Category Archives: Royal Windsor Horse Show

HM The Queen’s Champion Horse, Barbers Shop, Arrives at Windsor Castle

Photo: Peter Nixon / Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Her Majesty The Queen’s homebred Champion, Barbers Shop, arrived at Windsor Castle ahead of his retirement at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show which celebrates its 75th year this week. The Show runs from 9-13 May, with a special retirement ceremony for Barbers Shop taking place on the afternoon of Sunday 13 May.

Tickets for Royal Windsor Horse Show are still available and can be purchased online at www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928

Behind the Scenes with Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin ahead of Royal Windsor Horse Show

Ahead of competing at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show, we were given a sneak preview of the training regime of Olympic gold medallists, Charlotte Dujardin CBE and Carl Hester MBE, as they prepare for the CDI4* Al’Shiraa Dressage Grand Prix and Freestyle competitions at Royal Windsor on the evenings of Thursday 10th and Friday 11th May.

Dujardin, who will be riding Mount St John Freestyle, her new Grand Prix horse and FEI World Equestrian Games™ hopeful, said, “I’m really excited about going to Windsor. I used to compete there Showing as a child, so it’s got some really great memories for me. It’s an incredible setting and to have the British crowd behind me will make it even more special. The Dressage always has an amazing atmosphere there; it’s usually under the floodlights at night, which makes it really unique – Mount St John Freestyle is going to absolutely love it and I’m looking forward to it so much!”

Exclusive behind-the-scenes access with the renowned duo indicated preparations were full steam ahead as Hester and Dujardin set their sights on Royal Windsor, and the jam-packed competition year ahead. Although competing against each other, Dujardin’s mentor, team mate and fellow competitor shared his joys of competing and his hopes for returning to defend his title, this year aboard Hawtins Delicato:

“I won my first championship medal at Royal Windsor back in 2009. The backdrop is sensational; there is nowhere quite like it. I remember competing to music under the lights with 8,000 people there that night watching me; it was very surreal, especially having the castle lit up in the background.”

Hester continued, “Since then Charlotte has won the Grand Prix and I won the Grand Prix there last year, so we have both had a turn at it, which is nice – keep it in the family and share the win! This year I am predicting that Charlotte will win it; her horse is sensational. We call her Mrs Valegro after our all-time star, Valegro, who won three Olympic gold medals. Watch this space!”

To see the Dressage action at Royal Windsor Horse Show first hand, or to find out more, visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928

Stellar International Line-Up at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show

Royal Windsor Horse Show will welcome the world’s best riders to the private grounds of Windsor Castle from 9-13 May 2018, with a line-up fitting to celebrate the Show’s 75th anniversary year. With international competitions taking place across four FEI equestrian disciplines, including CSI5* Show Jumping, CDI4* Dressage and CAIO4* Driving, as well as CEI2* Endurance, the calibre of entries is better than ever before.

International CSI5* Show Jumping

Six of the world’s top 10 Show Jumpers will be taking to the Castle Arena, headed by World No. 1 Kent Farrington (USA), who will be hoping to make a successful return from injury to reclaim his title in the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix. The class, the pinnacle event of the Show, will take place on Sunday 13 May, with a top-class line-up contending for the coveted Rolex Grand Prix and unprecedented prize fund of €300,000.

Reigning European Champion and individual silver medallist at the 2016 Olympics, Peder Fredricson (SWE) and Rio Olympic team gold medallist Kevin Staut (FRA), currently ranked third and fourth in the world respectively, will be hot on Farrington’s heels, seeking to usurp him from pole position in the Rolex Grand Prix, a position he has taken two years consecutively. Top Italian duo, Lorenzo de Luca and Alberto Zorzi along with fellow top-10 rider Steve Guerdat (SUI), individual gold medallist at London 2012, will be adding to the stiff competition.

A strong British contingent, led by crowd favourites Scott Brash and Ben Maher, will be looking to mount a formidable home challenge across the three days of CSI5* competition, including action taking place during a Saturday evening performance.  Father and son combination, John and Robert Whitaker, William Funnell and the notoriously fast Guy Williams will all be sure to set the Castle Arena alight, looking for a home victory.

