Photography by Sweet Photography www.sweetphotography.com
Lead Photograph: Bey Dayaan (Ganemede x Gold Dayahla)
The British National Show is unlike any other; nowhere else will you find so many ridden Arabians and derivatives of all types and sizes, so beautifully prepared for the show ring. Many will slot in a dressage test or two as well, as part of their annual ‘showcation’ at the Nationals. While the atmosphere around the stables and camps is jovial, and groups of friends spend their evenings hacking around and working in, the standard of production and schooling is high by this point in the season.
There are novice, restricted and Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) qualifier classes, as well as Ridden Arabian Star Series (RASS), Cherif, young riders, amateurs, hacks and riding horses all on offer, with a few additional fun, but no less seriously contested, classes too this year. Throughout all three days, there is always a ridden class to watch; it really is a treat.
Miss Kirsty Nelson was tasked with sorting the novice horses this year and it turned out to be a healthy section in turnout and calibre. Her Overall Champion was the seven-year old stallion, Bey Dayaan (Ganemede x Gold Dayahla), ridden by Mr D Froggatt and bred by Mrs C M Cooke . Kirsty said: “He gave me a lovely ride, balanced and very mannerly.” He would go on to impress again, in the restricted class, under Mrs Kathryn Oldroyd who also gave him champion, ahead of the winning mare, Razelle (Star of the Seasons x Rawen) ridden by Miss J Maclean, and bred by Mrs E Maclean. Throughout the restricted classes, a few horses showed some inexperience, but the judge rode each one positively and many will have benefited from these extra show miles before maybe stepping up to the HOYS qualifiers next term.
The beautiful grey stallion Bey Dayaan is owned by Jacqui Hall who is delighted with his first season under saddle, saying: “It’s just been incredible. The Nationals was his fourth show of the season and to get both the novice and the restricted titles was just amazing. I’ve had him since he was a foal and I have his full sister as well. I’m going to put two of my own mares in foal to him next year, and make use of his rare Courthouse bloodlines. David will then take the ride again at the bigger shows, and we’ll see how he goes in the open classes. Dayaan is the sweetest of stallions and hacks out with anyone, mares, stallions, he doesn’t mind. He also loves a bit of cross country jumping too so we’ll let him have his fun as well. I’m so proud of him!”
Dayaan proved himself further still, winning his RASS class convincingly. In second was PHA Devine Chance (Keyser Soze x Devine KT) ahead of Vivanchez BK (Vivegas x SHF Minnie Pearl) in the junior section. Senior honours went to Darker Shade of Gray (Distinkt x Samaur Bint Benedict) ahead of Mahalias Marcus (Psynergy x TD Mumtaz Mahalia) who had a productive trip to his local showground with a string of sound results in several rings. Mrs Oldroyd had Aja Forever Lace (FS Bengali x AR Kioki Lace) as her RASS mare winner. With Jaymie Knott in the saddle, she skipped her way over the ground with style that had her at the top of the line. Second to her was Maya Johaara (Azteq x Junainah), ridden by Stephanie Zebedee. Her owner, Carolyn Kokta, is thrilled the mare is back showing after a laminitis scare at the start of the year. She showed no signs of ill health whatsoever and had a fairly busy dance card what with quadrille commitments as well.
Novice Pure-bred Reserve Champion was the senior mare Arianaa (Tehema Na Sidaqa x Arina), quietly ridden by her owner and breeder Frances Atkinson. By all accounts, the mare has overcome a great deal to make it into the ring and the judge remarked on her elegant front, adding: “I adore her, such a smart mare. It was actually quite close in the novice championship. I would look forward to seeing the gelding winner next year, with more experience.”
Arianaa headed the senior mares, pipping Jenny Wilson and Psyches Showgirl (Psyches Image R x Mona Lisa) into second and Gaynor Rose on her own Zyta (Distinkt x Samaur Bint Benedict) in third. Junior winner, and Reserve Novice Mare, was Cotswolds Safiya (Ruger AMW x Miss Debutante), ridden by Ellyse Carden; they make a very pleasing picture together. They took the top spot over PHA Devine Destiny (AH Kuda x Devine KT) ridden by Stephanie Turner.
