CHAMPION HORSEMAN MISSES THE BEIB
£20,000 FESTIVAL CHALLENGE PRIZE BY A POLE
17 year old Robert Whitaker, having won both the Gentleman's Championship and the 1.40m Grand Prix at the Festival of Showjumping at Arena UK, was all set to take the BEIB (British Equestrian Insurance Brokers) £20,000 Festival Challenge prize if he could win the final element - the Champion Horseman competition - with a clear round on all four horses.
Seemingly a tall order, Robert set about the task. The four riders that came through to the Champion Horseman were Lucy Scullion with It's Cool; Tim Stockdale and Traxdata Lift Off II; Robert Whitaker with Qualisca and Jackson Reed-Stephenson with Baileys Pion.
Throughout the Champion Horseman competition tension built as Robert proceeded to jump clear on his and his rivals' horses, until his last ride, Traxdata Lift Off II, rolled a pole at the third fence and the BEIB Festival Challenge was over.
A jump off then followed between Tim, Robert and Jackson, all on 4 faults, to determine the Champion Horseman. Robert duly produced a clear round in the fastest time to emerge the victor.
BEIB director, Simon Mackaness said, "This is the inaugural year of this Challenge at the Festival of Showjumping. Although such feats are intended to be realistically achievable, we did not anticipate such a nail-biting finish. We should really know better than to underestimate a Whitaker!"