Britain’s leading lady rider Laura Renwick will be heading the female challengers, along with USA representatives, Laura Kraut, another Olympic gold medallist within the stellar line-up, and Lauren Hough, plus British young rider Emily Moffitt.

Representing Ireland will be Bertram Allen, Denis Lynch and Cian O’Connor, all of whom were part of the European gold medal winning team last summer. Adding further international flair to the competition will be former individual Olympic champions, Canada’s Eric Lamaze and Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa, and former World No. 1 Daniel Deusser (GER), fresh from Grand Prix victory at the FEI World Cup Final in Paris last weekend.

International CDI4* Dressage

Reinforcing the international prestige of the Show will be the CDI4* Dressage, with The Al Shira’aa Grand Prix and The Al Shira’aa Grand Prix Freestyle to Music set to take centre stage on the evenings of Thursday 10 and Friday 11 May respectively. Home favourite Carl Hester has dominated Dressage at Royal Windsor in recent years, with victory aboard his Rio Olympic companion Nip Tuck in 2015 and returning to dominate both the Freestyle and Grand Prix with the British-bred Barolo in 2017. Hester will be returning in 2018 with Hawtins Delicato, with whom he recently made his National Grand Prix debut, scoring 76.8%, and the horse with which he is hoping to compete at the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) later in the year.

Triple Olympic gold medallist, Charlotte Dujardin is sure to pose a serious challenge to Hester’s previous dominance, riding her new Grand Prix partner Mount St John Freestyle, who made an impressive Grand Prix debut last month, scoring 81%. The nine-year-old Hanoverian mare, hailed as Dujardin’s next superstar and nick-named “Mrs Valegro”, is also being aimed at WEG, with Windsor providing an excellent platform to showcase her ability in front of international judges, including Susan Hoevenaars, who will also be judging at WEG itself.

Four-time British Olympian, Richard Davison (GBR), will also be looking to steal Hester’s crown with homebred gelding Bubblingh, out of his former international ride Ballaseyr Royale, who together took the Grand Prix and Freestyle in Roosendaal at the end of last year, as will compatriot Hayley Watson-Greaves (GBR) with Rubins Nite and former British team member Gareth Hughes aboard Don Carissimo.

A strong international contingent will be seeking to dampen British spirits, including Tosca Visser Van Der Meulen and Thamar Zweistra from the Netherlands and Germany’s Juliette Piotrowski, a former Young Rider European team gold and individual silver medal winner. From Japan, Akane Kuroki will be riding her Olympic ride Toots, with young rider Caroline Chew (SGP), silver medal winner at the South East Asian Games, returning aboard Tribiani. Ireland’s Kate Dwyer will be making a spectacular come back from a broken back, which put her out of action for the winter season, aboard the twelve-year-old Snowdon Faberge.

International CAI3*/CAIO4* Driving

The 2018 CAIO Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix, a FEI World Cup qualifier, will play host to a magnificent line-up in each of the three categories; horse and pony four-in-hands and horse pairs.

The 30 horse four-in-hand competitors represent 12 countries including five from the home nation. Among them will be reigning indoor and outdoor World Champion, Boyd Exell from Australia, who earlier this year claimed the FEI World Cup championship for the seventh time, looking for a ninth Royal Windsor win.

Giving him no quarter will be two top competitors from the nation that has dominated gold medal position at the World horse four-in-hand championships over the last decade, the Netherlands’ Ijsbrand Chardon and Koos de Ronde, the latter also being the current FEI World Cup bronze medallist. Chardon’s son, Bram, a previous world pony four-in-hand champion as well as pony four-in-hand winner at Windsor, will make his Royal Windsor debut in horse four-in-hand and will be one to watch. The USA’s Chester Weber will also be back attempting to reclaim his 2014 and 2015 Royal Windsor titles.

GB’s horse four-in-hand challenge will be in the experienced and capable hands of the Basset sisters, Karen and Pippa, as well as Wilf Bowman-Ripley, Dick Lane and Daniel Naprous, whose performance indoors at the London International Horse Show at Olympia has thrilled the home crowd in recent years.

