DAY FIVE - HORSE OF THE YEAR SHOW
Sunday 07 October 2012
Cheered on by one of the most enthusiastic audiences ever to attend Horse of the Year Show, Dutchman Albert Zoer and Sam were the last 2012 combination to compete in the Andrews Bowen International Arena. The crowd held their breath, watching in anticipation to see whether or not he’d be able to catch Scott Brash’s lead with Bon Ami II. The gasps of the crowd as he landed over the last fence turned in to a deafening eruption of adulation as he claimed his first victory on his debut visit to “The World’s Most Famous Horse Show”.
“Tonight was absolutely perfect,” said Albert. “To win in front of that crowd was quite special and the show has been great. I really hope to come back here again.”
Popular Egyptian rider Abdel Said hadn’t had the best of weeks until today when he took a decisive win in the Vinopolis Speed Horse of the Year with Skara Glen’s Naiky d’Elca. Fond of British shows, Abdel, who is based in Belgium was thrilled to be back at the Birmingham NEC.
“I am glad I was able to get a good result in the end I just love coming to this show,” said Abdel. “The atmosphere is amazing and the crowd are so supportive and cheer everybody on. I’d love to come back again.”
The international riders also got a chance to have a bit of fun in the Osborne Refrigerators Celebrity Hurry Scurry, where they partnered jockeys and scurry drivers in an immensely popular novelty class. Using King’s Troop horses, the show jumpers ride over a course of fences, they then hand over the ride to jockeys, who then jump over more fences. Once all the jumping is finished, the jockeys then jump onto the groom’s seat of the scurry carriage and the driver sets off around a course of cones. The rounds are timed and penalties added for polos or balls being dislodged.
Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca, a Horse of the Year Show first-timer, was absolutely delighted that he was on the winning team with jockey Aidan Coleman and Jemma Millan.
“I absolutely loved the class,” said Lorenzo. “And it’s fabulous to win here.”
Tim Davies had his sights set firmly on winning the Speedi-Beet HOYS Grade C Championship with Allure II and after the thrilling jump-off round he produced, he thoroughly deserved his victory.
“I had to win and really didn’t want to end up just missing out. I would rather have had a fence down and finish way down the line than be second or third.” said Tim, who has also been competing in the international classes at this year’s show. “But the crowd spur you on with their cheering. It’s my first win at HOYS, so I finally got to gallop under the spotlight out of the arena.”
Christie Pritchard had dreamed of making history by being the first rider to win 128cm, 138cm and Leading Pony Show Jumper of the Year titles at “The World’s Most Famous Horse Show” and that fantasy was realised when she partnered Whitehorn Girl today in the latter.
“It’s an amazing was for me to end the week, especially as next year I come out of pony classes,” said Christie, 15. “There is nowhere quite like this.”
Carly Purves rode the latter half of the British Showjumping Amateur Classic Championship jump-off believing she’d collected four faults at the fourth fence with Rowena II. However, although she had a good rattle of the fourth fence, it didn’t fall and she claimed the class with the sole double clear of the competition.
The curtain closed on the 2012 Horse of the Year Show following an extra special finale. With Only Boys Aloud having already got the crowd going with a fantastic rendition of Take That’s Never Forget, Olympic Team Gold Medallists Peter Charles and Scott Brash along with Paralympians Sophie Wells, Lee Pearson, Natasha Baker, Sophie Christiansen and Deborah Criddle entered the arena to roars of applause and cheering in recognition of the successes at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Then, after a parade of three equine icons – the leading sire of Clyesdales, Collessie Cut Above; Kellythorpes Stud Leading Sire Awards winner Kilvington Scoundrel and 2012 John Smith’s Grand National winner Neptune Collenges – Brian Blessed took to the stage to read the famous Ode to the Horse. Brian’s wonderfully sonorous voice brought the house down and echoed through the thoughts and minds of everyone as they reflected on an exceptional Horse of the Year Show.