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Heading to HOYS: 24-year-old miniature horse producer gets her 23rd HOYS ticket

Charlotte Leonard might only be 24-years-old, but this season saw the miniature horse producer take her lifetime Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) miniature qualification tally to an impressive 23.

Hot from their reserve supreme title at the Royal International (RIHS) in July, Charlotte will be leading Nicky Nelson’s Karosel Alamo’s Perdita at the NEC next week.

“I first got into miniature horses in 2005 when I saw one advertised with a HOYS ticket in Horse & Hound,” said Charlotte. “That was it, I had the bug.

“I then bought a miniature horse called Spotlights Rough Diamond (Spike) who really put my name on the map.”

Spike and Charlotte won nearly every championship on the miniature horse circuit, qualifying for HOYS nine years in a row, winning and going reserve champion twice in 2012 and 2013. Sadly, in December 2014 Spike was tragically lost.

Charlotte continued: “This was such a huge blow, but I was so lucky that I had the wonderful team around me to make me carry on.

2015 saw Charlotte make her triumphant show ring comeback, taking supreme miniature horse at the RIHS and also qualifying four miniatures for HOYS — including Bubbly Boy who won and stood reserve champion.

“I have been lucky enough to produce a huge number of miniature horses over the years and in total I have qualified 23 miniature horse for HOYS.

“I normally don’t have more than five in at once as I spend so much time with them and I want to give them enough individual attention. This year I’ve only had two in as I’ve been finishing my studies at the University Of South Wales and have just graduated with a BSc Hons in adult nursing.

“Pre-HOYS prep for miniature horses is similar to that of a lead rein. Obviously it depends on each animal and there age but, I tend to make sure there weight is maintained from 10 days out. I do lots of in-hand and standing work as this is so important for first impressions. I also like to take mine to the indoor school where I add in lots of obstacles and music — just because they are small doesn’t mean that they aren’t show horses. I am lucky to have a sponsor in Saracen horse feeds and I am convinced that my miniatures wouldn’t of achieved what they have without them.

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“I have been lucky enough to win HOYS and go reserve champion three times. As I’ve just recently got engaged maybe I will no longer be a bridesmaid and the dream of going champion will come true.”

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