The horse pairs, a CAI3*, will field 18 competitors from 11 nations, including last year’s winner, Lars Schwitte (GER). He will find himself with stiff competition from the current world bronze horse pairs medallist Beat Schenk (SUI) as well as the experienced Barry Capstick (IRL). The challenge from the home nation will come from successful horse pairs driver David Matthews, as well as barrister Chris Smith, current chairman of British Carriagedriving.

Competition in the 9-strong pony four-in-hand, also a CAI3*, will be as strong as it is in the other two categories with last year’s winner, Tinne Bax from Belgium out to retain her 2017 Royal Windsor title. The Netherlands’ Jan de Boer, the current world silver medallist and six-time Royal Windsor winner, will provide tough opposition, with Britain’s Sara Howe, Roger Campbell and Joanna Broadbent all determined to uphold the Union Jack.

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said, “The calibre of entries at this year’s Show is second to none, demonstrating the ever-increasing international prestige of the event and cementing its status amongst the best shows in the world. We’re honoured to welcome some of the world’s finest horses and riders and are looking forward to watching the world-class action unfold.”

To find out more about Royal Windsor Horse Show, or to book tickets, visit www.rwhs.co.uk. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the box office on 0844 581 4960 from the UK and +44 (0)121 7966290 internationally. Windsor residents should call the Windsor Information Centre on 01753 743589.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928

Celebrating 75 Years of CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show

To celebrate the landmark 75th CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show, organisers have created a copyright free film: ‘Royal Windsor Horse Show through the ages’. Set up in 1943 to support ‘Wings for Victory’, a war time campaign to raise money to purchase Hurricanes and Spitfires for the Royal Air Force, the Show has grown to become an internationally recognised 5* equestrian event. Her Majesty The Queen has attended every year since its creation, with many of the world’s best riders taking to the private grounds of Windsor Castle to compete at the renowned event.

Royal Windsor Horse Show will take place from 9-13 May 2018; to find out more, visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

To view the film, click here.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928

Spectacular Line-Up of Displays Announced for 75th Royal Windsor Horse Show

CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show is delighted to announce a spectacular line-up of displays at the 75th annual Show, taking place from 9-13 May 2018.

The Show has an exciting programme for its visitors throughout the week. Returning to Windsor, having previously performed at Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration in 2016, will be the Equestrian Federation of Azerbaijan, with their new performance ‘Land of Fire – Azerbaijan’.

The display celebrates the Karabakh horse, the native horse of southwestern Azerbaijan. Ten horse and rider combinations will be seen combining fast paced movements with tight turns and perfectly timed executions. They will be accompanied by the ‘Sarhadchi’ dance ensemble who will be performing traditional dances alongside two fire-jugglers performing a spectacular fire show. The performance, choreographed specifically for Royal Windsor Horse Show, demonstrates the strength and bravery of the Karabakh horse, and the courage and peacefulness of the Azerbaijan people.

Azar Hamzayev, Land of Fire – Azerbaijan Coach, said: “We are very excited to be returning to Royal Windsor Horse Show and to be showcasing a performance which captures our heritage, in front of the fantastic crowds. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate the Karabakh horse, and the traditional culture of Azerbaijan.”

The Household Cavalry Mounted Band will be adding to the line-up of equestrian displays. After being formed in 2014 by the union of The Band of The Life Guards and The Band of The Blues and Royals, the two mounted bands of the British army. The band today combines State Trumpeters, mounted, marching and concert bands as well as smaller ensembles. They will appear in their gold State Dress as they do whenever a senior member of the Royal Family is present. They will be performing alongside the Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry who appear every year at Royal Windsor.

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said: “It is a landmark year for Royal Windsor Horse Show so we are delighted to have an exciting overseas display which is steeped in tradition alongside a wonderfully traditional British military band to join us in the 75th anniversary celebrations.”

Crowd favourites returning to the private grounds of Windsor Castle include The Land Rover Shetland Pony Grand National, where the mini jockeys and their Shetland Ponies fearlessly race head-to-head, as well as the DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games, which will see teams from the Republic of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales compete in a series of fast and furious races set to get the crowd cheering. Spectators can also expect to see The Musical Drive of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, the return of the Coaching Marathon, the Best Turned Out Trooper competition and the Skill at Arms amongst many other fascinating competitions and displays that can only be found at Royal Windsor.

