The Longines Royal International Horse Show finished yesterday, bringing six days of competition at Hickstead to a close. Here are a few of the highlights from Hickstead:

Olympic gold medallist Laura Kraut took the main class at Hickstead on the first day of competition, winning the Champagne Cave Winter Grades B & C Championship with Greatfull.
“When you ride a horse like that, it’s easy,” said Laura. “She doesn’t want to knock the poles down and she’s fast. She really loves it out on that arena – you never know how they’ll cope in a ring like that.”

Event rider Nicky Hill made a winning debut in the Longines International Arena, in her first time competing at Hickstead.
Although Nicky’s mare is small, she made light work of the tricky course of cross-country fences and showjumps. “She’s tiny, only about 15.1hh, but she’s got a serious jump on her,” she says. “She’s the definition of chestnut mare – she’s harmless but a real diva.”

Bicester-based Irishman Rory Gilsenan took the spoils in the Charles Owen Supreme Working Hunter Championship, riding Atlantic Slim.

At the tail end of last year, Rory was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour, and though his treatment is ongoing, he’s determined not to let it stop him from enjoying his craft.
“The horse loves the crowd, and he can gallop real well,” said Rory. “It’s the most incredible ring to ride around, it really is – we obviously watch it on telly a lot, and for us to get in there is just a slice of heaven.”

The Swedish team swept to a definitive victory in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of Great Britain, winning the Edward Prince of Wales Trophy for the first time.

Ireland’s David Simpson reclaimed the Science Supplements BHS Queen Elizabeth II Cup.
He has only been riding Gentleman VH Veldof for a few weeks. “He landed on the Monday before the Al Shira’aa Derby show in June, so that was our first show with him,” said David. “I really, really like him. For such a short period together, we seem to have clicked quite well.
“Michael Whitaker rode him before me, so I went back and watched a couple of videos of him riding him. Obviously I can’t copy him, but it gave me some ideas!”

Allister Hood claimed The British Horse Society Supreme Horse Championship with the remarkable cob Our Cashel Blue.
It was an eighth Hickstead supreme title for Allister, who has now clocked up more wins than any other rider in the history of the championship. It marks an incredible comeback for the pair – Allister suffered a heart attack last season, while Our Cashel Blue has returned to top form after diagnosis and successful treatment of a rare form of cancer.
“It’s been a marvellous week, and this morning we’ve had an absolute red-letter day,” said Allister, whose team claimed six wins and a brace of placings through the week.

David Will lifted the Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup, becoming the first German rider to win the trophy since Holger Wulschner in 2008.
Will, 31, was aiming to ride one of his other international horses in today’s Grand Prix, but ended up having to change plans and compete his new ride, the nine-year-old Holsteiner Never Walk Alone, instead – a decision that certainly paid off when he finished top of a five-strong jump-off.
“It’s actually only our fourth show together, we did one show in Poland two weeks ago and won the Grand Prix there,” said David. “The horse I’d planned to ride was a little bit sick and had a bit of a temperature on the first day. She’s recovered, but we thought it would be better not to jump her, so we thought we’d give it a shot with Never Walk Alone and it turned out to be great! I thought he jumped both rounds exceptionally good. He was really, really fighting.”

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