A strong field has qualified for this prestigious final, but without any previous Olympia champions among them it’s extremely open

Representatives of all 12 British native breeds have qualified to contest the NPS/Baileys Horse Feeds Mountain & Moorland ridden championship at Olympia on Thursday 20 December.

Last year’s runner up, Bill Ireland’s Dales mare Kilmannan Black Pearl, is likely to be a strong contender, but who would bet against Vean Hobajon (pictured) after a season which saw this stunning Dartmoor claim both the Ponies (UK) supreme championship and HOYS reserve.

Other representatives of this popular breed are Shilstone Rocks Snowfox and Wynhill Seamus, while two Exmoors (Cranbrook Paddocks Cragganmore and Subhainn) have qualified.

Scottish natives are in the minority this year with Trowan Cultoon Moss the sole Highland representative, while the diminutive Valley Whiskers is the only Shetland through.

New Forest ponies have one of the strongest line-ups in recent years with four qualified, including Shirley Young’s Farriers Drummers Boy and Willoway Bright and Beautiful, who will be ridden by past winner Lizzie Briant.

Debbie Boylan’s Linnel Rapier II and Sarah Prior’s Sunnybrowe Jack will carry the hopes of Fell enthusiasts.

Five Welsh Section B’s include two full-brothers, Wortley Cavalier and Wortley Wizard – a fantastic achievement for breeder Gill Simpson.

They are joined by HOYS winner Longhalves Sword Of Gold, Rotherwood Wild Snowdrop and the Sam Darlington’s Oakwood Just William. This five-year-old home-bred chestnut roan gelding has been an extremely successful to qualifyfor both HOYS and Olympis in his first season.

Oldmere Holly, best of breed (Welsh Section A) at Olympia in 1999, is joined by the on form Springbourne Crusader and Whitsand Warrior, while two section Cs and three Section Ds represent the larger Welsh breeds.

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