No one can deny the determination of one eight-year-old young jockey, who, on declaring to his mum that he was bowing out of lead-rein classes at the end of last year, has qualified his 122cm show hunter pony for the open ridden final at the 2018 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).
Harry Edwards-Brady hit the headlines back in 2013 when he qualified two ponies for HOYS at the mere age of three. His rides at the time were the lead-reins Moortown Divine, a Dartmoor, and Gryngallt Page Too (Billy) a show hunter pony.
“Both ponies ended up being placed which added to the amazing experience,” said Harry’s mum Emma Edwards-Brady. “Harry has qualified for HOYS every year since.
“But at the end of last year he said that he was adamant he wasn’t doing any more lead-rein classes.”
And the pint-sized rider had his sights set even higher than the intended first ridden classes.
Emma continued: “One day, I heard Harry talking about going to HOYS in October and galloping Billy down the long side. I had to stop him and remind him that he was only eight and that he still had five more years in first riddens. I also had to explain to him that as it was his first year off the lead-rein, that HOYS was probably off the cards this time as this season was a ‘practice year’ — he was having none of it.
“We went to some little shows and while he was improving all the time, he still had a long way to go to be open class ready. I was so shocked when they qualified for the Royal International and Harry was absolutely delighted. Their improvement at each show continued and I decided to enter a few HOYS qualifiers.
‘We can just imagine the sensible, older brother rolling his eyes at his sibling...’
‘And then my number was called out in first — we’d just qualified for HOYS...’
“The first qualifier of the year was at Midland Counties at one of Billy’s favourite show grounds, Arena UK. Billy and Harry produced a lovely go-round with an amazing gallop, which was followed by a super set show with another amazing extension. I hoped they would be in the placings, but when their number was called into first, we were delighted. I will never forget his little face, beaming from ear to ear. To top off the day, they landed the reserve championship, too.
“Afterwards Harry said: ‘Mummy, I told you I would qualify this year.’”
While only eight, Harry is set to compete against riders who will be aged up to 12.
“Harry is so determined and we are all very proud of him,” added Emma.
For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday