New engagement for prolific hunter
Horse & Hound|July 01, 2021
A side-saddle pilot books a HOYS slot on her first attempt while a New Forest stallion stands in-hand supreme
MARGARET SHAW

Royal Cheshire County Show

HAVING only their second side-saddle outing, Katie Crozier and Royal Engagement (Hugo) clinched another ladies’ win and this time a coveted Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) ticket.

“For a big horse, he is light and elegant and covers the ground so easily, and he goes equally well side-saddle and astride,” said Katie, who will be making her debut at Birmingham after contesting this, her first-ever HOYS qualifier.

A previous Birmingham lightweight hunter finalist with Claire Oliver, Hugo originally joined Vicky Smith’s Cheshire yard this season to produce for Tony and Sue Granger, but after falling in love with the Financial Reward nine-year-old, Vicky’s partner Alan Marnie decided to buy him.

“A few people noted what a good ladies’ horse Hugo looked, but when I said I wasn’t a fan of riding side-saddle, Katie, who started with us this year, was quick to reply that she was,” explained Vicky.

Seizing an early opportunity, Vicky swiftly despatched Katie and Hugo to Northallerton for a debut outing, where the pair won and claimed their Hickstead ticket.

Earlier in the day here at Cheshire, Hugo had taken the reserve hunter championship after standing second to the winning lightweight and champion.

Proving he goes equally well astride, side-saddle and is mega adaptable, Hugo was ridden by Vicky in the hunter class. However, due to a clash of classes, she handed the reins to Katie for the hunter championship before they switched saddles for the ladies’ class to put in another footperfect performance.

“Hugo was just so good,” concluded Katie, who was overjoyed her mother Sandra and sister Alison had travelled from Northern Ireland to be at the show.

Katie has an enviable CV on the Irish circuit with wins and places at Dublin, Balmoral and the Northern Ireland Festival.

Local rider and producer Robert Walker is always delighted to clinch a hunter championship on his home ground and it was the turn of Jill Day’s Somerville Lad to take the 2021 tricolour.

“He is a lovely true blood lightweight who is still maturing and remains low mileage, but he has a great brain,” said Robert, who also topped the heavyweights with Elusive Gold.

FLYING THE NATIVE BREED FLAGS

EVEN before the final reckoning, the Price Family supreme in-hand championship was a memorable occasion for Hayley Reynolds as the local owner and producer fielded two champions, Peronne The Navigator (New Forest) and Drybarrows Advocate (Fell).

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