A qualifier for the Horse of the Year Show & two more Foxhunter wins plus the emergence of the young

On Friday 5th August, LOUGHNATOUSA RAVEN brought lumps to the Team members’ throats when she won the second jump-off against the clock in the Horse&Hound 2nd Round Foxhunter at Pyecombe, near Brighton in Sussex . 2nd Round Foxhunter starts off big and gets bigger at each jump-off. Only five made it through to the second and final jump-off with the top two to qualify for the Horse of the Year Show Foxhunter Final and RAVEN went in third, the first to jump having gone clear in a good time.

After discussing the chances of qualification before going in, rider John Crippen had to use his judgement as to whether to try to play safe or really test the mare and she gave him just the right feel to do the latter. After clearing the first three fences immaculately, John asked the big question and RAVEN answered with a tight turn into the very big fourth fence which she cleared with ease, going on to complete a fluently professional round in the quickest time. The remaining competitors jumped well but each had a fence down in the attempt to catch the two leaders. John and RAVEN won outright and were through to one of the most prestigious finals after a great Team effort of selection, conditioning, training, specific coaching and a brilliant performance on the day. This mare has the scope to reach the very top and to make progress such as this so quickly takes time to sink in.

Two days later, at the Bicester & Finmere Show, LOUGHNATOUSA DIAMOND stood up to be counted in an attempt to follow RAVEN to the Horse of the Year Show, this time in the Newcomers category for which he was qualified to try. John did well to get DIAMOND round clear in the first round, when immaturity nearly got the better of the horse, but the bigger first jump-off was looking excellent when a pole was touched and rolled off thus ending the effort. It was particularly disappointing because he was otherwise immaculate and, being a horse that responds best to be ridden strongly against the clock, would surely have been favoured in the second jump-off. But those merits meant that the day was not lost for DIAMOND. Earlier, he had competed in the Foxhunter as a warm-up over bigger fences, two phase with the second against the clock – and won it!

Later in the day, SCHOLARSHIP having warmed up over the little British Novicecourse took his exciting bow in Senior Discovery finishing 2nd in a field of, seemingly, hundreds. In a remarkably fluent round, SCHOLARSHIP gave John Crippen a smooth ride and without having to risk the composure and confidence that is all-important to instil, went clear and second quickest. Newcomers classes and a new level of tests now beckon for an inexperienced horse brimming with talent.