If there’s one sure way of making every rider feel a tad inferior, it’s watching a small child jump a fence you’d never dare to, or perform a dressage movement better than you. But we think these talented young jockeys should be celebrated, even if it is with a tinge of envy. So enjoy watching these tiny children and/or ponies, who doing some pretty impressive things…
1. The piaffing Shetland
Kathrin Rolda shared this adorable video of tiny Sophie riding equally tiny Schnuppe — “her first piaffe ‘almost’ by herself”, she says. We’re in awe.
2. The nine-year-old whizz-kid
Nine-year-old Senan Reape and his whizzy 18-year-old pony Mickybo stole spectators’ hearts at last year’s Dublin Horse Show, when they produced this dazzling round to win the prestigious 128cm championship. The pair finished a remarkable 2.5secs ahead of their closest rival.
3. The budding dressage star who rides Valegro like a pro
Ruby Hughes — daughter of top dressage riders Gareth and Rebecca — received the Christmas present of dreams back in December, when Carl Hester gave her a lesson on the one and only Valegro. And Ruby showed herself to be a serious one to watch for the future too, performing flying changes and even some piaffe.
4. The fearless eight-year-old and his equally gutsy pony
Most riders would tremble at just the thought of jumping a hedge as big as this, but not eight-year-old James Cleary. The young Irish rider and his dinky pony Little Paddy Brown cleared it in such style while out with South Westmeath Hunt that they attracted the attention of leading Irish showjumper Cian O’Connor, who praised the youngster’s bravery, balance and position.
5. The 12-year-old whose jumping style you’ll covet
We defy you not to be impressed by 12-year-old showjumper Tabitha Kyle, daughter of international eventers Mark and Tanya Kyle. Tabitha has already notched up countless wins, and it’s easy see how.
6. The 12.2hh pony who can clear 1.20m
We’re pretty impressed by 11-year-old Caspar and the 12.2hh hunting pony, Angel, who cleared a 1.20m gate pretty effortlessly to win the Old Berks junior gate jumping competition.
7. The tiny pair making waves on the hunting field
Christmas Eve 2018 was a big day for seven-year-old Paddy, as he tackled his first ever hunt jump out with the Quorn — and with great style, may we add. He also went on to jump several more over the course of the day, riding his super cute 12hh Welsh section A pony Brie. Well done Paddy!
For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday