Nuttall Takes the Right Line – Toby Fry Takes The Ponies at HOYS

Silken Strings. One of the displays at HOYS

In our first article of the week at The Horse of the Year Show, HOYS, we looked at some of the more interesting showing classes. In this article we report on one of the oldest and most prestigious classes for show jumping ponies held in the UK and also one of the featured international show jumping classes of the week, the ‘Take your own Line’ class. We also look at some of the other equine attractions on offer throughout the week.

The first of the showjumping classes is the Leading Pony Show Jumper of the Year class. This was first run on 1949, when it was won by Vintage ridden by Yvonne Fossey. Over the years, the class has continued to have some really illustrious winners, who have gone on to be top world class riders in the sport.  Past winners include, Michael Whitaker in 1976 and 30 years later, Michael’s son William Whitaker together with current top British riders, Jessica Mendoza, Emily Ward, Henry Charles and Amy Inglis, close relations to successful showjumping parents.

Red Morgan
Hannah Barker

This year’s renewal saw 26 starters over the 1.45 maximum fence height Bob Ellis designed course. The time allowed was 64 seconds with eleven fences and 14 jumping efforts. Seven of the 26 went clear in the first round and went through to the jump off in which the time allowed was 55 seconds. The first to enter the cauldron was Red Morgan riding Bodyssee Des Avelines who collected 4 faults. The first one to have a double clear was Hannah Barker riding Ammanvalley Santino with three other double clears to follow.

Francesca Young
Tatiane Mauree

Finishing in third was Francesca Young riding Carnhill Luna on 42.94 seconds. In second was Tatiane Mauree riding the 9 year old mare Horseabout Zibo in 41.06 seconds. The winner of this close run and as always exciting finish to the competition was Toby Fry riding the 14 year old Fell pony Zucan in 39.09 seconds.

Toby Fry
Pony Champion Toby Fry

A delighted Toby said afterwards “I knew 100% that he had it in him to win today. I had seen what everyone else had done and I knew I’d have to take some risks and trust him to go clear. I could hear the crowd cheering after each fence and it just made me more determined. I think that being last to go made me even more hungry for it. It was all or nothing.” 

Take Your Own Line.

The second showjumping class we review was a more unusual class. The Take a Line class has a normal first round, but the jump off allows the riders to choose their own fences and the order in which they jump them, and they have to jump six on course and have to include a double in the six. The winner is the rider who rides a clear and fastest over their six chosen fences.

Harriett Nuttall Wins

Another unusual facet of this class is that the order of the jump off is determined by the speed of the riders who complete a clear in round one. So the fastest clear in round one would go last in the jump off, the second fastest goes second last etc etc. The class was an

Robert Whitaker

international class with a prize pot of £23,000. The first to go was Harriett Nuttall, who rode at a blistering pace and also went clear. The following four into the ring also went clear, but in slower times. At the end of the first round there were 12 to ‘take a line’ for the jump off.

Jens Van Grunsven from Holland

The only representative from The Netherlands, Jens Van Grunsven riding Cika went quite late in the first round and had a double clear in 24.04 seconds to take third spot in the jump off. Robert Whitaker was fourth to go first time round, and took runner up spot in the jump off riding RMF Echo in 23.13 seconds. The first to go in round one, Harriett Nuttall maintained her advantage to go last in the jump off, and one she made pay in that she went clear again in 23.03 seconds. She was riding the 11 year old mare Galway Bay Jed.Afterwards Harriett commenting on her first ever international victory said  “I’m absolutely speechless. It’s my first time competing in the international classes here at HOYS and to come here and win is just incredible. Jed seems to like jumping indoors. I thought that going last would be a good thing, but instead I got quite confused watching the other riders’ lines and was contemplating taking the same route as Robert. In the end I decided to stick to my guns and if it worked it worked, and if it didn’t it didn’t. Luckily it did! It’s surreal to be honest;”

HOYS pleases the audience with extra entertainment.

HOYS are well known for providing extra entertainment for their sell out crowds during the week. One such was a girl group of string player Silken Strings who provided musical interludes at various times throughout the show. The three musicians playing a voila, a violin and a cello, all electronic rather than traditional instruments fused musical entertainment with glamour. They have performed with many famous artists including Sir Elton John, Ellie Gould and many more.

Lorenzo. The Flying Frenchman

Another of this year’s entertainment features was the Frenchman Lorenzo with his 12 horses. ‘The Flying Frenchmen.’ He controls all the horses standing on the backs of two. Going round the arena in a line as well as jumping a huge jump set up in the middle of the arena with all 12 horses in unison. Only 2 of the horses had any head gear at all, the ones he was riding, but all the other 10 were completely loose. Quite a feat. The show was spectacular but one wondered whether it went on a bit too long? It is a bot difficult to write about the performance, and video would be far better than a couple of images to demonstrate its brilliance. Lorenzo started life as a traditional rider, starting at the age of six, from a village in the South of France. He soon got bored of traditional riding so turned his attentions to stunt riding for which he is now well renowned and performs all over the world.

All in all, this year’s Horse of the Year Show provided the usual excellent competition both for show jumping and particularly for the showing classes together with the equine entertainment the show is so well known for.

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