Top Irish showjumper Bertram Allen, 23, is currently ranked number 17 in the prestigious Longines FEI rankings, but like many top riders, he began his career in Pony Club.

“My sister Grace and I had such great times with the Island Pony Club,” he said in an interview for the Irish Pony Club website. “The games were very competitive, but such great fun. We all learned so much about the importance of team work.”

Bertram’s two trusty steeds were Misty, a chestnut mare that he rode to glory aged 10 in 2005, competing for Island Pony Club in the Ireland Mounted Games, and who was still competing in Pony Club games last year – and Magic Shadow, a ‘Heinz 57 variety’ pony standing at a petite 126cms on whom young Bertram won the 128cm championships at Dublin Horse Show when he was 11 years old.

“Magic was a brilliant pony for us,” Bertram recalls. “I rode him and so did my sisters after me. He was a total sweetheart – no pony-style bucking or bad behaviour from him! He could easily pop 110cms. He did used to get a bit excited and strong at the end of a round of show jumping though, and would get to the end of the ring before I could stop him!.”

Now aged 27, Magic is still part of Bertram’s herd, living with him and Bertram’s sister April at their busy yard in Hunxe, Germany. Described by the siblings as ‘the Boss,’ little Magic has the run of the yard and is allowed to free-range – often finding his way to Bertram’s fields where he hangs out with his horse friends Izzy and Casper. He also enjoys sneaking into the empty stables cleaning out the feeders. However, Bertram says he has to be stabled regularly, ‘Or he’d get too fat!’

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Food is clearly the way to Magic’s heart. ‘Polos are his favourite treat,’ Bertram says.

Bertram clearly still adores Magic – and credits the little pony for paving the way to his great success.

“He was a great jumper, and I won a lot of stuff on him – the crowning glory being the Dublin Horse Show. Every kid in Ireland wants to win that! Magic definitely gave me the showjumping bug.”

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