CORNISH competitors proved they are a force to be reckoned with at the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) held at Hickstead, West Sussex.
Annette Buckingham from Helston kick- started her successful week with her prolific small hunter, Miners Town at the New Forest Show on route to Hickstead, where they won their second Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) qualifier before taking the overall hunter championship.
This exceptional partnership, who have qualified for HOYS for the last four years at Royal Cornwall Show, went on to collect second place in the amateur lightweight hunter class before taking the reserve championship.
The 11-year old brown gelding then went on to collect a fourth place in a very strong small hunter final.
Also enjoying success at the New Forest Show was Rebecca Williams from Ruan Minor, who rode her coloured Cob gelding, Smudge, to win the HOYS Maxi Cob qualifier. "I actually cannot believe it." said Rebecca, who has made the step up to open qualifiers after contesting the Search for a Star final at HOYS last term.
Cob success continued at the RIHS with Rhys Harper from Mylor Bridge gaining second place in the amateur heavyweight cob final, with Fiona Dymond of Blisland matching their placing in the lightweight section on Trevor Burley's Garrangrena Dream.
The Dymond family each gained a top placing in their finals. Fiona's eldest daughter, 12-year-old Abi, stood top of the line in the open 14hh show hunter pony final on Schumaker.
Her nine-year-old sister Tori collected a third placing in the Pretty Polly (home-produced) Lead Rein Mountain and Moorland class on the Welsh Section A mare, Amesbury Lucy Locket, with whom she has also qualified for HOYS in the first ridden section.
Also picking up placings in the same Lead Rein class were five-year-old Samuel Laity and Thistledown Candice who collected fifth and Truro-based Amelia Watson who rode Wyedean Sinatra into seventh place.
The day before, Amelia and Frank (Wyedean Sinatra) collected an exciting second place in the open Lead Rein Mountain and Moorland final, before going on to take the reserve championship.
"Wow, what an amazing time! What more could I ask for at our first time at Hickstead," said Amelia's mother Paulette.
Also enjoying success on their Hickstead debut was Sophie James from St Agnes riding her attractive dun Connemara, Glenmore Gwennic.
After missing out on their moment in the spotlight when qualifying for both of their finals due to mark miscalculations, the pair made up for it when collecting fifth place in a very strong Connemara and New Forest final.
Their best was yet to come though, when they were called into second place the Pretty Polly mixed breeds Mountain and Moorland final.
"I am beyond happy," said Sophie, who juggles competing with running her own feed store, Foxtrot Country Supplies.
The Working Hunter classes fielded strong competition from Cornish show jumpers, Andrew Williams and Mel Hennah, who picked up second and third placings in the heavyweight working hunter classes respectively.
Andrew rode Nancy Philip's grey gelding, Bodieve Toyboy, whilst Mel rode Carolyn Steven's Anchorman, who already qualified for next years final at Camborne Show.
Kathryn Pitt's elegant small riding horse, China Rose, ridden by producer Adam Winbourne, claimed the riding horse championship before going on to stand reserve supreme of the show.
The nine-year-old bay Thoroughbred mare won her class at HOYS last year and will be aiming to repeat their success in October.
August 14: Gwennap RC Open Showjumping @ Colraine – smaller heights.
August 16: Gwennap RC Kids Club @ Chiverton RC for those not at Kids Camp; Lanivet Horse and Dog Show @ Royal Cornwall Show. Starts 9am; Express Eventing @ Colraine.
August 17: Clay Country Horse & Dog Show @ Resugga Farm, St Stephens, St Austell. In aid of Cornish Hospice Care & Cornish Heart Unit Fund..
September 7: Landerio Horse & Dog Show @ Mylor Bridge. See website for details; Bodmin Lions annual 10 mile pleasure ride. Call Sara Newton on 01208 831948 or 07879 677141.