Forgeland Hyde Park (Will) was crowned Royal Windsor hack champion for the second consecutive year, this time under Cheshire-based producer Danielle Heath.
Will, an 11-year-old by Kilvington Scoundrel owned by Guy and Issy Mears, headed the large hacks before taking to the Castle Arena with Danielle, who kept a level head despite feeling the pressure about trying to reclaim the title with the prolific horse.
Danielle started producing Will in August 2021 and he joined Team Heath after being based with Robert Walker. He concluded last season by lifting both hack and intermediate show riding type of the year titles at the NEC.
“He was champion here last year, so I knew I had to follow that,” said Danielle, for whom this was a first Windsor hack championship win. “As soon as I got into the ring he took the pressure away from me, as he’s just such a showman.”
The large hacks weren’t pulled into an initial line up during the class, so Danielle took it upon herself to place Will down the line. She rode a flawless show which included both a change of rein and a rein back, ridden one handed.
“I wanted to see what everyone else chose to do in their shows to see what I was up against. Fellow competitor Jo Bates rode a beautiful show one handed and it was at that point I knew I had to pull it out of the bag.
“He gives me that feeling; I know I’m sitting on an absolute star. I’ve only had about three or four horses in my 47 years who gave me the same feeling; these were Oathill Take The Biscuit, Whitakers Prince, Brookdale Limited Edition, who won at Windsor earlier in the day with Issy, and Will.”
This was the first time Danielle has landed the hack honour at Windsor:
“I’ve had a novice hack winner,” she said. “And I’ve done the hunter, riding horse and cob championships, but I was yet to win the hacks. I’ve got the full set now.”
Issy will take the reins on Will in Sunday’s intermediate classes.
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