American Julie Welles overcame a rainstorm of tropical proportions and a testing course to claim an impressive victory at the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show on Saturday.
And there was a connection with reigning Olympic showjumping champion – British star Nick Skelton – as Julie won the two-star grand prix, sponsored by Boodles.
Julie is based at Nick’s Warwickshire facility, riding his partner Laura Kraut’s superb 14-year-old mare Nouvelle.
“Laura has kind of let me show her and get her back going again, so having her helping with the horse has been so nice,” Julie said.
“She is a very experienced horse. She has done Nations Cups and some of the biggest grands prix.
“It’s nice to be able to ride horses like that. They know what they are doing – you just have to point and shoot. This was my third 1.45-metre class with her.
A 15-minute deluge caused the class to be temporarily halted, before 17 combinations came back for round two and Julie delivered a second successive clear round, with her second round being completed in 39.40 seconds.
Britain’s Will Edwards also kept all the fences up on Show Candies B to take second place in 39.66 seconds, with Ireland’s Max O’Reilly Hyland finishing third aboard Ahmed du Calvaire and Harry Wainwright fourth on Pinheiro Beech.
“It was a really long class, with the rain putting a pause in it, but you just get on with it,” Julie added.
“There is always a bit of pressure going into a second round, I think. You want to repeat what you did in the first round, only go a bit faster.
“I came here the first time when Bolesworth was a national show way back when, and I can’t believe how much it has evolved.
“It’s amazing what it has turned into. I never thought riding around on those two grass fields all those years ago that it would be like it is now.”