This year’s King George V Gold Cup course at The Longines Royal International Horse, Hickstead, had an entry field of 42 of the world’s top showjumpers and it proved to be a challenge!
Last year, 14 horses and riders made it through to the Jump Off; this year, fence 6A became the downfall of many. This was because 6A (the Level Crossing) required horse and rider to suddenly slow the pace from full gallop into the water jump to a steady canter and a balanced stride to take the Level Crossing gates that were also at an angle and competitor after competitor clipped the top.
Six competitors managed clear rounds under the maximum course time of 84 seconds and American, Elizabeth ‘Beezie’ Madden on Cortes ‘C’ went clear in the Jump Off in the fastest time. This was two wins in a row for Breezie in this competition and she put this down to “the intelligence of Cortes C”.
Nineteen year old British rider, Jessica Mendoza looked as though she was going to beat Beezie with a faster time until both rider and horse – Spirit T – pushed a little too hard for the last jump and it tumbled. She is a talent to watch for the future.
Earlier on in the day, Bob Ellis was awarded the Dorian Williams Trophy for the person who has contributed the most to the success of this year’s Royal International Horse Show. Mr Ellis has for 40 years, been the architect of the Hickstead courses as well as courses around the world including the one for London’s 2012 Olympic Games. Some of the riders got their own back on him for as soon as his award was announced, they scooped him up and promptly dunked him in his own water jump!
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