Wymeswold show jumper Holly Smith won a prestigious championship at Hickstead’s Longines Royal International Horse Show last Wednesday.
Smith (nee Gillott) won the 1m 35 Winter Grades B and C Championship in the international arena, riding her own eight-year-old gelding Quality Old Joker.
Only four of the 22 starters jumped clear rounds, and Smith provided the fastest of those, finishing 2.88 seconds quicker than her closest rival.
Smith was delighted with her horse who is part-owned by James Mossman, the Master of the Quorn Hunt.
“He’s 17.3 and big with it, so he’s not the most conventional but he’s honest,” she said.
“The jump-off really suited him and I knew it would. He can actually turn on a sixpence; he’s light on his feet for a big horse.
“My husband Graham bought him for me as a four-year-old – he came back with him and said ‘I’ve bought you a jumper’.
“I wasn’t impressed at first; he’s so different to anything else I’ve got. He’s so sensitive, so you have to sit very quietly.
“He’s really versatile – he jumped a puissance at Bolesworth, he can do speed trials. You’d think he wouldn’t be quick, but actually he is.”
Smith has good recent form at Hickstead and travelled to the six-day show, one of the oldest and most prestigious on the calendar, looking to give her up-and-coming team some vital experience.
“I’ve got a young string here this week, so I’m not expecting too much,” she said. “But I’m hoping for some good solid rounds from them.”