William Funnel closed out the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby with his fourth career win in the iconic event this past Sunday, June the 24th. Once a year, spectators flock to the All England Jumping Course to witness this jaw-dropping event filled with massive fences, multiple ditches, the Devil’s Dyke and the infamous Derby Bank.
Hickstead’s All England Jumping Course was first opened in 1960, but the Derby Bank wasn’t added until 1961 after Hickstead founder, Douglas Bunn, watched a film of the Hamburg Derby and decided to pay the German showground a visit with the hopes of replicating the Hamburg bank at his West Sussex location. Unfortunately, upon his arrival, Douglas found the grounds covered in snow, but he did not let that deter him from his mission. He measured on; however, it appears some of his measurements must have been altered thanks to the snow piles as the bank at Hickstead stands 6″ taller than the one in Hamburg.
The course has remained nearly entirely unchanged since 1961, with many of its fences a permanent part of the layout of the ring. And if the course didn’t look tough enough upon first glance, you should know that there have only been 56 clear rounds total in the past 57 years. The tallest fences on course stand at 5’3″ and the widest fences, including the privet hedge, are 6’6″ in spread.
Needless to say, the Derby is no laughing matter. With some help from the team at Kentucky Performance Products, we’ve rounded up a collection of horses who courageously challenged the Derby Bank this past weekend. And I thought I was scared of natural obstacles before…
I’m lucky enough to photograph at every major horse show in the UK and some in Europe a job that I love ! And the shows I go to are truly amazing. But I have to say that there is something truly magical about @hicksteadevents and especially the Derby. If you have never been to Hickstead I recommend you come along. The International is in a few weeks and tickets can be booked online. #eventsthroughalens #hickstead #hicksteadderby #showjumping #bank #equinephotography #horsephotography #horseshow #canon
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