Bicton Arena’s Showjumping Spectacular

Bicton Arena’s six day show, the largest ever competition staged at the venue, has been hailed a huge success by riders who travelled from across the UK to compete in a range of showjumping classes from novice to Grand Prix

Robert Whitaker, a member of the famous showjumping clan bearing that name, was attending the show for the first time and was richly rewarded with some stunning results.

The Talent Seekers class attracted some 87 horses with the first four earning tickets to the Horse of the Year Show. Whitaker claimed two of them with the Brendon Stud’s Fabrics Van Overis, a seven year old owned by the Brendon Stud, winning the class and Renkum Centre Star third.

Robert said: “He’s been with us since February and I’ve been just getting to know him. He’s changed so much since he’s been with me and he’s just starting to turn a corner. He’s only a young horse but he’s naturally very quick and very careful.”

Whitaker and his wife Kate competed eight horses with three qualifying for Hoys. “It’s really great here with a good selection of classes firm novice to grade A which is good for us as we can bring a mix of horses and jump in three different rings. I’d really like to come back again,” said Robert.

Dorset’s Harriet Nuttall, who has enjoyed a lucrative time on the Sunshine Tour, enjoyed consistently good results with Galway Bay Jed, who was fifth in the Talent Seekers and just missed out on HOYS qualification. who will now go to the British Masters two star international at Stafford. “I’ve been coming here since I was on ponies and I love it,” she said.

Sponsor Sara George, from Torrington, said: “Bicton for me is the best show in the country. Helen (West) and Beccy (Barratt) are the most accommodating people to deal with and I think that’s why the shows are so popular.

Exeter-based Jamie Perryman of JP Equestrian added: “I used to ride here and now I am a course builder and it is always lovely coming here.

Julian Mincher, from sponsors Grazinglands.co.uk and also a competitor said: “So many people have been for the first time and have really loved it. I’ve brought five horses and an owner brought one and we’ve won two classes with Risk It and Heindoven both winning a Foxhunters and Love Handel winning the five year old class.”

Another delighted sponsor was Mercedes South West who supported the prestigious Area Trial won by Jamie Wingrove winning the class on Cardigan Z.

Arena Manager Helen West staged the show after the demise of the Hand Equestrian Centre near Bristol. She said: “I did wander whether we could pull off a six day show, but we have a great team here and I was really keen to have the qualifiers with a Newcomers Second Round, Foxhunters Second Round, the Talent Seekers and a six-year-olds class. Horse of the Year Show tickers are very sought after and I knew that by taking these classes we’d get the big guys down.

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