Kay Williams officiating at the National Young Horse, Hastings Show Grounds, Hastings, Friday, December 07 2018. Credit: KAMPIC / Sarah Lord

Level 3 FEI jumping judge Kaye Williams has been invited to a post of a lifetime, with news she will be part of the judging panel at the 2019 CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show.

A long-time supporter of equestrian who has been an official for 35 years and a successful showjumper in her younger days, Kaye is very excited about the opportunity. “I have always judged because I love it but I guess a small part of me always hoped it would lead to some overseas judging,” she says.

Kaye has previously judged in Australia and at the prestigious Spruce Meadows in Canada. “It is going to be an amazing experience, just to be at that show and to see it all.”

But she does admit it is also a little daunting. “I will definitely be doing a little prep before I go!”

That includes following up with fellow judge Andrew Pollard who she met while completing her level 3 training in Australia earlier this year and will also be judging at Royal Windsor. “It is just about talking through how they do things there – the rules are the rules wherever you go, but sometimes countries just do things a little differently.”

Kaye, a previous winner of the Chris Hodson Scholarship, is expecting the judging will all be computerized and knows it will be very formal, calling – most definitely – for a swish new outfit.

As a Level 1 RAS judge Kaye is also looking forward to watching some of the showing classes.

The high-flying invitation came through an ESNZ contact at the HPower Group who run the show. It’s a busy show with many disciplines including CDI4* dressage, CAIO4* driving and CEI2* endurance, among others, but generally attracting just the cream of the crop. The jumping is the jewel in the crown with CSI5* and CSI2* competitions. The 2018 show had six CSI5* competitions with the 1.6m Grand Prix the main class with a 300,000 Euro prize purse and attracts top riders from across the globe. The officials too are the best of the best and are mostly UK or Europe and Kaye is likely to be the only one from the Southern Hemisphere.

While Kaye is well-travelled, this will be her first trip to the United Kingdom, and joining her will be husband Chris. She will need to fund her travel and accommodation but can apply for assistance through the FEI Officials Exchange Programme.

The Royal Windsor Horse Show is the largest of its type in the UK and attracts more than 50,000 spectators over the five days. It is being held May 8-12, 2019.

  • story Diana Dobson, The Black Balloon
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