Guy Williams and Joseph Trunkfield triumphed in the puissance on the opening day of The London International Horse Show (15 December). The pair jumped 2.15m and were crowned joint winners of the class with striking greys Mr Blue Sky UK and Cruze.

Earlier in the day, world individual double gold medallists Lottie Fry and Glamourdale continued their winning streak with victory in the FEI Dressage World Cup Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound.

Harry Charles was also among Thursday’s winners, securing the Voltaire Design Under 25 British Championship with Chavira, and world number one driving star Boyd Exell took the premier position in the Extreme Driving supported by Karen and Hugh Scott-Barrett.

‘A massive night for me’

The LeMieux Puissance featured 11 combinations taking on the famous red wall, which was raised to 2.15m in the fifth round. The height was only cleared by winners Guy and Joseph. This was a back-to-back victory for Guy and Mr Blue Sky UK, having won the class last year as well. Impressively, it was Joseph’s first time at The London International Horse Show.

“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “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.”

Guy said it was the perfect start to the week.

“[Mr Blue Sky UK] jumps the wall very well and actually his hardest rounds are the first couple as he’s a little bit spooky,” he said. “The crowd were amazing, they really understand the sport and they love it.”

‘He loved it!’

Fifteen combinations from 10 nations contested the FEI Dressage World Cup Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound. First to go was Great Britian’s Emile Faurie with 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. 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, then went into the lead with stallion Franzikus FRH. The duo were awarded 75.421%. With only a handful to go, Great Britain’s Gareth Hughes and 16-year-old Classic Briolinca took the lead from Ingrid with 78.263%.

However, double world champions, Lottie Fry and Glamourdale impressed the judges as anticipated, and gained a personal best and winning score of 84.026% on the horse’s debut at the show.

“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,” said Lottie. “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 today (Friday 16 December) 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.”

A family affair

The Voltaire Design Under 25 British Championship had 24 starters, including Under 25 world number one Harry Charles. The Bernando Costa Cabral course 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 and Lightning TW who set the standard for the rest of the riders with a quick round in 33.22 seconds but had the final fence came down. Next was Scarlett Charles and Chicago’s Boy, who had an unlucky rail in a time of 38.18 seconds.

Harry went next and produced a clear in 32.68 to take the lead. Emma Crawford and Leonie Aitkenhead followed, and both secured fast clears in 33.79 and 33.64 respectively, but were not quick enough beat Harry’s round. Finally Sienna Charles had two down, so her older brother remained in first place.

“I am delighted to be back at The London International Horse Show,” he said. “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.”

Lead image: Guy Williams and Mr Blue Sky UK, joint winners of The LeMieux Puissance 

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