The South of England Spring Show is to offer one of the biggest prizes on the showing circuit to the winner of its newly-introduced Veronica White memorial supreme title.

Veronica, who died on 25 February, was an avid owner, sponsor, rider and judge as well as one of the committee of three people who originally launched the event more than 40 years ago.

Her family has contributed £2,000 to the show in her memory, with £1,500 going to the supreme champion and £500 to the reserve.

All 20 of the show’s champions or open class winners will have a shot at the title, which is being introduced for the first time in the show’s history.

“It was a last-minute decision that wasn’t made until Sunday (25 March),” said Katie Iggulden, who runs the show at South of England Showground, Ardingly, along with founder Ann Brickell and Veronica’s daughter-in-law, Sarah White.

“It’s amazing how quickly word has spread this week — it’s boosted our entries and created such a hype. I don’t think for a ridden supreme there is that kind of prize money on offer anywhere else.

”The North of England summer shows have some fantastic spoils at £1,000, but now the South has gone one better than the North!”

She added that the prize was open to all horses and ponies competing.

“M&Ms, plaited, coloured — literally every one has a chance to compete for it,” she said. “If there is a championship, it will be champion and reserve, and where there isn’t and it’s an open class — such as maxi cobs; small hunters; ladies’ hunters and RoR — it will be the winner of those classes who comes forward.”

All the rosettes and sashes for the supreme championship are being crafted in Veronica’s “trademark” lilac.

“She was very well known for being quite flamboyant, but very classy and she always dressed head to foot in various shades of lilac and purple,” Katie explained. “The brief the poor rosette makers got was that they must be in her trademark colours of gold and lilac and need to be extravagant, blingy but totally classy!”

It’s hoped that the supreme will not be a one-off event, so that Veronica’s legacy may be able to continue.

“If it’s a success — and depending on the generosity of her family and/or other sponsors — it would be something we’d love to do each year and possibly extend into a supreme horse and supreme pony,” Katie said. “I think it would be something the family would consider supporting again, as it’s special to Veronica’s memory, and if we could gain sponsorship of some of our other classes it would enable the show to put some funds towards the supreme.”

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The Spring Show — which has traditionally been seen as launching the calendar for the southern showing season — has always been a charity event. This year it will continue to support Happy Landings — which gives people no longer able to ride the chance to learn to drive a horse and carriage — as well as the local hospice where Veronica was cared for.

“Every penny that is not spent on show expenses is divided up to the charities,” Katie added.

While entries for the show — which takes place on 10-11 April — closed on 27 March, late entries are still being accepted with an additional late entry fee. Enter online via Equo, Horse & Hound’s online entry system.

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