Three sections of novice geldings were eventually sorted and whittled down, with the top honours going to Venus Virtuoso (Marbon Mobago x LTF Neschima C), who headed the junior section, beautifully ridden by Joanna White. He showed real promise and a great attitude. Second was the intermediate seven-year old, Incandescent (Psalm x Illaria), bred by Dianna Whittome and ridden by Stephanie Turner. Completing the trio was 12 year old Akbar Khan (Narismma x MA Bint Azadik), bred by Wendy Carr and exhibited and ridden by Tanya Case.
Mrs Sally Wrigglesworth and Mr Peter Whitlow judged the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) qualifiers and entries were strong. Typically, and rightly, the gelding class was the toughest; the UK leads the way in valuing its Arabian geldings and it’s great to see such quality and number all vying for a shot at the ride off for the golden ticket. Sally said afterwards: “My open geldings were superb classes and produced some of the best rides. First and second in both junior and senior sections tied for marks so it was very close.”
Checking the catalogue, the geldings entry does read like a Who’s Who of consistent performers, and many are regulars to our pages. The junior section was headed by LTF Jannade (G Tamin x Khamille TBA), bred by Pauline Crick, ridden by Miss A Miller. They earned their HOYS ticket and booked their trip to the biggest show on earth. Joanna White and Cbeebies (Monther Al Nasser x FS Cinderella) cruised their way to second; breeder Joanna Lowe is immensely proud of this young boy. Clare Fitch rode Sayyad (Orion OS x Amira Kastanah) to third, for owner Karen Johnson.
Senior gelding winner, Sameon Marouhk (Mareschal x Shaarinah), bred by Mrs S Chappell-Wilkinson, earned his place at the top; owner/rider Ben Hester put in an impeccable go around and Marouhk gave an excellent ride. This consistent partnership never fails to please the crowd and they were worthy of the Open Championship honours. Having already qualified at HoCoN in June, they could almost relax here.
Ben said afterwards: “Marouhk was unbelievable, he felt amazing, a little powerhouse. We’ve been doing some jumping at home and it’s really upped his fitness and it’s showing in his schooling work. He just felt on it at Malvern! The ride judge commented that he was effortless to watch, which made me so proud. I then later learned that we won the best one horse owner award for the entire show too.
“In the main ring, Marouhk felt like he was saying ‘Dad, look at all these people who have come to watch me!’ He was very happy to be in there. This time last year, he was Champion at the Royal International so it must be his lucky month! I love the horse, he makes me so proud. I’ve had him since he was four; David Froggatt and I went to what felt like the very top of Scotland to see him. It was his movement that we both liked about him, and that’s what judges seem to like about him in the ring. He’s a powerful horse to ride.”
Susan Rose’s LVA Estopas Winter Storm (Espano Estopa x Winter Lilly), bred by Virginia Brown, was second in the senior section. Having missed out on almost all of last season due to injury, just as Harriet Podd had started getting good results with him, he seems to have come back better than ever. Susan explains: “It’s taken years to get it right with this boy who is such a character and has an abundance of energy. Previously he would have to be lunged and worked in for ages before going in the ring and was nicknamed ‘Wreck It Ralph’ as he was so often over exuberant, usually right in front of the judge!
“A few things have changed now. Firstly we have eased his travelling stress considerably by giving him two sections of the lorry to himself so that he now arrives at a show totally relaxed. Secondly, he’s been living very naturally. All my Arabs are used to 24/7 turnout so between shows he’s back out at grass. Thirdly, and most importantly of all, he’s formed an amazing bond with his new rider, Vicki Myronidis.”
