WARWICKSHIRE’s Robert Smith was crowned British Showjumping National Champion in spectacular fashion after soaring to victory at Stoneleigh’s National Agricultural and Exhibition Centre.
The last phase of the hotly contested Horse of the Year Show Wild Card Series took place over the weekend where 44 riders stepped forward to tackle the imposing Championship Arena 1 course in a bid to claim the coveted title.
The tension was high as the competition started in reverse order from the previous combined results of the two legs, both of which were also hosted at the British Showjumping National Championships over the weekend.
The course was challenging and put both horses and riders to the test with only 12 riders managing to jump clear.
Smith was the winner of leg one on Friday and was last to go riding the bold nine-year-old gelding, Cimano E.
With bated breath the audience watched as the pair landed from the last fence and turned to see the clock read 42.07, just ahead of the current leader Chloe Winchester with Avoca Valkyrie who had done it in 42.92 seconds.
There were cheers all round when the top ten riders came into the arena for the prize giving and Smith was crowned the National Champion 2016.
“It was a very tough jump off and was definitely built up to maximum height with the aim of really making the horses work for it,” said Smith.
“The horse has a nice even pace though and as he has matured he is showing his versatility.”