Celebrating the Champions is a lovely series found within the pages of The Arabian Breeders’ Magazine. Here we celebrate Authentic, the 2016 Supreme Ridden British National Champion, as printed in September 2016.
The Supreme British National Ridden Champion 2016 was Authentic (The Alchemist x Floure de Luce) ridden by Maria Pook, who also bred the eight-year-old gelding in partnership with Mandy Burr. Authentic is in fact a first cross (50/50) Anglo, but a snag with the mare’s Wetherbys paperwork means he is registered as a part-bred.
Maria has trained ‘Freddie’ from the beginning. As a youngster in-hand, he picked up experience as well as red ribbons at county and regional shows, before being backed. Maria explains: “Freddie has been brought on slowly as he’s taken time to mature and he’s been kept a bit in the shadow of ‘Gordon’’ Perriland Politician (Harroway Mr Harlequin x Morning Magic), my other part-bred. Jackie Burton has worked for Mandy for around 25 years and was interested in Freddie. We agreed to sell him to Jackie. I would keep the show ride and we would both ride at home.
“The part-bred class on Friday was a strong class and I wasn’t sure what the judge would go for. Freddie was totally with me and just took me around. He’s a pretty laid back horse and doesn’t always bother to show himself off, but at Malvern it was like he really wanted it. I was thrilled to be called in top and stay there to win the class. In the main ring he was, again, totally on point and went like a dream to take the Part-bred Championship. We all cried and that alone would have been a great show for us. Little did we know what was to come!”
The judging of the Supreme Ridden Championship was in the main ring on Saturday afternoon. “I wanted to keep Freddie fresh so we didn’t do his in-hand class on Saturday morning,” said Maria. “He only needed twenty minutes work before the Supreme and he felt great. I just thought I’d go in, try hard, and enjoy it, but deep down I expected a pure-bred to take the Supreme.”
Authentic, Supreme British National Champion 2016. Credit Sweet Photography.
The ground was tricky, but their individual show was smooth and precise. With his rocking horse dapples sparkling in the Malvern sunshine, and looking most like his dam, Authentic really is the real deal. One spectator was heard commenting as Maria saluted to close her individual show, “that’s how it’s done!” It was certainly ample to impress every spectator at the rails and the judges found selecting their Supreme Champion an easy task in a unanimous vote for Authentic.
Maria says: “Freddie pulled a fabulous show out of the bag and I thought well, we’ve done our best, what will be, will be. It was a huge and fantastic shock to be called forward as the Supreme Champion. To have bred, backed and trained him makes it even more special.”
All the hours of fittening and schooling has paid off in the ultimate accolade that the Arabian showing world has to offer. A run of championship shows now calls, with the British Arabian Championships and the Cherif Finals in September, before the British Dressage Petplan Area Festival where he qualified, on his debut, at Medium level. After that, Freddie will have a well-earned holiday and all of his connections can then reflect on the season.
If ever it was doubted that the UK values its geldings, or that owner/rider/breeders can rise to the very top, or that Arabian derivatives are the ultimate show horse, Authentic and Maria’s Supreme Championship win will silence them all.