A five-year-old Irish Sport Horse who is destined for a career in eventing has taken the Cuddy Working Hunter of the Year Championship on the opening day of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).
Heads Up is jointly owned by event rider and producer, Hayden Hankey, and Catherine Witt, and was the youngest horse among 39 starters in this prestigious Championship (pictured left, photo Julian Porch)
Hayden rode a fantastic clear round on ‘Malvern’, as he is known at home, earlier on in the day and the gelding then showed class and maturity beyond his years under the spotlights of the Andrews Bowen International Arena in the evening performance.
The combination has been together for 12 months and qualified at the BSHA National Championship Show just a few weeks ago. After three events were cancelled due to bad weather this season, Hayden wanted Malvern to get some extra mileage on the clock, without the wear and tear on his legs. HOYS is Malvern’s third show to date.
Thinking ahead to the Supreme Products Supreme Horse of the Year on Sunday, Hayden said: “This horse has got every chance; he’s beautifully put together and in terms of conformation temperament and movement, he’s a class above everything.”
Hayden is no stranger to HOYS, having first competed in the Working Hunter Pony at just six years of age.
History repeated itself for Louise Lyons who rode Paulette Cooper’s MJM Laszlo into the Reserve Champion spot for the second year running. The nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse qualified at the Northern Ireland Festival.
David Cole’s course certainly put competitors through their paces. 12 rustic obstacles, provided by Cheshire Show Services, included an inviting oxer to start, followed by the water tray at fence five, a narrow gate and oxer at fence eight, the famous wall at fence 9 and the oxer with three options at fence 12. Just 10 combinations were invited back to the evening Championship.
Mike, Simone and Yasmin Cuddy have been a long-standing sponsor of Horse of the Year Show and have supported this Championship class since 1998.