The famous LeMieux Puissance wall took centre stage at ExCeL London on Dec 15, with Guy Williams and Joseph Trunkfield jumping 2.15m to win. Earlier in the day, Harry Charles started off the 2022 edition of the London International Horse Show in style, with a victory in the Voltaire Design Under 25 British Championship with his mount Chavira.
The afternoon dressage performance saw world individual double gold medallists Lottie Fry and Glamourdale continue their winning streak with a victory in the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound. Kicking off the Evening Performance was the Extreme Driving supported by Karen and Hugh Scott-Barrett, which was won by World No. 1 Boyd Exell.
Spectators were delighted to welcome back crowd favourites the Shetland Pony Grand National supported by Easyfix and the Kennel Club Dog Agility. There were also performances by Hollywood stunt team The Devil’s Horsemen and Le Régiment de Cavalerie de la Garde Républiciane. A highlight for many was the Dressage Unwrapped Masterclass, which featured Carl Hester, Lottie Fry and Laura Collett. Later on in the day, Great Britain’s eventing world champion, Yasmin Ingham, was presented with The Raymond Brooks-Ward Memorial Trophy by HRH The Princess Royal.
World Champions Excel on Day One
Fifteen combinations from ten nations contested this year’s FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound. First to go was Great Britian’s Emile Faurie with the stunning Bellevue who started the class off with an impressive score of 69.737%. The first combination to break the 70% boundary was three-time Olympian Hans Peter Minderhoud with Glock’s Dream Boy N.O.P. who produced a spell-binding display of harmony and precision to take the lead scoring 73.447%.
Germany’s Ingrid Klimke, who was fresh from a win in the FEI Dressage World Cup™ in Stuttgart just a few weeks ago, came into the arena full of confidence with her talented stallion Franzikus FRH. The duo were the definition of harmony and were rewarded with 75.421% and took the lead going into the final stages of the competition. With only a handful to go Great Britain’s Gareth Hughes, a stalwart of the British team over the years, and the 16-year-old Classic Briolinca produced a smooth and accurate test to take the lead from the German with 78.263%.
All eyes were then focused on one combination, the double world champions, Lottie Fry and Glamourdale. As anticipated, the duo were faultless, and in an arena filled with equestrian fans you could hear a pin drop as the pair danced together. With their immaculate piaffe and passage, along with Glamourdale’s exceptional extended canter, the combination gained a personal best of 84.026% on the horse’s debut at the Show.
The Grand Prix champion said on her win: “There was pressure coming to London as world champions, but I was so excited to bring him here and to show him to the British public. The arena here is incredible, and he loved it – he was amazing and had so much presence, it is an incredible feeling riding him!”
Looking forward to tomorrow she said: “The Freestyle is Glamourdale’s favourite part, he loves dancing to his music – we are both so excited and can’t wait to get back out there.”
Two Shades of Grey
The LeMieux Puissance provided a fitting conclusion to the opening day of the Show with 11 combinations taking on the challenge. The famous red wall was raised to 2.15m in the fifth round, a height that could only be cleared by Guy Williams riding Mr Blue Sky UK and Joseph Trunkfield with Cruze – both striking greys. Williams has an exceptional Puissance record at The London International Horse Show with his partner, Mr Blue Sky UK, and made it back-to-back wins in this class following last year’s victory.
The London International Horse Show debutante said: It’s unbelievable. Watching these classes as a kid it was Guy winning back then and being on the podium with him now is fantastic, a dream come true. I arrived here earlier and really felt the pressure of being at such a big show, but as riders we like a big occasion – it makes us want to win more. I knew the horse could do it, I had confidence in that, but this is a massive night for me, it’s fantastic. The crowd absolutely make it – the lap of honour, seeing all the kids and the Christmas spirit, there’s nothing like it.”
Williams added: “He jumps the wall very well and actually his hardest rounds are the first couple as he’s a little bit spooky. It’s a great class to win, so it’s the perfect start to the week. The crowd were amazing, they really understand the sport and they love it.”
The Voltaire Design Under 25 British Championship kickstarted this year’s Show and saw the best young riders in the country vying for the prestigious title. With 24 starters, including London International Horse Show ambassador and Under 25 World No.1 Harry Charles, the field was filled with some of the most exciting up-and-coming combinations. The Bernando Costa Cabral course, which in the first round consisted of 12 combinations, proved tricky for many with only six going through to the jump-off, including all three of the Charles siblings, as well as Horse of the Year Show National Champion Robert Murphy.
First to go in the six-horse jump-off was Robert Murphy and Lightning TW who set the standard for the rest of the riders with a quick round in 33.22 seconds but had heartbreak when the final fence came down. Next up was Scarlett Charles, the first of the Charles siblings. Partnered by the striking chestnut Chicago’s Boy, she had an unlucky rail in a time of 38.18 seconds. Her brother Harry went next and showed all of his class and experience with an easy clear in 32.68 to take the lead. Emma Crawford and Leonie Aitkenhead followed, and both produced fast clears in 33.79 and 33.64 respectively, but were not quick enough beat Harry’s impressive round. With only one left to go it was sure that the Charles name would be on trophy with just Sienna remaining, but with two down it was her older brother who claimed the first class of the Show.
Harry Charles, the 2021 leading rider of the Show, said: “I am delighted to be back at The London International Horse Show. I have been trying to win this class for seven years, so it has been great to finally do it! I have only had this horse since September, and this is only our fourth show together so we are still learning together but I think you will be seeing a lot more of her in 2023.”
Commenting on competing with his sisters, Harry said: “If anyone was going to beat me today, I hoped it would be my sisters. To have all three of us through to the jump-off was great and I think that my father could not be prouder.”
More info about the London International Horse Show here.