Patience has paid off for Melanie Phillips, whose slow-maturing gelding, Ruxton Shogun, won four classes in a weekend.
“I felt as if we were on a bit of a loop at novice,” said Melanie, who rode the eight-year-old Showmaker son to elementary qualifier and freestyle wins at Kings EC before dominating the elementary and medium freestyles at Hartpury. “But spending time staying there [at novice] and not pushing him too hard has worked. He has matured so much, both physically and mentally, and he’s coping really well with the environment.
“Our music is a bit of twist on a classical theme, which suits his rhythm,” added Melanie. “It’s all coming together, hopefully”
Occasionally, a horse is worth fighting over — as in the case of Waverley Dante. Greg Sims’ girlfriend, Stena Hoerner, currently has the ride on the precocious five-year-old, who has just scored his sixth consecutive affiliated win.
“I’m doing most of the competition riding, but I’m sure Greg will steal him back at some point,” laughed Stena, who bagged both elementary classes at Coleg Cambria. “Dante is a little pocket rocket and takes everything in his stride. He finds things so easy.”
Greg, who rode for the Eilberg family for six years, bought the Dimaggio son as a foal from the Waverley Stud. The pair headed the four-year-old championship at the nationals last year.
“The minute we saw Dante, we fell in love,” said Stena. “He catches everyone’s eye, especially with his medium trot. You can really ride him for the 10s.”
Melanie Phillips wins four classes with Showmaker-sired Ruxton Shogun in a weekend