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Former H&H deputy news editor

Vaulting gold winning WH Bentley is half Dales pony

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It’s hard to believe but WH Bentley, the 17.2hh horse that took British vaulter Joanne Eccles to gold at the World Equestrian Games is half Dales pony.

Bentley was bred by Yorkshireman James Grant as an eventer for his son and was sold to the Eccles family in 2001.

“My son was dabbling in eventing and needed a horse but we did not have the money,” Mr Grant told H&H.

“Our Dales mare Lambton Rose had had twins that survived in the past, so we thought she’d probably be able to breed a big foal and put her to a 17hh warmblood, Arlequin des Artes.

“We named him Wormpton Henry Bentley — Wormpton is my Dales prefix and Henry Bentley was my wife’s great-grandfather.

“Bentley turned out to have more of a pony gait than a galloping one so when we saw that Wee County Vaulters [the group Joanne’s father John set up in Scotland] were looking for a horse we suggested him.

“He’s big, with a broad back and seemed ideal — as he has proved to be. But it seems amazing that he came from a 14.2hh pony!”

Originally published on horseandhound.co.uk