National Joy as HM Queen Attends Royal Windsor Horse Show
To some, the surprise of the Royal Windsor Horse Show was the attendance of The Queen as She has been rather confined to barracks this year due to her well known mobility problems. The R.W.H.S is one of the major events in the UK calendar for equine shows and this year was no exception.
At about 10.30 on the second day of the show, there was a flurry of activity as word came down from Windsor Castle – overlooking the show ground, that The Queen was intending to come to the show in person shortly. From security personnel to event organisers to range rover drivers and other necessary flunkies, the excitement built as Her Majesty was driven the short drive from home to the main arena where the championship of the Horse and Hound Mountain and Moorland was being judged. The fact that She arrived with no fanfare from anyone in the arena meant that to start with, at any rate, no public were aware that She was there. Word soon spread however and the public flocked into the seating to have a glimpse.
Word had clearly got to Her Majesty that her show horses were all doing rather well in their respective classes especially Balmoral Leia chosen as the winner of the Highland Pony Class, and therefore expected to compete for the in hand Mountain and Moorland Championship. This was a very strong class, as one would expect, with the cream of the top UK native ponies pitting themselves against one another. Eighteen contenders came forward for judge David Puttock to muse over. As he judged and felt each pony and individually sent them all round around the arena, the results of his deliberations were awaited with anticipation. Finally, the result was announced to a delighted owner and breeder of the winner, H.M. The Queen with Balmoral Leia together with jubilation from the assembled crowd. Balmoral Leia, the 5 year old grey/dun mare was presented and shown by L. Briant.
Immediately following the class, The Queen stayed to see her granddaughter, Lady Louise Windsor, (daughter of Prince Edward and Sophie) lead in the pageant for the Fell Pony Society centenary parade. This must have been quite poignant for The Queen as Lady Louise headed the parade driving two in hand Fell ponies complete with coach/trap, now bequeathed to Lady Louise following The Duke of Edinburgh’s passing last year. This was quite a sight as at least thirty five ponies made up the parade.
By the time the first international jumping class started, a two phase competition over 1.45m with both parts being against the clock, the Queen had departed. Nevertheless, there was a strong line-up of 34 riders taking part with former and current Olympic, World and European champions in the start list. The Manama Stakes was won by Henrik Von Eckermann riding Iliana going clear in both parts and with a time of 25.20 seconds in the second phase. Germany’s Christian Ahlmann riding Calvino 16 was second on 25.14 seconds and Great Britain’s Guy Williams was third riding Rouge de Ravel in 25.66 seconds – so a very close and exciting for the first class of the 5 star event.
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