LEO Lamb and his mother Carron Nicole’s eye-catching, super-consistent Gmail landed the UNIBED – High Performance Equine Bedding Winter Grades B and C qualifier at Hartpury University’s Winter Classic in Gloucestershire.
The Stratford-upon-Avon rider secured qualification for the prestigious Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead in Sussex following an excellent ride on seven-year-old Gmail in the jump-off.
Lamb, aged 23, secured top spot by 0.24 seconds despite going first in the jump-off with 12 other riders and horses unable to better his time.
Lamb said: “I went a bit faster than I should have done; I knew I’d won as we galloped through the finish even though I was first to go in the jump-off.
“Going first, I knew I would have to do something special as only two qualify for Hickstead but I hadn’t intended to go that fast.
“I certainly took a few strides out to the last fence but he loves going fast and the more you dare him, the higher he goes.
“My Mum couldn’t believe I went that fast – ‘If anyone beats that, I’ll eat my hat,’ she said – luckily, they didn’t.”
Some 27 riders took on the 12-fence course standing at 1.35 metres tall with 13 advancing to a jump-off against the clock where Lamb and Gmail triumphed to claim two rides.
Gmail, bought by Carron in Belgium as a youngster, joined Lamb’s string of horses just under two years ago and qualified for three Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) finals last summer.
Lamb added: “He’s had a two-month break since HOYS and this was only his second show back.
“He popped around a small 1.20m class and finished second in a 1.35m at his first show and I jumped him over 1.20m as a warm-up for the B and C.
“He does love to have a little buck when he’s feeling well, the more he jumps the better he behaves.”