Sugar and Harvey

A Shetland pony has shot to fame after running wild at Calmsden Horse Trials.

Eight-year-old Sugar was taken to the event on Sunday (30 July) as a companion for Lynne Elson’s Jubilee Harvest (Harvey), who was competing in the BE90 with Emma Matthews.

Emma and Lynne were eating lunch at the lorry when Sugar managed to break free.

Emma went after the 9hh pony but she proved tricky to catch.

“I didn’t think a lot of it at first, I thought she would be a greedy guts and stop to graze, but she kept running,” Monmouthshire-based Emma told H&H.

“She was heading for the exit, so thankfully they spread the message on the loudspeaker and the gate was closed.”

9hh Sugar was bought as a companion pony

Sugar cantered through the lorry park, past the showjumping arena and into the first cross-country field.

By this time officials in 4x4s were also trying to stop the mare.

“She went through two fields of the cross-country course with everyone in hot pursuit,” said Emma.

“When she headed back towards the lorry park they managed to corral her by one of the fences and then she was as good as gold to catch, she still had her headcollar on.”

Sugar, who was bought as a travel companion three months ago, was not injured and seemed unfazed by the drama she caused.

“She wasn’t even puffing or sweating,” said Emma.

“The officials said she even jumped a couple of BE80 fences, although I didn’t see that — perhaps she has more ambition than we thought.”

Sugar at home

Emma apologised to the riders who had to wait to start their cross-country rounds due to Sugar’s escape.

“Everyone has taken it in good humour and there was no harm done,” she said.

“We’ve been told that we’re not allowed to take her to BE events until she has public liability insurance and we’ve had NFU out to sort that out.

“We also have to contact organisers from now on if we want to take her to events and they can decide on a case-by-case basis.

Four-year-old Tilly has been riding Sugar

“I completely understand. I would be mortified if she cased an accident and someone was injured and we couldn’t compensate them.”

Emma hopes Sugar can return to events soon and also plans to take her in some in-hand classes later this year.

“She’s very well bred and moves really well,” Emma added.

“There’s a local show at Chepstow racecourse where she can strut her stuff.”