A 13.3hh companion pony-turned-eventer has defied his size and successfully stepped up to one-star.
Australian rider Jackie Wright bought Lakevale Toyman (Tommy) as a green six-year-old.
She intended to keep him as a companion for her other horse, but soon discovered his aptitude for jumping.
“It didn’t take too long to discover his jumping talent, but I never expected he would get as far as he has,” Jackie told H&H.
5’3 Jackie started competing Tommy at 65cm, as he was “quite spooky”, before stepping up to 95cm events.
“I thought I may have reached his limit — I was quite happy with that — but then he seemed to get even bolder so I started doing some 105s on him,” said Jackie.
“It was only about six months ago that I started to really think he could go one-star.”
Jackie took Tommy cross-country schooling with her other established one-star horse and found he tackled the bigger fences with ease.
“I’d always find that Tommy felt so much bolder and jumped the one-star fences better than my other horse, so I started planning with my instructor to give it a go,” Jackie said.
“He’s an absolute machine cross-country. He’s so smart and loves his job and always seems to know where to go for a long spot and when he needs to chip in to make the distances.”
Jackie and Tommy have now completed two national one-stars and one international one-star.
At Heytesbury Horse Trials on 22 April the pair were clear in both the cross-country and the showjumping in their first CNC1* and were placed 14th.
The 13-year-old grey gelding also finished 23rd in the CIC* at Ballarat International Horse Trials (13-14 May).
“Although he always jumps brilliantly, he gets very hot in dressage so I am always working hard on getting this phase better, because if he scored a bit higher he would be very competitive,” said Jackie.
“We always move right up the scoreboard after jumping but are yet to crack the top 10 in a one-star due to our dressage, but we’ll get there.
“Going double clear in our first one-star was incredible as it was totally unexpected.”
Tommy has also been very competitive in showjumping competitions and won his first Pony Club grade 1 event (1.10m) last year.
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His small stature and impressive jumping skills have earned him lots of fans. Jackie has set up a Facebook page for Tommy and he receives lots of attention at events.
“Now he’s at one-star everyone comes over to watch him jump and there are always people asking about him,” said Jackie.
She added that he is “cheeky and playful at home”, with a greedy streak.
“He loves his food and is always looking for ways to break into the feed shed,” she said.
“He’s often galloping and playing around the paddock. He’s got a very big ego too and likes to try boss the other horses around, though not always successfully!”
Inspired by this tiny eventing star? Don’t miss our ‘mini marvels’ special in this week’s Horse & Hound magazine, out tomorrow (Thursday 1 June)