To find out more about Royal Windsor Horse Show or to book tickets, visit www.rwhs.co.uk. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the box office on 0844 581 4960 from the UK and +44 (0)121 7966290 internationally. Windsor residents should call the Windsor Information Centre on 01753 743589.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928

Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester Head to Royal Windsor Horse Show

Royal Windsor Horse Show is delighted to announce that leading British Dressage riders, Carl Hester MBE and Charlotte Dujardin OBE, will join the competitive line-up at the Show this May (9-13) when it celebrates its 75th year.

The Al Shira’aa Grand Prix and Freestyle to Music, taking place on the evenings of Thursday 10 and Friday 11 May, respectively, will attract some of the world’s greatest riders as they head to the private grounds of Windsor Castle for the CDI 4* FEI Dressage competition.

After captivating crowds with her auspicious prospect, Mount St John Freestyle, during a demonstration at Olympia, The London International Horse Show last December, the triple Olympic champion, Charlotte Dujardin and her new Grand Prix partner will be gracing the Castle Arena at Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Dujardin and the nine-year-old Hanoverian mare, who has been nick-named ‘Mrs Valegro’, recently took the Dressage world by storm after achieving an 81% debut Grand Prix score at the recent national show in Hartpury. The duo is anticipated to be Team GB medal contenders at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) this September and will be competing at Royal Windsor Horse Show as part of their road to WEG campaign.

Charlotte Dujardin, OBE, said: ‘I’m really looking forward to Royal Windsor this year, and I am especially excited to showcase Freestyle’s talent to the British public. Freestyle has been performing so well this season so a win at Windsor would be really special.’

Joining Dujardin will be Carl Hester, Team GB representative, who will be trying his luck with Hawtins Delicato, a 16.3hh British Hanoverian gelding. Hester will also be looking towards WEG team selection with Delicato, who also recently made his national Grand Prix debut, scoring 76.8%.

Hester, who has many years of international success and experience, is no stranger to winning at Royal Windsor, having taken the 2017 title riding Barolo, and is a sure contender for prime podium position.

Carl Hester, MBE, said: ‘Royal Windsor is such a unique Show; the setting is like no other and the competition is always fantastic. It is great being back after winning here last year. Delicato and I are looking forward to giving Charlotte and Freestyle a run for their money!’

Royal Windsor will give WEG hopefuls the invaluable opportunity to compete in front of a WEG Dressage judge, an element that is expected to draw in many of the biggest international Dressage names to the Castle Arena.

To see the Dressage action at Royal Windsor Horse Show first hand, or to find out more, visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928

What to Expect at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show

From Wednesday 9 – Sunday 13 May 2018, the private grounds of Windsor Castle will once again open its gates to the public, as Royal Windsor Horse Show returns for a spectacular 75th year.

With all eyes on Windsor ahead of the highly anticipated Royal wedding the following week, over 55,000 spectators are expected to attend the Show to enjoy the top-class sporting action, entertainment and shopping across the five days.

World-class equestrian competition

Having seen over 3,000 entries at the 2017 event, the Show remains the pinnacle of the equestrian calendar, and the only Show in the UK to host four of the eight FEI disciplines: Show Jumping, Dressage, Carriage Driving and Endurance. The recently upgraded 5* status attracts the sports’ most prominent competitors to the illustrious setting.

The CSI5* Show Jumping will be returning to the Castle Arena from Friday 11 – Sunday 13 May, including a Saturday evening performance, with the climax of the action, the Rolex Grand Prix taking place on the final day. Current World No. 1 and reigning champion Kent Farrington is sure to be hoping to return from injury to defend his title. Speaking after his victory in 2017, Kent said, “This is one of my favourite shows… There’s a combination of an amazing setting, an unbelievable crowd, top course designing and great footing… It’s on par with the best in the world.”

The CDI4* Al Shira’aa Dressage Grand Prix and Freestyle to Music will take place on the evenings of Thursday 10 and Friday 11 May, respectively. Riders will have the unique opportunity to be judged by Susan Hoevenaars, one of the judges at the upcoming FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018, an unmissable chance for hopefuls heading to the Games this September.

