Nottinghamshire’s Louise Saywell came to the party on a borrowed horse as she landed Saturday’s opening international class at the Horse of the Year Show in Birmingham. Louise, who rode for Great Britain at the inaugural Nations Cup final in Barcelona, claimed a superb victory on 13-year-old stallion Peiter VI, which is owned and normally ridden by James Hughes.
Last to go in a five horse jump-off at the NEC, the combination took almost three seconds off Phillip Miller’s time with Sussex Carentino, who had to settle for the runners-up spot in a class sponsored by Irish Horse Gateway, while Belgium’s Jos Verlooy was third on Farfelu de la Pomme.
“I am just ecstatic,” Louise said. “I’ve had a hard few days, with things not going as they should, so to get this win has given me a confidence boost. I have won two national classes here, but this is my first international win here, and it feels amazing. It is such a good show to compete at – it is the one everyone wants to come to.
“When you don’t have a win or a good time, it puts you down, but this will give me a lot of confidence. On the first day, we did the warm-up class, which wasn’t great, then we had two down on Thursday afternoon, so I had no expectations that we would win this class. I just went in there and give it my best shot, and luckily it all came off.”
Louise rode the horse last year, and their partnership quickly gelled once more in front of a big audience ahead of Saturday night’s sold-out performance.
“I just literally borrowed him for this show,” she added. “He came here to me the week before, and then he will go home after the show. He is really fast against the clock, and he has got all the experience. When you get on an older horse, they have their way of going, so it’s just finding out what works best for him. Going to the last fence, I thought this is either going to be hero or zero!”