A home-producer from Blackpool is set to make her debut at the Olympia International Horse Show on her own novice Welsh section C stallion.
April Gilmartin, who works as a beautician, started riding when she was 11.
“I rode at local level until we bought a 14.2hh show pony,” explains April. “We knew nothing! We weren’t a horsey family; my mum, Kathleen, was a world champion ballroom dancer. With that in mind, my 14.2hh turned out to be rather large and catapulted me in to the intermediates classes at the age of 13.”
April had several several hacks and cobs over the years, but her first taste of natives was when she was asked to ride the Welsh section C mare Pentrefelin Bodecia.
“She introduced me to the M&M [mountain & moorland] scene,” continues April. “From then on I was addicted; I had to have my own.
“This is when I came across Gems Malt Whiskey (Malty). We bought Malty as a two-year-old from Richard Deptford after a succesful in-hand career. We have taken things slowly with him and have given him time to learn his ridden job.
“We qualified for Olympia on our first attempt at the BSPS Heritage Championships. Prior to owning Malty, the show was never really on our radar.
“We wanted to aim for the novice classes but for the experience we decided to enter the Olympia-semi final earlier in the day. Malty is the type of pony who always goes above and beyond for me providing his mind isn’t on other things — such as the girls. Everything on the day was just right and he gave me an amazing ride with a foot perfect show. We gained out ticket to see santa after standing second.
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“This is extremely special because my trainer Pat Templeton — who I have known since I was 11 — is battling cancer. Malty qualifying for Olympia is on her bucket list. We are a small team of completely home-produced amateurs and I can’t wait to ride this amazing pony around the ring at Olympia.”
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