The best of British Showjumping at Hickstead

Today I took my first selfie because I had been allowed to be incredibly selfish and take myself off for a day out without hubby and kids (well i did take the dogs with me). I indulged in a much needed hit of equestrianism with a day at Hickstead’s Derby. I have been going since a child and I love everything about it, the atmosphere, the huge arena, the huge jumps and the informality of it. After mooching around the tradestands, grabbing myself a couple of glasses of Pimm’s and checking out the different parts of the course, i completely revelled in my surroundings and the chance to do as i pleased without worrying about children (the only downside was having to clear up after both dogs who both decided to poop in high traffic public areas, i also had to take them into the toilets with me which was a bit of a challenge).

The Derby was about to start, so i found myself a good spot high up on the public grandstand and settled down to watch the show with one dog perched on my lap and the other perched next to me. After a while i noticed my younger dog had taken  a shine to the friendly chap sat next to me and before long she had helped herself to sitting on his lap, much to my embarrassment. I apologised but he said he didnt mind at all. After sharing a few comments about some of the rather hairy rounds that we had witnessed around the derby course, he told me that he was getting nervous as his own horse was due to jump the course in a while – last year’s winner, Caritiar Z ridden by Phillip Miller.

This put the excitement of the competition on a whole different level as i found myself rooting for this chap’s horse, i really wanted him to do well. You could have cut the tension with a knife as we watched the horse go round and it was a brilliant round with only 1 down, which put him in the lead with only four more horses to go. But Trevor Breen but in a good performance with only one down so there was going to be a jump off between the two horses – by now i really wanted Caritiar Z to win to achieve the accolade of back-to-back derby wins. He put in a good jump-off with only one down, but Trevor Breen’s horse was a fraction faster and pipped him to the post with one down, shaving a few seconds off Caritiar’s time.

The very nice chap sitting next to me took the defeat gracefully and was clearly proud to be the owner of a horse who made the Derby course look easy. It is people like him that we have to thank for keeping UK showjumping so competitive and so enjoyable – what a thoroughly nice chap. My dog rather liked him too.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.