Tales from Hickstead: Family welcomes back lead rein pony who heads to Royal International in first ridden

  • WHEN Chloe Hylton’s 10-year-old daughter Bluebell Beechey decided she was going to qualify for the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS), nothing was going to get in her way. Her Welsh pony Crumpwell Finella now heads to Hickstead for the Pretty Polly heritage first ridden class.

    “I originally bought Ella seven years ago when my girls were tiny as a lead rein pony and we had great success in M&M lead rein in both affiliated and unaffiliated classes,” said Chloe. “She qualified for the Pretty Polly heritage lead rein at RIHS in 2017 with my eldest daughter Suzy-Boo Beechey.”

    Ella took both Chloe’s girls off the lead rein into first ridden classes before being sold in 2019 as a lead rein pony.

    “She got sold on after six months and a year later she was up for sale again,” explained Chloe. “I couldn’t bear the thought of her in another home so I went and bought her back in February 2020 just before the first lockdown.

    “When we got her home, she was not in good condition. It was heart breaking to see and I didn’t think she would ever get back in the show ring again. We spent the first lockdown nursing her back to health with good food, good grazing, gentle exercise and lots of love.”

    The family took her to a few local shows last summer and she won first ridden and small working hunter classes before being turned out for the winter.

    “We bought her back into work this spring and the plan was to have a nice relaxed season concentrating on pony club events and local shows with the aim of going to sunshine tours at the end of the season, but Bluebell had other ideas,” said Chloe.

    “We went to be BSPS Area 14 show in April and qualified for sunshine tours, but that day Bluebell watched several friends and her instructor Tahley Ahmet gain their RIHS tickets and it then became her mission to do the same.”

    The pair joined BSPS and set out on their qualifying mission, winning a Pretty Polly heritage first ridden RIHS qualifier and a Pretty Polly heritage mixed breeds RIHS qualifier.

    “Through hard work and determination, we now have two RIHS tickets,” said Chloe. “Bluebell is so excited to be competing at her first ever RIHS. I still can’t believe that we are now entered for two classes – can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

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