|Sulan Seeing Double|
The geldings may have been the toughest class, and produced the Overall Champion, but the surprise HOYS ticket story of the show was the nine-year-old mare Sulan Seeing Double (Ellectron x Sulan Easter Princess) for a simply ecstatic Lauren Hill. Breeder Sue Brown was there to cheer the mare on later in the main ring too. They edged the win over the experienced combination of Frankie Rogers and Azhiqa (Azteq x Maleshia), who have carried many a sash around the Malvern ring. In third was the charming Ianthe (Shaka x Lady Jane Grey), another big winner here in recent years, now partnered by Stephanie Turner. Fourth place went to Ameila Zebedee on the ever popular, with everyone, Eastworth Ahmoshini (Moashiro x Ahmalia), bred by Mr and Mrs Coombs. Amelia’s mother Stephanie has well and truly lost the ride on this demure mare who was Overall RASS Champion last year. They did scoop the Reserve Amateur Ridden Championship too, so congratulations to them on that extra result, among her many others. The Amateur Ridden Champion was Tanya Betts and Bay Ffantassy (Bay Dream x Ffinesse), bred by Madeleine Sutherland.
Returning to Lauren, she has owned ‘Amira’ from the age of six months and they enjoyed success in-hand until she was backed at the age of six. Lauren explained: “This year was her first full ridden season and it’s our first time at the AHS National Show. My good friend Gemma Lucas rode her and did an outstanding job to be named British National Champion Ridden Mare and get the HOYS ticket.”
Her dream show would not end there. A return trip on Saturday for the championships meant that Amira was called forward as Reserve Open Champion, to Ben and Marouhk, and then first reserve in the Supreme Ridden Championship. “I was very emotional and totally overwhelmed,” says Lauren, “There aren’t words to describe how proud I am of my girl. She took it all in her stride and performed to the fullest. Gemma rode her to perfection. It was an emotional day for us all and I am still on cloud nine whenever I think of it!
“This won’t be our last trip to Malvern. What a show, superbly organised on the ground, but also in the months before with updates and reminders. Jayne Armstrong did an incredible job. It’s one of the friendliest shows I have been to, and I’ve been to many. I can’t wait to come back!”
The ridden Anglos and Part-breds were thinner on the ground than many would have liked, but as so many have other commitments at this peak time in the season the number of entries varies little year on year. I think everyone would prefer the classes were better filled, but the quality was as good as ever. Kirsty Nelson told me: “I expected a little more from my novices really, down the line, although my winners would stand up in open company. It’s just a shame there are so few Anglos now. My novice Anglo winner had a little blip in the championship, which was unfortunate.
It was Classical Charmer (CAS Ravel x Sandown Tino), bred by Ms Gwyneth Rees and ridden by Joanna White that let the tricolour slip out of reach. That’s horses for you, and especially novices. Second placed was Jessica Amess on Rachel Dear’s Chancton Golden Colours (Golden Heights x Desert Colours), bred by Pippa Bowles. Faeryoak Kuda (AH Mahal x Mrs Bradley) headed the open class, ridden by Ceri Phipps Hewlett. The big mare has been a brought on steadily and Ceri has got to grips with her occasional joviality. She has lovely elastic paces and their dressage training is starting to pay off. They stood ridden champion Anglo, with Chancton Golden Colours in reserve. The latter also took the Hack and Riding Horse section championship, with Blaenllain DBs Dark Shadow (Blaenllain Doodleba x Blaenllain Zetas Dream) in reserve.
|Chancton Golden Colours|
Second in the open class went to the impressive performer Absent Without Leave (Infantry x Naomi Nurha), bred by Emma Duggan and ridden by Louise White. They are a joy to watch and it is lovely to see the progeny of extremely successful former champions, such as this, carry the torch on for the small breeder. Emma is rightly very proud.
Rebecca Holden and Angels Cherub (Rashiek Ibn Malik x Gordons Angel) stood top in the novice part bred pony section; it is unusual to see the higher percentage part-bred ponies doing well. Second was Heidi White on Moluccas Juniper Jewel (Stanley Grange Cocksure x Coveham Illustration), a duo that are coming along a treat, certainly ones to watch for the future. The horse part-bred section was won by Playtime Prince (Ellation x Princess Gleaming Rose), another high percentage horse, ridden by Beverley Pearce. Second to them was Lynn Lidbury on her homebred Good Turn (Turning Point x Tuffett)
The under 148cm open was won by Beiligaer Starlight Express (Llanarth Aristocat x Beiligaer Solar Eclipse), bred by Mrs D M Bufton and ridden by Jade Hateley. In second was Sahereca Finale’s Dream (Erimus Super Star x Sahereca Dream Debut), ridden by William Goodsell Palmer.
