An Exciting Finish for Team Murka
An exciting finish saw Emily Ward riding Witch, owned by Michael Whitaker, clinch the jointly sponsored Team Murka and World Class Development U23 Championship Final at the London International Horse Show Olympia, on Friday 21st December 2012.
Twenty three riders came forward to jump in the first round over a course built by Olympic course builder Bob Ellis; it produced thirteen clear rounds to go forwards to the jump off.
Two World Class Development riders, Joe Clayton and Abbie Squires set the pace in the jump-off, Joe riding Mr Darcy, owned by Michael Whitaker, jumped a clear round in 41.30 seconds. This proved hard to beat until Abbie riding Vilka B, owned by Helen West, shaved off over two seconds to go clear and into the lead in a time of 39.10 seconds.
Emily Ward, at the tender age of 13 years old was the youngest in the class, followed Abbie and while taking the longer, smoother route used Witch’s speed across the ground to brilliant effect and won in a time of 38.69 seconds - clinching the first prize of £5,100.
On winning the prestigious U23 Championship class, Emily commentated, “I was very shocked but also excited to win, my horse tried her heart out and we have a very good relationship, she will now have a rest over the Christmas holidays, before tackling some big competitions next year and I would definitely like to come back and defend my U23 Championship title”.
Sally Hopkinson riding Theunis jumped clear in a slower time of 47.64 seconds to finish 4th, Jessica Mendoza riding Classic Highfly the fastest 4 faults to finish 5th in a time of 39.6 seconds, with Louise Saywell with Winner IV in 6th place. World Class Development riders, Joe Davison riding Jericho and George Whitaker riding Wasselton, owned by Elizabeth Fredlund, finished in 7th and 8th places respectively.
Rob Hoekstra, World Class Showjumping Performance Manager said, “It was an unbelievably good class and the standard since Team Murka has taken over the sponsorship has enabled the competition to develop further. The final was full of top quality young riders and what an exciting finish”.
As well as carrying a prize fund of £15,300 plus training vouchers to the value of £2,900 down to the eighth placed rider, the Championship Final also awarded a Style Prize that was judged in the first round of the competition by International show jumpers Peter Charles and Marc Hautzager who said that the winner, Louise Saywell, a World Class Development rider, showed a very high standard of riding and rode way beyond her years and gave a polished performance.
Louise received a voucher to the value of £1,500 towards the purchase of a saddle, for use in conjunction with the World Class Programme Master Saddler and the Pliance System.
Olga White, Team Murka co-founder commentated, “I thought there was an incredible improvement from last year and it is obvious that the next generation are getting ready for the Olympic Games in 2020”.
Team Murka’s three-year sponsorship of the Under 23 Championship Series and Final at Olympia, which concluded at this year’s Championship Final, has provided a showcase for the very best under-23 show jumping talent to shine and develop.