History will be made at this year’s Dorset County Show with the first ever staging of a new show jumping competition – the Mogers Drewett Stick or Twist stakes.
The competition will run in two parts with separate start and finish lines. Show jumpers will complete the first part of course and then will have the choice of either electing to stick with their time or jump a special “joker” obstacle final fence.
Jumpers successfully tackling the fence, which will be up to 40 % higher than the other obstacles, will result in six seconds being deducted from their time taken in the first part of the competition.
But faulting at the “joker” – either if the horse refuses or knocks down a poll – will lead to six seconds being added to their time taken.
With over £1,000 prize money and a top award of £350, the competition – to be held in the main ring on Saturday afternoon – is one of the most lucrative at this year’s show. It will set the scene for Sunday’s Six Bar competition, where riders have to persuade their mounts to jump six fences of increasing size in a row.
The competition has been designed by Gillingham based show course designer and businessman Matthew Hoskins, who said he hoped the novelty of the event would bring in entries from across the country as well as attracting crowds around the ring.
Mr Hoskins, who is one of only 20 top level people in the UK designing show jumping courses, said: “There are two things people find exciting about show jumping – the speed and jumping big fences and this competition does both.
“In a way, this competition is like a game of chess. It tests the horses speed but only the brave will jump the final fence at the end of the round.”
Mr Hoskins, who last year constructed the show jumping course at the national championships at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, needed to get approval from the British Show Jumping Association as the competition has never taken place in the UK before.
Shirley Trim, Dorset County Show Show Jumping Administrator, said she hoped Stick or Twist would be as popular as last year’s Six-Bar: “The Six-Bar was incredible in the way that it attracted the crowds – they were six deep all around the ring.”
Pre-show entries for the competition close on Friday 19 August.
Early bird tickets to the show are available at https://dorsetcounty.ticketsrv.co.uk/