Smith and River Rise Escarla ahead of Kate Rowland and Erasmus I, with Dan Greenwood and Exige M in third.

    Rowland and Erasmus, co-owned by his trainer, Irish international Roland Tong, then won the international class ahead of Dan Greenwood and Exige M, with former Olympic rider Vicki Thompson-Winfield third on Botero.

    International Pony, Junior and Young Rider classes are also a feature of Hickstead.

    British winners were Amy Schiessl and her British-bred Mr Mercury, who won both the Young Rider team and individual tests; Charlotte Dicker and Ian McRobbie’s mare Sabatini, members of this year’s British Junior team, and winners of the Junior team test; and Emily Bradshaw and her own Remarkable who headed the Junior freestyle.

    The pony classes were dominated by the young Dutch riders, although the individual test resulted in a good win for Wiltshire-based Angus Corrie-Deane and the Dutch-bred Welsh part-bred Hagelkruis Vanentijns.

    British team announced

    The British team for the FEI European Championships to be held in Aachen (August 12-16) has been announced.

    As expected, Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester spearhead the team challenge in Germany. Hester will be riding his and Jane de la Mare’s Nip Tuck while Dujardin will be riding her Olympic, World and European champion Valegro, owned by Roly Luard, Anne Barrott and Carl Hester. Dujardin and Valegro will also be defending their European Champions title they won in Herning in 2013.

    Fiona Bigwood makes a return to the team with Atterupguaards Orthilia, owned by Penny Bigwood. Bigwood last competed in a British team in 2010 at the World Equestrian Games in Lexington with Wie Atlantico and came home with team silver.

    The fourth place has gone to Michael Eilberg and Marakov, owned by Ferdi Eilberg. While Marakov is new to the team, Eilberg has been a team member for the last two years with Half Moon Delphi, who was sold to America a few months ago.

    Spencer Wilton and Supernova II, owned by Jen Goodman and Spencer, are the first reserves, while Anna Ross and Jane Sewell’s mare, Die Callas, is the second reserve combination.

    At the last European Championships in Herning (Denmark) in 2013, Britain won team bronze before nabbing the team silver at the 2014 World Equestrian Games.

    Image: the Danish team at Hickstead, courtesy of the FEI.

  5. The one-eyed wonderhorse who won the Hickstead Derby

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    It was one of the great equine performances in 2014 – a one-eyed wonderhorse winning the Hickstead Derby.

    And Adventure De Kannan did not stop there, as just five weeks later he added Hickstead’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup to a burgeoning title portfolio.

    “Addy” has already gone down in history among the greatest horses Hickstead has ever seen

    As the countdown to this year’s Derby on June 28 continues, “Addy” has already gone down in history among the greatest horses Hickstead has ever seen.

    It is not just the Derby and Queen Elizabeth II Cup that has seen him wow the crowds, either. He also has the Hickstead speed derby crown to his name, in addition to the All England grand prix and the eventing grand prix.

    Amid Hickstead’s glorious annals – an illustrious history headed by the mighty combination of Eddie Macken and Boomerang – Adventure De Kannan and his Irish rider Trevor Breen can confidently rub shoulders with the sport’s finest.

    Picture by Matthew Seed

    Picture by Matthew Seed

    And with the Derby approaching, leading equine photographer Matthew Seed was commissioned by Hickstead to create a series of images that reflect a truly magnificent partnership that has captured hearts throughout the horse world.

    The photographs have now been released, with the most popular of seven voted for by Hickstead social media followers being auctioned at the Derby show next month to raise funds for the Mark Davies Injured Riders’ Fund.

    “We had a fantastic day with Trevor and his family, and I think the resulting photos really capture the amazing bond between Trevor and his horse,” said Matthew, who spent a day at the Breen yard in Buckinghamshire.

    “I’ve worked with lots of horses, but Addy was one of the easiest equine models. He was endlessly patient and stood beautifully throughout.”

    Addy is also a winner of several international grands prix and has represented Ireland at Nations Cup level, but what makes him remarkable has been his return to top-level showjumping after undergoing surgery to remove his right eye barely two years ago.

    The gelding had a deteriorating eye condition, and for the horse’s comfort, it was decided to have the eye removed, leaving Trevor and the horse’s owner Karen Swann knowing there would be inevitable doubts about the horse’s ability to compete again at international level.

    But they need not have worried, because just two months later he finished second in the Hickstead Derby, and then last June Addy landed the title as Trevor guided him home to win a thrilling jump-off against England’s Phillip Miller and Caritiar Z – the 2013 Derby champions – by just 0.02 of a second in a breathtaking, pulsating finale.