The CAIO4* Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix, a FEI World Cup™ qualifier and one of the most important Driving events in the UK adds to the roster of top international competition at the Show. 2017 saw Boyd Exell score an impressive eighth victory at the Show, and the Australian is certain to be looking to retain his title as part of his FEI World Equestrian Games™ build-up.

Competitive Endurance action will take to Windsor Great Park on Friday 11 May as the CEI2* Royal Windsor Endurance supported by The Kingdom of Bahrain sets off around 120km of the countryside of Windsor and Ascot for the ultimate test of stamina for both horse and rider.

Over 120 Showing classes will join the four FEI disciplines in the action-packed schedule and, with many of HM The Queen’s horses regularly featuring in the starting line-ups, Royal Windsor Horse Show represents the height of the National Showing calendar. Competitors will be striving to follow in the footsteps of HM The Queen’s Barbers Shop to be crowned Royal Windsor Supreme Showing Champion on the final day of the Show.

Displays

The always popular Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and The Musical Drive of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will be returning to present their powerful displays of skill and precision in the Castle Arena from Thursday to Sunday.

Joining them will be The Land Rover Shetland Pony Grand National, rousing crowds as the young jockeys and their ponies go head-to-head in a daringly fast race around the arena. The DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games will be adding to the crowd-enthusing entertainment as teams from England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland, compete in fast and furious races, set to entertain the entire family.

Luxury shopping

In between performances, spectators can enjoy Royal Windsor Horse Show Shopping which is packed with boutiques and brands for both equestrian and non-equestrian fans alike. With over 200 fashion and lifestyle stands, the shopping village offers something for everyone, as does the wide range of food and drink outlets distributed across the Showground.

An iconic venue

In addition to the plethora of activities, the event presents spectators with the unique opportunity to experience the exceptional setting of the private grounds of Windsor Castle, with the notable backdrop of the Castle itself. As the Show celebrates its 75th birthday, Organisers are putting in place a series of displays and exhibitions both in and out of the arena to commemorate the diamond anniversary.

Tickets are available from just £9 and allow general access to the Showground; this year visitors can also upgrade to reserve a seat in the Castle Arena. The Show will be running a special Windsor Wednesday promotion for local residents, who will be granted free entry on Wednesday 9 May with use of the local Windsor and Maidenhead Advantage Card.

Additional packages are also available for the Windsor Enclosure and Members Enclosure, both of which offer exclusive bars and seating areas. The Windsor Enclosure was a popular addition to the 2017 Show, offering access to a dedicated bistro, bar, and pre-booked seating on the north-east end of the Castle Arena. The Members Enclosure offers exclusive access to premium seating alongside the Royal Enclosure, a Members restaurant, bar and terrace, all of which overlook the Castle Arena.

To find out more about Royal Windsor Horse Show, or to book tickets, visit www.rwhs.co.uk. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the box office on 0844 581 4960 from the UK and +44 (0)121 7966290 internationally. Windsor residents should call the Windsor Information Centre on 01753 743589.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928

Diamond Year for CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show

CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show returns to the private grounds of Windsor Castle from 9-13 May as the iconic Show celebrates its 75th year.

This renowned equestrian event was launched in 1943 to support ‘Wings for Victory’ – a war time campaign to raise money to purchase Hurricanes and Spitfires for the Royal Air Force. Since this first Show, the event has grown in international prestige to become the UK’s largest outdoor Show, with Her Majesty The Queen, the Show’s Patron, attending every year since its creation.

Over the 75 years the Show has maintained its objective to raise funds for charity. ABF, The Soldiers Charity is supported every year and an equestrian charity is chosen to support by the Committee annually. This year the equestrian charity is the Free Spirit Horse Memorial.

