It’s that time of year where the majority of the showing world are dragging in the horses after their winter vacations, dusting off their breeches and tentatively looking ahead to the coming season. While many mounts will be campaigning towards big wins and end of year finals, several future young stars will be preparing to make their first steps into the public eye. We take a look at 9 exciting novices to keep a look out for this season.
The four-year-old Dartmoor gelding Coppinshill Commemoration caught the eye of native pony specialist Hayley Reynolds last September who proceeded to buy the Springwater Happy Day son within four minutes of his advert going live. “Roley” was produced in-hand by Sam Morsley as a three-year-old colt, notching up various titles including the Dartmoor championship at Cheshire County. To be campaigned as a lead rein this term, he will be ridden by Hayley’s son Lewis. “He has taken to the ridden job literally like a duck to water,” expressed Hayley. “On his lead rein debut, he stood overall ridden champion and at British Show Pony Society (BSPS) Area 1B, he took both the novice and open/restricted mini championships.”
Ringwood The Specialist
Bought out of the field as an untouched three-year-old, Ringwood The Specialist, or Felix as owner Sarah Tait knows him, is currently at the yard of Essex-based producer Will Morton who will be campaigning him in heavyweight hunter classes. Sarah said: “He is really taking to the job. I went to see him eight weeks into his breaking and had a sit on him, he looked after me amazingly.” In-hand hunter champion at both of his shows last season, he will be aimed at novices this year, with sights set on the qualifiers in the future.
Laithehill Crown Prince
M&M producer Emma Boardman will be hitting the novice circuit with Jemma Atkinson’s five-year-old Welsh Section B stallion Laithehill Crown Prince. Bought by Jemma in October from Anne Bradley, who had previously purchased him as a foal from the renowned Fayre Oakes sale, he made sure his first outing with Emma was a winning one. “He has been a pleasure to do”, said Emma. “We are aiming to give him a nice educational year doing novice classes, with the aim of contending Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) qualifiers later in his career.”
Eighteen-year-old William Pittendrigh is looking forward to bringing out his home-produced intermediate working hunter Blackthorn Carrabawn. William, who is currently working towards his BHS Stage 3 exam, bought the powerful gelding in September 2016 as a four-year-old through Ollie and Rachel Finnegan, who own Leicestershire hunter hirelings and sales. “I hunted him for a full season as a five-year-old and then left him to mature at his own pace. Now I’m looking to do some novice working hunters with him,” said William. “At his first show in October, he came away with a win in the intermediate worker class. I am now focusing on getting him ready for the BSPS winter champs.”
Hywi The Enforcer
After bagging her first HOYS ticket last year, Lancashire-based Iysha Pitman has taken the reins on the six-year-old Welsh Section C stallion Hywi The Enforcer. Currently on loan, the Moorcroft The Master son was broken and lightly shown by Gem Morris last summer. “Due to unforeseen circumstances he ended up going back to his owner after only being with Gem a short while”, explained Iysha, “but his owners really wanted him to be out doing the ridden classes. He’s taken to it really well. He certainly knows how beautiful he is, but he’s been pretty easy so far and seems to enjoy learning.”
Guy and Isabella Mears’ five-year-old novice hack / large intermediate show riding type Times Square is set to make his show ring debut this term with producer Danielle Heath, also being ridden by Isabella herself in the intermediate ranks. Currently learning the ropes with Danielle, “Monkey” will be aimed at competing in the novice hacks at the Royal Windsor and the novice intermediates at the BSPS championships. “He certainly lives up to his name in character”, said Isabella. “We will very much play next season by ear and take him at his own pace, but we are very excited about him”.
Set to take the lightweight cob division by storm is Paul Mortimer’s bay gelding Freddie Kruger. To be produced by Robert and Sarah Walker, who competed the Mortimer’s cob Randalstown Rolex to a high level, the six-year-old was bought unbroken out of Ireland early last year. “We have high hopes for him and think he will be very special”, said Paul, “which is why we haven’t rushed him. We definitely think he will be worth waiting for. He will be aimed at the county show circuit this term, with sights on competing at Royal Windsor and hopefully the Royal International and HOYS.”
The five-year-old Fell pony gelding Greenholme Guardsman is to hit the M&M classes with Cumbria-based rider Anna Metcalfe in the saddle. Owned by Anna’s dad Paul in partnership with Margaret Reynard, the big moving grey has been attending clinics over the winter and is being aimed at a March debut. “He’s still in his winter woolies”, said Anna, “but he’s got a lot of flash and is very correct. He is certainly a character, but I am looking forward to seeing how he does”.
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Standing at 16.3h, the five-year-old gelding Littletree Whirlwind, or Wilbur as he is known at home, was bought by Raine Harthern as an unbroken three-year-old. Ridden by Freya Metters, he was lightly campaigned in sports horse classes last term, but is now stepping up to compete as a lightweight hunter. Raine said: “We have been told by several producers that he is going to be special. He is an affectionate, sensitive chap and was a dream to back, but we have given him plenty of time to mature. He will make his debut as a novice in early April.”
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