It’s been three years since horses graced the park at Bramham, but today’s CCI4*-L grand finale was worth the wait. Clear rounds were at a premium in the Top Arena today, which meant some considerable climbs up the leaderboard for a top-10 finish and a share of the prize fund.

The 2022 title was claimed by Izzy Taylor and her 2021 European Championship top-10 partner Monkeying Around, owned by Mark Sartori and Izzy herself. A second-place position in the dressage was bettered yesterday thanks to a clear round over Ian Stark’s cross-country test, with just 1.2 time penalties to leave them on a score of 25.2.

The duo cantered into the ring knowing they could afford some time faults, but had to leave up the fences in front of a bumper Sunday Bramham crowd. ‘Monkey’ didn’t make it easy for his rider, who’s claimed the Bramham short format title twice before with back-to- back wins in 2018 and 2007. Oxfordshire-based Izzy had to use every bit of her experience, but the fences stayed in place – albeit with a few nervy taps around the course. The final treble had the crowd on the edge of their seats – part A cleared, part B a rattle and part C a proper knock, which could have dislodged the pole but it hopped out of the cup and straight back down in its proper place. She was clear! The time allowed was exceed, but only by 1.2 faults, which gave her the win on a final score of 26.4 and a third Bramham accolade.

An elated Izzy said; “He felt like I was going to do as much work as him, maybe. I think, with the wall blowing down and I waited, and I waited, and I waited – I thought, they’ll be done by now, and normally I go into a ring and off we go, but I went in and we had a little trot round, then a canter round, then off we went. It was fine, he was a bit spooky and a bit ‘oh, are we doing this now?’. Yes, we are doing this now! But yes, he was good.

“I knew I had a few time – it’s always nice to know what you’ve got and, with the way he was, I needed use them, but, I’m just thrilled with him. He won his four-star at Burnham Market, then to come here, which is a whole different competition in many respects, just shows that he’s a proper horse, a real one. I’m really, really thrilled for everyone who’s involved with him – there’s a lot of work behind them all, as we all know, so I’m delighted,” she beamed.

Ros Canter made it a weekend to remember, with runners-up position added to her win yesterday in the Land Rover CCI4*-S. Riding Annie Makin and Kate James’ Pencos Crown Jewel, she retained her second place with an immaculate performance to finish on their dressage score of 28.0 – the only combination of the 62 starters to do so. This came despite the wind catching the wall fence in the ring, levelling it to the ground, but fortunately after they’d cleared it. Ros also finished eighth on Christopher and Jane Makin’s Rehy Royal Diamond.

“I did see the wall fall down, and it’s Jasmine’s [Pencos Crown Jewel] worst nightmare for that to happen. She’s not a huge fan of people or poles – when we broke her in, she was terrified of poles, so we have to be quite careful in the warm-up that things aren’t happening near her when she jumps so, yeah, that’s her worst nightmare – but, bless her, she just carried on, didn’t she. She’s a little warrior, she just keeps on fighting. She was brilliant,” Ros explained.

“She’s been on fab form this year. I always think of her as a little horse, but she’s just pulled it out the bag in every phase. I think, this year in particular, our relationship is stronger than ever. I think, with a mare, that’s really important and she’s just been on great form. I’ve learned that she doesn’t really like going on the bit, so why do it very often? I think I’ve potentially tried to overtrain her and make her something she isn’t, and actually today we just bombed around like I would on a pony and had a bit of fun, and she went in there and loved it, so that’s definitely the way with her.

“She’s an absolutely fantastic horse and when you look at her record over the years, it’s phenomenal. It really is. But because she’s always had that one horse that’s gone to the championships, or something like that, nobody’s really recognised her, but she’s been my second string for a long time, so it’s really great for her to get this result – and for her owners, too,” she went on to say.

A clear round secured Kirsty Chabert a podium place with her own and the Daisy Chain’s Opposition Loire, bred by her father John. The combination have been in touch throughout the week, putting pressure on the podium, and secured their best ever four-star finish together. Kirsty had a tricky decision, which proved the right one – head to Bramham, her favourite event, or chance a trip to Luhmühlen. Fortunately, a trip to Yorkshire won over.

“She was absolutely mega. I have no words, I don’t know what to say,” said a very excited Kirsty. “She was really fresh, effectively napped into the arena to get going – you go with it, though, because she’s a phenomenal jumper. She always had been on the last day – she can have a pole through exuberance in the short format – but I cannot fault her today.

“I don’t know [what to do with her now], we’ll see. She’ll have a few quiet weeks and we’ll toy with the idea of Burghley, but she’s a good horse – maybe she doesn’t need to do another excursion event this year, we’ll see,” she added.

Fourth and fifth placings brought a touch of the international to the top placings, with day one dressage leaders Tom Carlile and Darmagnac de Beliard of France ending the competition just off the podium with an unfortunate showjump down. Fifth spot went to Ireland’s Susie Berry and Ringwood LB, adding to the HiHo Silver prize for the best dressed female that Susie had claimed earlier in the day. A single pole down was enough to raise them up from tenth.

Kristina Hall-Jackson stopped the timing beam two seconds over to mar an otherwise perfect round with CMS Google for sixth. The duo finished 42nd after dressage on 35.9, but never lost hope of climbing the placings with a great round yesterday in the park for just 2.8 time penalties.

Three riders who started the day back in 22nd, 21st and 20th positions – Tiana Coudray for the USA with Cancaras Girl, Ros Canter riding Rehy Royal Diamond and Oliver Towned and As Is – jumped clears to promote them to ninth eighth and seventh in the final order. James Avery completed the top 10 for New Zealand riding One of a Kind II.

And so the sun sets on another Bramham – and what a competition it’s been. A few years away haven’t dulled the shine on this premiere fixture in the northern eventing calendar and, while there was heartbreak mixed into the exhilaration of yesterday’s cross-country, today has been a classic Bramham finale. Over the course of the past four days, familiar faces and new talent have proved their worth on the Yorkshire hills, spectators have been treated to top-class equestrian sport, and the sun has shone throughout – it’s great to be back!

We look forward to seeing you again next year.

Final results – click here