    Hickstead director Lizzie Bunn said: “Trevor and Addy have an incredible record at Hickstead – no other horse has won such an array of major titles at our shows.

    “We wanted to mark his achievements in some way, so we approached Matthew Seed about creating this very special photoshoot. We think the resulting images are truly spectacular, with each photograph forming a work of art.”

    From Trevor’s perspective, he has no doubt that his horse can enjoy further Hickstead success, adding: “I want to win again. I definitely think Addy could be one of those horses who could win the Derby several times.”

    They will be back for more next month, hoping to write another memorable chaper when the Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby takes centre-stage at the Sussex venue.

    First held in 1961, the Derby course’s degree of difficulty is underlined by the fact there has only been a total of 54 clear rounds during that time when combinations have conquered such iconic challenges as the Derby Bank and Devil’s Dyke.

    Macken holds the record for four consecutive wins on Boomerang, while other legendary names to have triumphed include David Broome, Harvey Smith, John Whitaker and Nick Skelton.

    Trevor Breen and Addy though, could yet become the greatest of all.


  6. Jessie J to perform at Hickstead

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    Horses are not invited to a two-day music festival to be held at Hickstead International Arena this autumn. Jessie J and the Vamps will be headlining Boomerang (Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th September), a new event featuring some of the world’s most prolific artists.There will also be gourmet pop up restaurants,street food and alternative entertainment away from the main stage.

    Hickstead is known as the home of British showjumping, but this new departure will  help the Bunn family, directors of the All England Jumping Course, to invest more money back into the sport. This is something that was also very important to Hickstead’s founder, the late Douglas Bunn, whose vision and passion helped the showground grow to become one of the most famous venues in the horse world.

    Boomerang poster

    “We are very excited to announce the launch of Boomerang Hickstead, our first major live music event,” says Hickstead director Lizzie Bunn. “It’s set to be a superb weekend of music, and the huge International Arena will provide a wonderful, open-air concert venue.

    The event is named after Boomerang, Eddie Macken’s famous horse who won the Hickstead Derby a record four consecutive times from 1976 to 1979. Every June, the winner of the Equestrian.com Derby is presented with the Boomerang Trophy, made in his honour.

    Jessie J will perform songs from her three albums with favourites like, Price Tag, Do it like a Dude, and, most recently, her collaboration with Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj on her top ten hit ‘Bang Bang’.

    “I’m really looking forward to playing with The Vamps on the at the Hickstead International Arena. It will be amazing to end the summer headlining at this great new event,” she says.

    The Vamps have been causing a stir everywhere they go this year. The four teenagers hooked up via homemade demos on YouTube:  their plan: to upload a series of punkish, acoustic-driven covers of chart-conquering pop hits by the likes of One Direction, Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars and release an album of their own arena-shaking anthems. Fifteen million online hits and a major label recording deal later and the UK four piece have become one of the most talked about bands of their generation.

    Tickets for Boomerang go on sale from 20 April, and cost £39.50 for ‘Early Bird’ day tickets, while standard day tickets cost £45.

    Register at www.boomeranghickstead.com



  7. England beats Ireland at polo

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    With the two highest-goal teams in the fixture’s history lining up for the match, it was always going to be close – and at half time the score was 9-5 in Ireland’s favour. However, the second half saw England fight their way back into the lead, with just two goals separating the teams with the final 2min 30sec left on the clock.

    But as the clock counted down, the England team of Chris Hyde (9-goals), Jamie Le Hardy (7) and Jonny Good (8) increased their lead to five goals.

    After the match, captain Chris Hyde explained that a dominant second half had been part of their game plan. “It was part of our team play. We had used our weaker horses by the end of the second chukka, knowing we’d need a strong third chukka and then would have the wind for the last chukka,” he says.

    Hyde was pleased to be on the winning side once again, after the USA ended England’s unbroken winning streak in last year’s Test Match. The 9-goal player, who is Europe’s highest rated Arena player, gave credit to his team and to everyone who provided ponies for the match.


    “Jamie and Jonny haven’t played a competitive match for months and got this big call up. When you get players of the quality of Jamie and Jonny on a team together they’re going to be tough to beat, and they were.”

    Jamie Le Hardy won the Most Valuable Player award, while Irish team player Richard Le Poer’s ride Dig Deep was the Best Playing Pony. Richard’s Ireland team mates were Sebastian Dawnay and Ryan Pemble, both 8-goal players.

    In the Hickstead 12-Goal Challenge, which preceded the Test Match, the Irish team (Richard Fagan, Niall Donnelly and Michael Henderson) won 20-9 against Wales (Ricky Cooper, Roddy Matthews and Roddy Williams), ending the Welsh sides  three-year winning streak.