The original Show, which required competitors to hack to the Showground as there was no petrol to spare, took place on only one day. Since 1944 the Show has expanded dramatically in terms of length, spectator attendance and competitors. One of the first competitors was HM The Queen who successfully competed in the Single Private Driving Class driving Hans, a Norwegian Pony, to victory in 1944. Other members of the Royal family have also competed including HRH The Prince of Wales, HRH The Princess Royal, Zara Phillips, and most notably, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh who introduced international carriage driving to the Show in 1972, in which he also competed (and won the Horse Teams class in 1982 with HM The Queen’s team of Bays).

From 1943 onwards, the Show has grown both in size, now hosting over 120 Showing classes, and in stature, placing itself firmly on the international competition circuit, with its augmented status as a 5* event. Royal Windsor Horse Show is now the only Show in the UK to host international competitions in Show Jumping, Dressage, Driving and Endurance.

The annual event now hosts the Rolex Grand Prix, the pinnacle of the week’s calendar, with a prize fund of €300,000, compared to a top prize of £15 in Show Jumping classes in 1944. The increased number of entries is a sheer reflection of the Show’s popularity and prestige, seeing 3,300 entries in 2017, including many of the world’s best riders, compared to 884 entered horses in 1950.

Mr Clive Lidstone, one of the 300 original founding members of Royal Windsor Horse Show, said:

‘I’ve attended the Show every year since it was first created in 1943, where I actually competed in the Gymkhana. I left school early to get there that day. It’s brilliant to see how much the event has grown over the years, not just in size but globally, attracting many of the world’s best competitors.’

Nowadays, more than 55,000 spectators travel to Windsor annually to catch the world-class equestrian action, growing from a noted 8,000 spectators in 1944.

At the event the Organisers are putting in place a series of displays and exhibitions both in and out of the arena to commemorate the 75th anniversary.

To find out more about Royal Windsor Horse Show, or to book tickets, visit www.rwhs.co.uk. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the box office on 0844 581 4960 from the UK and +44 (0)121 7966290 internationally. Windsor residents should call the Windsor Information Centre on 01753 743589.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh Talks Love of and Involvement in Combined Driving

Lexington, Ky. – Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh gave his first and only post-retirement public interview this week to US Equestrian Board Member Misdee Wrigley Miller at the esteemed Royal Windsor Horse Show in Great Britain. His involvement and love of the international equestrian sport, combined driving, was at the top of his list for discussion.

Click here to watch the exclusive interview with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Serving as the President of the Fédération Equestre International (FEI) from 1964 to 1986, the Duke was influential in helping to standardize the international rules for combined driving and bringing the sport to the Royal Windsor Horse Show. His own involvement in the sport started when he was 50 after he decided it was time to give up playing polo.

“I was looking around to see what was next, you know, what was available,” said Prince Philip. “I thought to myself, ‘We have got horses and carriage, so why don’t we have a go?’ So, I borrowed four horses from the stables and took them to Norfolk and practiced. The second competition I entered was the European championship.”

With the Duke’s 96th birthday on the horizon, he has been participating in combined driving for roughly 46 years. His good-humored interview was his first public media appearance since the announcement of his retirement from royal duties earlier this month. The Duke granted the interview to friend and fellow combined-driving competitor Misdee Wrigley Miller.

Miller also owns Post Time Studios, a production company based out of Lexington, Ky. Post Time Studios developed the Driving Grand Prix broadcast of the Royal Windsor Horse Show, earning a nationally-televised slot with the NBC Sports Network. NBC will air the fully-produced, one-hour highlights of the driving competition when Royal Windsor: Driving Grand Prix airs on national television on July 1 at 1 p.m. EST.

The Royal Windsor Horse Show hosts the CAIO4* Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix, one of the most important driving events in the United Kingdom and a FEI World Cup™ qualifier.

Be sure to follow US Equestrian on social media @USEquestrian and @USEFNetwork for updates and social coverage of the event.

Emotions Run High for Nick Skelton Retirement at Royal Windsor Horse Show

It was an emotional final day at Royal Windsor Horse Show as the crowds took to their feet to witness Show Jumping legend, Nick Skelton and his gold medal winning horse, Big Star, stand together in the arena for the last time. In front of Her Majesty The Queen and packed out grandstands, Skelton was joined by his family, owners, fellow Team GB riders and loyal groom, Mark Beaver, to say his final goodbye.