The over 148cm part-bred class is usually a high calibre class and this year’s line up was no exception. This was the class that produced the overall Supreme Champion. Taking top honours was Maria Pook and Authentic (The Alchemist x Floure De Luce), an Anglo registered as a part-bred, that she bred and trained herself. Second was Blaenllain Db’s Dark Shadow, ridden by David Froggatt ahead of Lemons Masterpeice (Mayway Masterpiece x Lemon Meringue) and Sarah Plimleyin third.
Sally Wrigglesworth explains: “The part-breds were the highlight of the show for me. Maria’s gelding gave me the most wonderful, polished ride and he was simply perfect in every way. Both my firsts in the part-breds were easy to pick.”
The classes may not have been so vast as the pure-breds, but it was the derivative ridden section that produced the Supreme Ridden Champion and Reserve. All three judges agreed and easily selected both Authentic and Beiligaer Starlight Express as their Supreme and Reserve accordingly after superb shows in the main ring on Saturday afternoon. The ground was tricky and caught a few out, and all of the section champions gave a wonderful display for the spectators in the grandstand. But Maria and Authentic were foot perfect, poised and polished, and were very worthy winners of the Henry Wynmalen Stirrups.
Maria said afterwards: “We have been training with Jo Bates this year to improve his way of going, particularly the judge ride where he just needed sharpening up a bit. I wanted to keep him fresh so we didn’t do his in hand class on Saturday morning. He only needed 20 minutes work before the supreme and he felt great; I just thought I’d go in, try hard, and enjoy it, but deep down I expected a pure-bred to take the supreme.”
The decisions seemed to go down well with the crowds too, and among tears and surprise, Maria and Authentic carried their garlands around the main ring one final time to close yet another wonderful National Championships to cheers, applause and music.
Malvern first timer Laura Fairbairn reflects on her show with Shazarni (Azinja El Shaklan x Focus Shayla), winner of the Amateur Ridden B section: “This was my first year showing at the Nationals, despite having been on the Arab scene for 10 years. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and felt that the show was friendly and very well organised. I met lots of lovely people and was lucky enough to have a number of Scottish friends there too showing their horses. We all did extremely well coming home with an array of rosettes!
I have memories to treasure and will never forget the amazing feeling of winning a ridden class on a horse I have produced myself then getting to ride in the championship in my finery with my friends cheering me on. I can’t believe I’ve missed out on so many national shows so intend to make up for it in years to come!”
The Golden Oldies – horse and rider combined age of 60 or more, drew 15 entries and was enjoyed by everyone.
1st Eastworth Ahmoshini Ridden by Judy Phillips
2nd Maya Johaara Ridden by Mrs Carolyn Kokta
1st Zyta, ridden by Gaynor Rose and
Darker Shade Of Gray, ridden by RebeccaHolden
2nd Sambuki, ridden by Jevon Gilham and
Eastworth Ahmoshini ridden by Stephanie Zebedee
3rd Absolutte Wkd, ridden by Mrs S Clyma and
TES Elouff, ridden by Miss J. Marsh
HOYS part-bred pony of the year qualifier top four:
1st Oakstead Panache ridden by Abigail Gresty
2nd Brynoffa Class Act ridden by Leanne Smith
3rd Sahereca Finale’s Dream ridden by William Goodsell Palmer
4th Hardwickview Cash Man ridden by Rebecca Hodson
Versatile Ridden Horse, to include a small jump
1stLittletons Definately Maybe ridden by India Duke
2ndAbsent Without Leave ridden by Louise White
3rdDarees ridden by Mrs Natalie Tindall