Johnathan Bowman, local show jumper and trainer based in Leigh, Wiltshire proved to be an unstoppable force at the Welsh Masters Show jumping competition, held at David Broom MBE’s competition centre at Crick near Chepstow.
The best of the countries show jumpers compete over four days to take the top honours, on the final days. Each day rider get the opportunity to compete in the qualifier, but only the top 25 get the chance to get into the big prize championship.
Johnathan, who competes regularly both in the UK and abroad rode both his own and horses owned by his supportive owners.
Thursday saw his campaign start well with the evergreen, Marcel des Rosier getting a fifth in the 1.25m qualifier, so securing him his spot in the final on the Sunday. Johnathan has owned Marcel, a French bred chestnut gelding, since a four year old, and has trained him through the ranks. Johnathan also rode the bay seven year old gelding, Amirado who is owned by long term supporter and owner, Steve Valente-Smith, who also rides himself. Amirado who has only joined the team two months ago, having been bought from a European Stud jumped in the 1.20m qualifier, producing a double clear, to secure a third place and his ticket to the final. Friday saw Johnathan jump the chestnut mare, Renkum Little Fee, owned by young rider Millie Hackeborn. The pair jumped double clear in the 1.15m, and having being drawn to jump eighth out of over sixth starters the pair led the timed section until the last two riders, but secured a third place and another ticket for the championship, though it was decided not to jump the mare in the championship by the owners, being new at this level. Amirado jumped again on the Friday, more for experience in what is a highly charged atmosphere, and again produced a faultless round and fourth place.
With the weekend bringing the best of the best together, for the final round, it was Amirado’s opportunity to shine. Having drawn nearly last to ride, Johnathan was close to being in pole position, knowing what the performance of the field was, and what had to be done. The course was set to the maximum heights and widths, and for a young horse a big task. Amirado was a total professional, he flew round the course, and took on the large planks fence at number three at a gallop, and from there pretty much galloped round the whole course, clearing every fence, in a time two seconds faster than the rest of the field. Amirado was crowned the 1.20m NAF Champion, much to the delight of his owner, and the sponsor of the class NAF, as Johnathan is one of their supported riders.
Sunday saw a fairy tale end to the weekend, with a win for Johnathan and Marcel. Ten years ago, Marcel won the six year old championship, at the same venue and the same championship show. This championship class saw the roles reversed, with Johnathan being drawn the first to jump from the fifty starters. The pair set the pace, a quick time with some tight turns, but most importantly, a clear round. For 49 horses, Johnathan could only look on and watch as the other finalists tried to beat his time, watching them all fail, until the last rider when it looked like the fairy tale win might not happen. The last rider, rode his luck throughout the course and ended up one second faster than Johnathan, but had a fence down, resulting in a win for this fantastic horse. For a horse, now sixteen years old to still be on top of his game, and in the top ranks is a credit to Johnathan and how he has looked after and trained the horse to remain in such good health. Johnathan was presented his awards by David Broom MBE, and before taking to centre stage to give their lap of honour, Johnathan’s mum, Sue was invited for a photo opportunity with them all, a proud moment for any mother.
Johnathan is supported by NAF, the UK’s largest manufacturer of horse nutritional products, Woof Wear, a manufacturer of equine leg protectors, Champion riding hats and Toggi riding wear. Johnathan is fortunate to have some supportive owners of premium horses, but there is the opportunity to become involved with Team Bowman either as an owner or part owner. For more see www.jbshowjumptraining.com