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What has given this 13-year-old star such longevity in the show ring? His rider reveals what makes him so special

H&H’s showing editor Alex Robinson chatted to leading show jockey Ellis Taverner-Burns on episode 15 of The Horse & Hound Podcast. Ellis was the rider of the 2020 British Show Pony Society (BSPS) summer championship (28—30 August) supreme winner, The Politician.

Ellis, 18, was riding the 13-year-old gelding — who is known as Smithy at home — for his owner Sarah Maclean-Perriment. Smithy is produced by John Harvey and team and here, he was crowned supreme intermediate before going on to clinch the top title of the show, the Philip Judge overall supreme.

Ellis has ridden to victory at all major shows including Horse of the Year Show and the Royal International, but this was her first BSPS supreme championship.

Competitors at the three-day fixture held at Arena UK were treated to lashings of rainfall for the majority of the show, however this did not dampen spirits or the quality the competition.

“Thank god it was mainly dry on the Sunday so we were all good for the supreme,” says Ellis. “We stayed dry and didn’t have to change clothes or anything!”

Smithy has won several accolade in the show ring himself, including as a small hunter. He topped this class at the Royal International last year with Ellis’ sister, Greer, in the saddle.

“Sarah bought him in July last year and asked me to take the intermediate ride; she will contend small hunters with him,” adds Ellis. “We’ve only been together for about three weeks.”

When asked what she believes makes Smithy such a consistent show animal, Ellis believes it boils down to a combination of features.

“He’s such a well known horse,” she says. “He has no wear and tear on him which is why he gets such high conformation marks. He also just takes you around the ring showing himself off. He loves his job. He took me round like nothing is new.

“His gallop always wins it for him; when he pulls it out the judges are just wowed by him. Next year John will pick and choose which shows have good judges for him and hopefully we can get our qualifications.”

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Smithy, supreme intermediate here last year for previous owner Hannah Green, is also destined for small hunter classes with his new owner next term.

If you’d like to hear more from Ellis, listen to the podcast here or search “The Horse & Hound Podcast” in your favourite podcast app. Don’t miss the full report from the BSPS summer championships in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (10 Sept).

Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade to access our H&H Plus online service which brings you breaking news as it happens as well as other benefits.

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