Harriet Nuttall climbs the International Stairway at Newbury

Harriett Nuttall on Galway Bay Jay

The International Stairway competition, sponsored by British Showjumping Business is a league competition for show jumping. The Royal Berkshire County Show, (Newbury Show) holds the first of the eight qualifiers for 2020. There are eight qualifying rounds during the year with a final at The British Showjumping Championships at Stoneleigh every August. Uniquely, all the rounds for the International Stairway championships are held at county shows throughout the UK.

Riders can enter at any of the venues and the top eight receive points which go towards their final tally at Stoneleigh. The winner gets 12 points, second 9 points, third 8 points etc down to eighth place who get 1 point. For the competitors, this is an important and prestigious league competition. The winner with the most points throughout the season at the final becomes British Showjumping National Champion. If, at the final, there are two or more combinations on the same number of points, the final round determines the winner.

In the 2018/19 championship, there were at total of 37 riders who claimed points at some stage during the year.

Harvey Smith’s grandson – Joel Parkinson

At Newbury, there were 16 starters to kick the next season’s international stairway off, and it was the main class of the weekend with a prize fund of £7,500. The course was designed by Matt Hoskins and there were thirteen fences with sixteen jumping efforts required in a time of 86 seconds. All the rounds were timed and in any event the top five would go through to the jump off. They would jump in reverse order in that the quickest time by the rider with the fewest number of faults in the first round would jump last. Although the prize money of £2,500 to the winner was well worth it in its own right, the most important thing for the riders was to gain points towards the 2020 final.

William Fletcher Came third on Persimmon

Of the sixteen riders forward, nine went clear, so all would go through to the jump off. Half way through the round, there were five clears. One of the riders was Joel Parkinson, the great showjumper Harvey Smith’s grandson and how he looked and rode just like his grandfather. The quickest of the

Helen Treadwell was second

nine in the first round was Mark Edwards riding Tinkers Tale. Harriet Nuttall was second fastest and Hayley Webster was third. In the jump off Harriett Nuttall riding Galway Bay Jay went round the seven jumps like demons in 51.03 seconds with a time allowed of 63 seconds and took the first prize and the 12 points for the championship. In second was Helen Treadwell riding Sebastian VII with 51.95 seconds and third was William Fletcher riding Persimmon.

The Royal County of Berkshire Show, (formally The Newbury Show) itself has grown massively in the last few years with over 60,000 people paying to attend. There are shops galore, plenty of other equine classes throughout the two day show as well as cattle, pig and sheep classes – all well subscribed to. 2019 celebrated the 110th running of the show.

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