Posted on 11th July 2023

A Day to Remember at Hickstead RoR Championships

We are absolutely thrilled with the performance of Steel Blue, or Bluebell as he is affectionately known, and Level 2 Doncaster Equine College learner, Libby Cruttwell, who did a superb job representing the College in The Tattersalls Retraining of Racehorse Amateur Ridden Show Series Final, Flat, last Sunday at the Hickstead Derby Meeting.

The achievement is all the more remarkable when you appreciate that, until two weeks ago, 23-year-old Bluebell had not so much as spent a night away from the College in 13 years. The journey to The All England Jumping Course is a not-insignificant 450-mile round trip.

Despite traveling south the day before to allow Bluebell time to settle and acclimatise to his new surroundings, he was still excited by the huge atmosphere. In contrast, Libby did a sterling job holding her nerve which in turn allowed her to produce a beautiful show in a strong class of 12 seasoned competitors. The Ride Judge enjoyed a beautiful gallop up Hickstead Hill.

The commentator gave a lovely analysis throughout Bluebell’s show, commenting on his illustrious racing career which included 106 starts and 11 wins all over sprint distances. Incidentally, Bluebell was the oldest competitor, and Libby, at 16 years of age, was the youngster competitor.

Upon exiting the ring, Libby was quick to praise the team effort which had resulted in Bluebell performing at his very best, “Thank you so much to everyone for coming to support and for all of the sponsorship money raised. Thank you to [lecturers] Rachael and Amanda for helping me throughout this absolutely amazing experience.”

Taking up the story, Rachael Proudley, Lead Equine Lecturer said, “Everyone was in tears watching Bluebell storm up the Hickstead Hill with his ears pricked for the Ride Judge. Libby really did us proud in a class of much more seasoned campaigners. It’s been a whirlwind to create this opportunity within the three-week timeframe we have had since qualifying at the DEC Annual Show. We have all had a fantastic experience, and for Libby, many amazing life-long memories have been made.”

Amanda Butler, the Level 2 instructor for the 2022/2023 class commented “Taking Libby and Bluebell to Hickstead was truly a fulfilling and overwhelming weekend from start to finish. The students were impeccable and were fantastic representing the college. Libby although the youngest and probably the least experienced in the class, rode exceptionally well. A fabulous achievement and we are all so very proud.”

The six learners who accompanied Bluebell and Libby, Alia, Alisha, Macy, Emily, Lucy, and Sol, were also quick to praise, with Level 3 learner and photographer, Sol commenting, “You couldn’t have asked any more of Bluebell, he was impeccably behaved, and he enjoyed himself, especially the gallop. Well done, Libby.” Following Bluebell’s class, all of the learners got to enjoy the beautiful weather on the day, whilst watching some of the show jumping before the long drive back to Doncaster.


What. A. Day. Lots of memories made, happy tears shed and proper, belly-busting, Yorkshire laughter filled the air. Bluebell and Libby came before the Judge, however, none of it would have been possible without the support, dedication, commitment, and care, day-in-day-out, from the home team. A massive Thank you to everyone who has supported this experience and well done to Libby and Bluebell! The perfect end to the 2022/23 academic year.

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