The Longines Royal International Horse Show,
26th - 30th July 2017
By Stephanie DeWitt Photography Julian Portch #hickstead
Watching from the balcony of the President's Box, Nelson Pessoa, three times winner of the Hickstead Derby, had the pleasure of watching his compatriots claim two of the top trophies in this year's competitions.
On Nations Cup day the team from Brazil, at their first attempt, romped off with the Edward, Prince of Wales, Trophy, only lowering one pole between them over two rounds. Then one of the team members, Yuri Mansur jumping the 11 year-old chestnut mare Babylotte on their first visit to Hickstead, claimed the prestigious King George V Gold Trophy after a four-horse jump-off, the only double clear round of the competition. Earlier in the week Yuri also claimed the Bunn Leisure Vase.
It was a battle between two of our top lady riders for the Queen Elizabeth II Cup title. Of eight in the jump-off, Holly Smith and Quality Old Joker set the standard, but Somerset's Harriet Nuttall on Galway Bay Jed shaved 1.46 seconds off their time to finish in top spot with Holly in second place for the second year running.
Now restricted to event riders and held within the confines of the International Arena, the popular MS Amlin Eventers Challenge provided thrills and spills galore. Aussie Paul Tapner riding Bonza King of Rouges beat Irishman Joseph Murphy on Electric Cruise by less than a second.
Time was of the essence, too, in the Royal International Accumulator where Robert Whitaker aboard the Brendon Stud's stallion Noble Warrior achieved maximum points just two hundredths of a second faster than his nearest rival.
Although Jayne Ross and the Lightweight Hunter Time 2 Reflect took the Les and Nadia Edgar Supreme Hunter Championship for the third year running, it was Allister Hood aboard Diamonds Are Forever, the Champion Riding Horse, who won the BHS Supreme Horse title for the seventh time in his career, as well as taking the Reserve Championship with Lady Tyrell's lightweight cob Our Cashel Blue. And possibly the cutest ever winner of the de la Hey Family Supreme Pony Championship was 5 year-old James Burchell on the bay 6 year-old Seamoor Lady Derby, being led by his father Oliver.
And as a fitting finale, Nick Skelton CBE was honoured by the Bunn family with a presentation of superb glassware prior to being driven in a gig round Hickstead's International Arena, the scene of many of his triumphs, by the evergreen Jeff Osborne.