After a year off from the British Nationals last year, it was good to be back again and this time with an in-hand exhibit rather than a ridden. This move over to the ‘other side’ is something new to me and an exciting challenge.
The British National Show boasts six rings of Arabians, part-breds and Anglo Arabians competing in show jumping, dressage, in-hand and ridden showing classes across three days. There is even a dog show for those canine companions to strut their stuff on the Thursday night.
Those dramatic Malvern Hills as the backdrop to the British Nationals is just idyllic. As you cruise in along that iconic drive, it’s hard not to take a sharp breath and soak up the atmosphere, the anticipation, buzz and excitement that fills the showground.
The Malvern Showground. Credit Sweet Photography.
This year’s Nationals were tinged with tragedy though, with the shocking and sudden passing of Ryan Bryn Jones on the Friday night. The show was rocked to the core when news spread, and the Show Organisers took the decision to cancel the Saturday classes as a mark of respect. It is hard to write of successes at the show with this dark cloud hanging over it. However, good times must still be remembered and shared from what, as it turns out, was the last time that the show was held at The Three Counties Showground at Malvern.
A heatwave had begun in earnest in the days preceding the show, and the Thursday saw temperatures soar to a massive 38˚C. Competitors, officials, judges, stewards and grooms worked tirelessly to keep themselves and the horses hydrated and as comfortable as possible. The ridden exhibitors and judges were feeling the effects more than most; sensibly they were invited to remove their jackets during the classes to prevent over-heating.
The main in-hand collecting ring was an oasis of calm with exhibitors hiding in the shade of the trees and buckets of water continually being filled and re-filled. There was no bagging and winding up of horses, as their welfare was of paramount importance. Had the weather not been so hot, I imagine a firm line on this would still have been taken as I have seen a dramatic decline in the use of wind-ups in collecting rings over the short few years that I have been involved in Arabian showing. On a recent trip to the Menton Arabian Show in the South of France, I noticed the ‘no bagging’ rule was enforced strictly, with bags on whips being cut off and horses threatened with being disqualified should their connections create any excessive outside interference.
No one felt the effects of the heat at Malvern more so than the Scottish exhibitors, who were certainly not accustomed to such extreme temperatures. Again, as in previous years, there was a small Scottish contingent representing and very well they did too.
The Friday of the show was slightly less hot, but still scorching sunshine saw spectators and exhibitors alike struggling in the heat. The six rings ran like clockwork, and in an attempt to keep horses out of the sun, classes were judged as quickly as possible and adjustments were made to ensure the welfare of exhibitors.
After two days of fun in the sun, the Friday night was party night where people congregated to celebrate success, share drinks, laughter and make new acquaintances. There was a bucking bull providing lots of thrills and spills as ‘riders’ tried their hardest to stay on board as the rodeo bull tried its hardest to remove them! It’s such a nice atmosphere, everyone is so friendly and welcoming to newcomers, advice is shared, and friends are made. I would encourage anyone who has an Arabian, part-bred or Anglo Arabian to come along to the show in the future and join the Arabian family.
Early on the Saturday morning, news spread of the cancellation of the rest of the show and a cloud hung over the showground, both literally and metaphorically. The skies were dark, and rain poured down. There was a definite hush, sadness and sense of loss as people went about seeing to their precious horses in quiet reflection while preparing to leave.
Writing this show report, my thoughts are with Ryan’s family and friends who have suffered the untimely loss of a great man so early in his life. The Greatest Showman will never be forgotten. He was a true legend and his legacy will live on now with the inception of the Ryan Bryn Jones Memorial. He will be honoured with trophies in his name and the Young Handler Incentive Award, a special award to be presented to the young trainer/handler who has accumulated the most points during the show season and will be awarded at the UK International Show. This is a fitting tribute to a truly great man.
Thanks must also go to the AHS Organising Committee, judges, stewards and helpers for their hard work, dedication and commitment running a show in such difficult and ultimately tragic circumstances.
The Scottish results are as follows:
Sarah & Alyson King – Al Messiah
(2019) S. AH Walmir D. SJ Saffron
Bred by Miss A Stratton & Mrs H Stratton
7th purebred yearling colts
Leann Spacey – PRAVDA OS
(2006) S. Argus (PL) D. Fayla (PL)
Bred by Mrs Jane Fraser-Brown MBE
1st & 3rd 65cm – novice show jumping
7th senior novice ridden geldings, four years old and over
7th Ridden Arabian Star Series qualifier stallions and geldings, four years old and over
Joyce Robertson – ALIHANDRIA
(2018) S. EKS Alihandro (ZA) D. Mia Bint Adala
Exhibited and bred by Mrs Joyce Robertson
2nd senior purebred yearling fillies
Reserve British National Champion Yearling Filly
ALIHANDRIA. Credit 1st Class Photography.
Michaela Brand – HADIAT QAYIMA
(2017) S. Vivegas D. Psynammon
Bred by Mrs Joyce Robertson
2nd purebred geldings, two years old
Reserve Reserve British National Champion Junior Gelding
Leigh Ann Mitchell – RIOSCOCIA CAS
(2011) S. Monescocia D. Judals Little Kiss
Bred by Mr & Mrs Mitchell
Ridden by Mrs Clare Fitch
1st senior pure novice ridden geldings, four years old and over
1st pure novice ridden geldings, four years old and over
Ridden Pure Novice Reserve Champion
3rd senior novice ridden geldings, four years old and over
RIOSCOCIA CAS. Credit Leigh Ann Mitchell Photography.
Laura & David McWhinnie – CAMEG ARUBAH
(2017) S. Master Design GA (US) D. AV Bayonsay
Bred by Mrs S McArthur
2nd amateur handled purebred one-to-three-year old colt, filly or gelding
7th purebred colts, two-years old
Andrew McArthur – COTSWOLDS KAPPELLA
(2017) S. Balero D. Kiera BFA (US)
Bred by Ms Linda Hughes
3rd senior purebred fillies, two-years old
Susan McArthur – CAMEG NYVADAH
(2018) S. Om El Bahreyn (US) D. Cameg Parisa
Bred by Mrs S McArthur
1st Diamond Auction 2015, yearling fillies born in 2018
Megan McArthur – MAGIC MUHSHRM
(2016) S. SMA Magic One (BE) D. Magnolia Apal (BE)
Bred by Mr Mohammed Abdullah Al Subaie
3rd purebred geldings, three-years old
Kerry MacDougall – LEDARB PHOENIX
c. (2017) S. Phidias D. Ledarb Sharacz
Bred by Miss Kerry Jane Macdougall
3rd Crabbet youngstock class, colts, fillies and geldings, one-to-three-years old
Jacqueline Hall – GOLDEN DAYAHLA
(2017) S. Master Design GA (US) D. Bey Dahla
4th junior purebred fillies, two-years old
Jackie Givens & Danna Gowans – AV MAMBO
(2017) S. Macho Des Alpes D. AV Dancing Rain
Bred by Ms C Reid
5th purebred geldings, two-years old
Jackie Givens & Danna Gowans – YANNY
(2015) S. Master Design GA (US) D. Yannah (NL)
Bred by Mr & Mrs E J Jones
3rd junior purebred geldings, four-to-six-years old
Elaine Brown – HT ORIOLE
gr. c. (2009) S. Shaikh Al Kuran (US) D. HT Orillia
Bred by Mr & Mrs E H Woodward
3rd Egyptian related, four years old and over
7th Amateur handled, four years old and over
7th Golden Oldies in-hand purebred, Anglo and part-bred – handler and horse to have a combined age of over 60 years
Full show results can be found at www.ahsshowsandevents.com