Top veteran horses and ponies from around the country will be attending the Olympia International Showjumping Championships in London to compete for the prestigious Veteran Horse Society’s (VHS) “Veteran of the Year” title, sponsored by Ssang Yong’s new 4×4 Rexton vehicle.

The 10 finalists, who range in age from 17 to 37, have already been crowned regional champions, ahead of hundreds of other veterans who attended the 80-plus area qualifiers.

The VHS’s national show co-ordinator Linda McLintock says: “The VHS is delighted by the standard of horses and ponies taking part this year. They are a credit to their owners and carers. It is also fantastic to see two ‘golden veterans’ competing at the final at the ages of 30 and 37 years old.”

The finalists

  • The multi-talented Blue Moon, a 37-year-old 14hh grey Connemara mare, has competed successfully in all disciplines during her career, including being a film extra for the BBC
  • A police horse until he was retired from active service aged 18, 30-year-old Hudson Bay currently enjoys competing in showing and dressage classes
  • Former polo pony and dressage horse, 23-year-old Thoroughbred mare Zanna enjoys showing, dressage and active hacking
  • A member of the BYRDS dressage team in his earlier years, Bowdel Beau Gest, 23, now enjoys competing in showing and jumping classes
  • Riding school pony turned endurance specialist, Bobby, 23, covered more than 5,000 competitive miles during his career before turning his hand to veteran showing
  • Active 22-year-old allrounder, Shah of Persia, is a 13.2hh Welsh/Arab chestnut gelding, who jumps affiliated as well as competing in dressage and cross-country competitions
  • Curtis Mill Flyer is a 21-year-old grey Welsh Cob stallion, who has gained 147 affiliated dressage points since focusing on ridden competitions at the age of 16
  • Few horses truly live up to their name but 22-year-old Bean There Done That is one that probably can having been a Grade A showjumper, intermediate eventer, medium dressage horse and supreme champion show horse during his lifetime
  • Cottrell Fanfare, 17, is a multi-talented 12.3hh part-bred Welsh gelding who enjoys competing in show jumping and cross country events as well as showing
  • Imgemisco’s Tryline was a successful ridden hunter until a nasty fall left her ability to be ridden in doubt. She has made a successful return to the show ring at the age of 15

The horses and ponies will be put through their paces in the main Olympia Arena front of VHS, BSPS and CHAPS panel judge, Rob Buckley and Olympia’s chief vet Dr Colin Roberts at around 10am on Sunday 21 December.

Linda says: “The judges will be looking for condition, performance, manners, paces and way of going as well as a special equine ‘personality’ who is clearly enjoying their veteran years.”

For more information about the VHS visit: www.veteran-horse-society.co.uk