Sue claims double with Banana Split

Sue Vincent, bedecked in ribbons, stood proudly in the grand ring at the Wayland Show last weekend to receive her award as the 2011 Equine Champion, which was sponsored by EQ Life Magazine.

Riding glistening golden palomino stallion Ranchwood Banana Split, Sue claimed the in hand championship after clinching the Pre Veteran in hand class. The unstoppable partnership then won the ridden Championship, setting them in good stead for overall equine champion.

Sue says: 'There was some very strong competition in the Ridden Championship but he went really nicely. I've learnt to get him to flick his toes out in trot and really stride on, and that, along with the sunlight shining on his coat, really catches the judge's eye.'

Ranchwood Banana Split was on top form all day, not least under scrutiny in the main ring: 'When we stood in the Grand Ring with all those other animals he was brilliant – he's not usually a great lover of cattle but as it turned out he was really good.'

Sue is fairly new to showing, having mainly been a showjumper, but is finding the experience very rewarding: 'The judges and fellow competitors have generously shared their experience, everyone is so helpful,' she said.

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At the final furlong Ranchwood Banana Split was pipped at the post for Wayland Show Champion of Champions by D C Wharton's Limousin cow, but Sue was still pleased: 'I found it quite funny that at the end I was being judged against cows, sheep, a hare and a duck!'

Throughout the day entries were good, with many attracted by the chance to qualify for Equifest and Royal London. The Tattersalls and Retraining of Racehorses Thoroughbred Ridden Show horse class was particularly well supported, with many ex-racehorses turned out to perfection. Julia Seabrook and her chestnut mare Lily won the class with style, picking up her qualification for Equifest next week. Julia works for Volkswagen dealership Cooks of Fakenham and bought Lily straight off the track four years ago.

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'She was a nutter and I basically had to just hack her for two years to calm her down, but she's quiet now,' explained Julia, who also competes in affiliated dressage. The pair put in a lovely performance to win the class and qualify for the final, which takes place at Hickstead next year.

Show organiser Adrian Soskin was pleased with the show, saying: 'Everything went well and entries were well up on last year indicating that the Wayland Show is really coming of age although I was slightly disappointed with the low entries in the Working Hunter classes as the course was unique and jumped beautifully. All in all, the entries were of a very high standard and for one horse to win both the in hand and ridden Championships is a great achievement.'

Last year's winner, Blackmoor Mac Rua, a towering chestnut Irish Draft owned by local rider Becky Chapman, sadly passed away suddenly from colic just before he had a chance to contest the Championship again.

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