Wymeswold rider pips Melton showjumper to Horse of the Year Show prize

Holly Smith with her puissance champion Quality Old Joker EMN-161210-142332002
Holly Smith with her puissance champion Quality Old Joker EMN-161210-142332002

Holly Smith landed a sensational puissance win at the Horse of the Year Show after overcoming the challenge of another local rider.

Smith (nee Gillott) and Melton show jumper Joss Williams both made it to the final five of the fiercely contested puissance at the world-famous event.

But the Wymeswold rider and her bay stallion Quality Old Joker were the only combination to clear 2.20m, or 7ft 3ins, in round five to claim the £5,100 top prize.

The Great Britain Nations Cup rider was competing in just her third puissance and only decided to enter on Thursday.

“He’s only eight, and I wasn’t going to enter him, but he nearly won the Foxhunter final earlier this week, so I decided after that to enter the puissance,” she said.

“I have never really had a horse before that I thought was capable of doing a puissance without frightening them.

“It was great to begin with, but the last round was very scary. The wall was massive for the final round, but luckily I have got a massive horse and I trust him implicitly.

“He is just such an honest horse. He is very intelligent; he is a pony stuck in a massive horse’s body. He is really athletic.

“In the fourth round I was a little bit quick, and he rubbed the wall, so I was just trying to make sure that I didn’t go so soon at it in the final round, and it worked.

“I don’t want to put him off it, so I won’t do hundreds of these events, but he is as honest as the day is long.”