The top five mares for 2002 have been announced by SHB (GB), whose grading team travelled to 16 venues throughout the UK to assess 175 mares.

Forty-five of them were graded into the society’s head stud book, 75 went into the main stud book, 48 are now in the foundation stud book and only seven failed their grading.

The leading mares excelled in varying disciplines, although two were advanced eventer horses.

Miss Berry’s Rise N’ Shine II, a 17-year-old of unknown breeding, accumulated 129 BE points, while Quest X, a daughter of the Thoroughbred Turn Back The Time out ofa Fare Knight mare, had 114 BE points and £100 BSJA winnings. She is jointly owned by Lady Koelle and Mrs Sims.

David Wales’s tough mare Saraville (Kemal-Prince Hansel) represents the flat racing industry. This 15-year-old won seven races and was placed 18 times, accumulating more than £46,000 in prize-money.

From the show jumping field comes the grade A mare, Fresh Air, a 13-year-old who is believed to be by the Thoroughbred Ballinvella. A former Horse & Hound Foxhunter finalist, shecompeted at top level with her owner, Sally Newton.

The final award winner shows the value of British pony breeding. Mrs Garflorth-Bles’s 12-year-old Deepdene Marbal is by the Thoroughbred Sanbal out of a daughter of the legendary pony sire, Bubbly. A versatile performer, she was a champion working hunter pony and Pony Club eventer.