Skelton’s youngest son, professional jockey Harry Skelton, was unable to attend due to racing commitments but left a message for his father that was read out to the crowd:

“Dad, I’m so sorry I’m not there, but when I asked you if I should go racing today or come down to Windsor, you said, go and do your job and try and ride some winners. I thought, that is what has got you to where you are, your hard work, dedication and determination. My first great memory of you in the ring was when Dollar Girl won the World Cup Final in 95. You went through so much from then to Rio 2016, and when you finally reached your childhood dream to take individual gold, was the best day of my life. I am the proudest son alive and so glad you’ve stopped at the top. I hope I will make you as proud as I am of you one day. See you later, love you, Harry.”

There was not a dry eye in the house as Skelton dismounted Big Star, took the saddle off his back – a long standing tradition when a horse is retired – and walked a final lap of honour in-hand to a standing ovation, with the crowd cheering to mark their respect and admiration for Skelton, whose career spanned five decades. With a final wave to the adoring crowd, the Olympic gold medal winning duo exited the arena to start their well-deserved retirement.

The pinnacle of Royal Windsor Horse Show, the much-anticipated Rolex Grand Prix, did not fail to disappoint. With 30 World class riders lining up to win over £254,000, the competition was hot, and Bob Ellis’ 1.60m course reflected the high standard. Four-time European gold medalist, Michael Whitaker was the first to jump clear aboard JB’s Hot Stuff, with whom he won the Antwerp Grand Prix last month. He was in good company as the likes of World No. 1 Kent Farrington, last night’s winner Jessica Springsteen and Olympic gold medalists Scott Brash, Laura Kraut and Eric Lamaze followed suit.

The jump-off had the packed crowds on the edge of their seats as 12 riders came forward to compete for the £63,000 first prize. When Britain’s Guy Williams came in to the famous Castle Arena as second to go, jumping clear in a time of 43.45, it looked like his time would be hard to catch; however, with the best riders in the world to come nothing was certain.

Jessica Springsteen rode a fantastic round, taking a flyer to the up-to-height Bahrain oxer in front of the Members Enclosure to make up valuable time and momentarily took the lead; however, with Kent Farrington next into the arena, her lead did not last long. The defending champion made the tightest of turns to the tricky Tower Bridge water tray and pushed on throughout to knock over three seconds off the previous leader’s time and lay down the gauntlet to his competitors.

World No. 4 Eric Lamaze flew round; however, he took one too many risks and paid the price finishing with four faults, albeit in the fastest time of the day. Home favourite Scott Brash, riding his talented mare Ursula XII, put up a good challenge much to the crowd’s delight, to finish in third, and Lorenzo de Luca and Halifax van het Kluizebos secured second as last to go, but it was only Kent who managed to break the elusive 40 second barrier, proving why he’s the best in the world.

Speaking at the Rolex Grand Prix press conference, Kent said, “I was really thrilled with my horse; he is just stepping up to this level and he was unbelievable. I couldn’t have asked for more. This is one of my favourite shows and I’m not just saying that because I won here today. There’s a combination of an amazing setting, an unbelievable crowd, top course designing and great footing. That is the best of the best, and now with Rolex stepping up and making this a 5* event, it’s on par with the best in the world.”

Kent went on to discuss the impending retirement of childhood hero Nick Skelton and his double Olympic gold medal winning partner Big Star. “I have always looked up to him my whole career and getting to ride with him at high level has been unbelievable… Our sport is about that great connection with a horse and Nick and that horse [Big Star] became a real team; they had a tremendous comradery, they know each other so well and that showed at the Olympics at the highest level of the sport, with them being able to deliver on the big day.”

Earlier in the day, the Palm Speed Stakes saw competitors jumping one round against the clock for a total prize fund of £23,300.

The twelve-fence course proved tricky, with a double of verticals down the last line catching many of the riders out. The first clear came from Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer, who jumped a deceptively quick round to set the pace for those that followed. The always competitive Schwizer, riding Leonard de la Ferme CH, posted a time of 61.47 seconds, which proved hard to match.

