Tales from Hickstead: Former coloured pony champion returns to the Royal International as an in-hand veteran

  • LAUREN MOORE WILLIAMS’ coloured gelding Longdon Blackjack is making a return to the Royal International Horse Show for the first time since he won the coloured class there in 2017, but this time as an in-hand pony in the Senior Showing and Dressage Ltd (SSADL) classes.

    The 15-year-old was last at Hickstead in 2017 when he won the coloured pony final.

    “He was then semi-retired from the showring, which he didn’t enjoy, so we decided to bring him back and with him being a veteran this year, we thought we’d give the veterans a bash,” said Lauren. “We took him Royal Bath & West and he took the in-hand and ridden qualifiers and went champion in both classes, so it didn’t take him long to qualify.”

    Lauren, who works as a social media marketer alongside producing ponies, has owned the successful pony for seven years and has big plans for him.

    “I’ve recently started doing some dressage and a little bit of showjumping with him,” said Lauren. “We’re also training him to become a therapy horse. He’s so quiet so he’ll be perfect for it. My mum rides him the majority of the time and I also teach people to ride on him – my goddaughter who is two, will hack him out and walk off the lead around the school on him.

    “I’ve been doing some of my own training with him over the summer to desensitise him to lots of things he might experience as a therapy pony, such as children pulling his tail or having to walk into buildings such as at nursing homes and he’s taking it all in his stride. He’s such a sweet pony that other people should benefit from him too.”

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