‘We’d show in the morning, take the plaits out and do the Pony Club games’: Top rider’s early memories of competing

  • Edward Young is now one of the best show producers in the country, but like all top competitors, he had to start somewhere. Derbyshire-based Edward has won overall championships at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) and the Royal International (RIHS) as both a rider and a producer. But where did the showing supremo begin his journey with the sport?

    “My maternal grandfather was a bit of a horse dealer so my mum was always into horses,” revealed Edward, when he spoke to H&H showing editor Alex Robinson on episode 96 of The Horse & Hound Podcast. “My father’s father was a butcher and it was always his ambition to have a bit of a smallholding. When he finally got one he bought a horse; he ended up buying one from my maternal grandfather which was how my father met my mother.”

    Edward’s parents eventually started showing Welsh ponies in-hand and when Edward and his brother came along they began attending Pony Club gymkhanas.

    “It was incredible back then and things have changed so much,” Edward continued. “There were three gymkhanas within hacking distance of my house back in the day. They used to be held every Sunday. We’d do the games, the unaffiliated jumping, the best rider and the tack and turnout. Mum then got the bug and we started showing unaffiliated before moving into affiliated level.”

    Edward was born and raised in County Durham.

    “There were lots of Dales shows back then in and around North Yorkshire. We’d go in the morning and do the showing classes, have some lunch, take the plaits out and do the Pony Club games in the afternoon. And then we’d usually stop for fish and chips on the way home. It was really good fun.

    “There were quite a lot of boys who used to show in the north east back then, too.”

    Edward and his family got increasingly involved in showing, progressing into the higher levels with their ponies. When Edward was nine years old, his mum bought him a show pony, Norwood Vampire, with the ride at HOYS.

    “The pony was supposed to be safe conveyance for an idiot child, which was very handy because my mother had an idiot child,” laughed Edward. “The pony cost £200 in 1974, around £25,000 in today’s money, which you wouldn’t pay for a pony like that today.

    “HOYS was outside on the cinders on a bit of a hill with a telegraph pole in the middle of the ring. I actually rode into said telegraph pole. The judges must have felt sorry for me; I was the youngest in there by quite a distance and I ended up third. At the time I was disappointed; my parents had sent me out to a couple of gymkhanas for practice and I’d gone champion and won little plastic cups, so when I was third at the next show I was bitterly disappointed. I obviously hadn’t worked out the difference in standard at that point!”

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