Several riders came close, including Tiffany Foster with the eleven-year-old gelding Brighton and Laura Kraut with Whitney, already winners in the Castle Arena this week; however, their rounds were only good enough for third and fourth positions respectively. However, it was Billy Twomey, towards the end of the draw, who managed to clinch victory aboard Sue Davies’ grey gelding Tin Tin, shaving 0.65 seconds off Schwizer’s time. The Irishman took advantage of Tin Tin’s big stride to make up time between fences and made all the turns required to top the leader board.

“I’m absolutely delighted,” said Billy after the class. “The horses had to be really careful out there today, but the course worked in our favour as I was able to miss out a few strides here and there!” The Cheshire-based rider continued, “It’s great to be competing at 5* level here at Windsor; it’s a great show and it’s nice to be on home soil with the family around, as we’re abroad so often.”

Boyd Exell scored his eighth win in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix, having taken his first title in 2004. After a good win in the dressage phase with his team of four mixed Dutch and Swedish-bred horses, the reigning World Champion from Australia drove a steady round, mindful of a young horse in the wheel competing in his first marathon. Second in this phase, by less than one penalty point to his pupil Edouard Simonet from Belgium, he nevertheless retained the top slot overall.

A long technical cones course set by Johan Jacobs from the Netherlands, that was challenging yet fair in the final phase, saw few drivers manage double clear rounds. Exell was one to have a cone down, but he secured the title 13-penalty points ahead of his closest challenger. Simonet, driving a team of impressive Arab cross Friesian black horses, moved up from third into second place in the final ratings, while Koos de Ronde from the Netherlands, seldom out of the top scoring teams, finished third.

Horse Pairs found the cones course no less of a test, and again, fortunes behind the leader changed. Germany’s Lars Schwitte led through the first two phases, even though he scored fourth place in the marathon, and with just one cone down in the final phase, he retained his overall first place. A driver who pursues the sport purely for pleasure – he manages his own construction company – and who was competing for the first time here, he was understandably delighted with his result. Behind him Michael Sellier from France, competing for the first time at Royal Windsor, moved up to second place from third, while Gerald Rossler from Austria jumped two places to clinch third.

There were numerous changes in the final standings in the Pony Four-In-Hands section. Jacqueline Walter from Germany had squeezed into first place after the marathon by the narrowest of margins, but the overall win went to the only competitor to post a double clear in the cones, Tinne Bax from Belgium. Bax has competed at Royal Windsor for the last half a dozen years, but this is her first win. Her smile showed just how pleased she was. Walter, smiling equally as broadly, pronounced herself completely satisfied to have come second at her third time competing here – she has improved her position each time – while six times Royal Windsor winner, Jan de Boer from the Netherlands, dropped to third place.

In a team competition among Horse Fours competitors – the Netherlands took first place with Ijsbrand Chardon, Theo Timmerman and Koos de Ronde. Belgium was second with Edouard Simonet, Dries Degrieck and Glen Geerts, and Germany third with Georg von Stein, Mareike Harm and Rainer Duen.

Fourteen high-class contenders of all sizes and types, from an 18hh heavyweight hunter, down to a diminutive Dartmoor lead-reign, entered the Castle Arena for the judging of the Royal Windsor Supreme Ridden Showing Championship sponsored by Dodson & Horrell.

Judged by Olympic Dressage supremo, Richard Davison, and international Show Jumper, William Funnell, tension mounted as competitors entered the arena for the last time, with some horses clearly over-awed by the building atmosphere.

It was HM The Queen’s homebred former racehorse Barbers Shop, ridden by Katie Jerram-Hunnable, who took home the prestigious title, the first Supreme Champion to be crowned at Royal Windsor since 2002. Jerram-Hunnable said, “This is his last year at Royal Windsor Horse Show, so to do this today is just fantastic.”

Annabelle Jewks’ Diamonds Are Forever, ridden by Allister Hood to be crowned Champion Riding Horse earlier in the week, followed close in second to take the Reserve Champion title.

Elsewhere, the Final of the DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games saw victory go to the young England team, with the Shetland Pony Grand National sponsored by Sandra and Martin Wood was won by Harry Barker, the grandson of legendary commentator Mike Tucker.

Gayle Telford
Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 (0)207 592 1207