Tom Whitaker gets Hickstead campaign off to a winning start 


Yorkshire’s Tom Whitaker won the feature class at today’s Longines International Horse Show at Hickstead. 

Riding the talented seven-year-old Colliers Carlotta, Tom took the spoils in the British Showjumping Winter Grades B & C Championship. The pair were one of six combinations to jump clear in the opening round, and their time of 38.52sec was enough to relegate Ireland’s Trevor Breen (Glenard Kannendro) into second place.

Tom Whitaker and Colliers Carlotta (c) Elli Birch

“She’s always been a good horse, to be honest – I was just lucky enough to get the ride on her this year,” said Tom of the mare, who is owned by the Crimbourne Stud. “They just approached me out of nowhere and asked me to ride it, and I was delighted.

“She’s a proper winner. She’s very quick, with a massive stride, and she’s very careful – I think she’s one of the best I’ve ever had, actually. You always feel you’ve got a good chance to win when you’re on top of her, so I’m very excited about her,” added Tom, who is now based near Hickstead at Hascombe Equestrian Centre. 


Pro Ponies UK BS Winter 128cms Championship.

Earlier today, eight-year-old Annabel Widdowson won the Pro Ponies UK BS Winter 128cms Championship. Annabel is one of the youngest riders ever to qualify for this prestigious finale, so to take the win against riders several years older than her was an impressive feat.

Annabel and Bunbury Conquest

Riding her 22-year-old pony Bunbury Conquest, Annabel was the last competitor to go, and she blazed her way round clear to cross the finish line in a time of 41.63sec, 0.08sec faster than runner-up Portia Taylor Wilson (Doylan Honey Glint).

“Questy’s a fabulous pony – he has a connection with me. We’ve bonded because we’re both firecrackers; we both like to dare each other,” said Annabel.

Showjumping’s something of a family affair for Annabel: her grandparents, Gary and Beverley Widdowson, own Big Star, the now-retired Olympic gold medal-winning mount of British showjumping legend Nick Skelton. 

Pony of The Year BS Winter 138cm Championship

Glaswegian teenager Lucy Capper travelled 500 miles to compete at Hickstead. Riding Playboy van de Zoetewei, Lucy took the win in the Pony of The Year BS Winter 138cm Championship after delivering a fast clear jump-off in a time of 38.56sec.


“It’s my first time at Hickstead, and he was such a star,” said the 14-year-old. “I couldn’t have asked for anything more from him.”

Oakley Coachbuilders BS Winter Grade JC Championship

The first class of the day was the Oakley Coachbuilders BS Winter Grade JC Championship, which saw a line-up of 25 of the country’s best young riders and ponies compete for top honours.

In the end it was local rider Lauren Wilkins who lifted the trophy, delivering a 39.07sec jump-off round with Eloclea Ro Del Colle San Marco.

“It’s just incredible,” said Lauren, who first teamed up with the now-nine-year-old mare two years ago after sourcing her in Italy. “She was a bit cautious at the beginning [of the class], but she got the hang of it pretty well – and I think I rode it pretty well,” she said. “She covers the ground so well, and so it was across the ground that I was able to make up the time in the jump-off. I just needed to push on a bit between the fences.”

That speed between jumps allowed her to finish over a second and a half ahead of her nearest competitors, young showjumping prodigy Tabitha Kyle with Coppenagh Khaleesi, and Imogen Rome and her driving-pony-turned-showjumper Eden Ace, both of whom finished on a time of exactly 40.64 seconds.

SEIB British Showjumping Winter Novice Championship

Katie Speller and Be Warnham won the SEIB British Showjumping Winter Novice Championship. The pair were one of just five to go through to the jump-off, and they won by three-quarters of a second ahead of Michaela Scott (Eddie G Z).

Katie Speller and Be Warnham

“I’ve jumped in there a few now and it’s never actually gone to plan – so it’s nice to finally have a good result! It’s the horse’s first time in there, and he just seemed to love it as well,” said a delighted Katie.

Tickets for the Longines Royal International Horse Show (25-30 July) are available at the gate or can be bought online. The action will be livestreamed throughout on ClipMyHorse.TV and Hickstead.TV, with additional coverage on Sky Sports and FEI.TV on Friday and Sunday.


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