The Coronavirus pandemic has prevented us from enjoying our favourite shows this year, so H&H takes a look back at its December 2019 showing reports to bring you some festive stories, memorable quotes, stand out rides and some sound advice…
Quotes that stuck…
“When she entered I thought she could be my champion. I liked her immensely and she had lovely free movement”— Royal Welsh Winter Fair supreme judge Sandy Anderson on his reserve choice, Leander Walton and Tim Barnes’ sport horse champion Cosettes Prospect.
“I feel blessed to have such an amazing pony — he really tries his heart out for me”— Emma Burrow (nee Boardman) on her 2019 LeMieux British Show Pony Society mountain and moorland (M&M) supreme ridden champion Dyffryngwy Sir Picasso who cost £600 as a foal.
“We all thought this was possibly the strongest final we have ever seen here” — Nigel Hollings, one of the four M&M Olympia supreme judges, on the quality of the 2019 line-up.
Stories we loved…
In the Senior Showing and Dressage Ltd (SSADL) finals, 32-year-old gelding Hot Fuss (Charlie) stole the hearts of the judges and captured the in-hand crown. With his owner Laura Oughton-Auker at his bridle, New Forest/thoroughbred Charlie was 17 years older than the required age of a veteran contender.
“He’s my pride and joy, but that doesn’t mean he’s everyone else’s,” said Laura.
Laura and her non-horsey family originally bought Charlie after he was branded as an unsuitable riding school pony by the centre Laura used to ride at.
At the Royal Welsh Winter Fair, the palomino colt Courtway Arctic Fox became the first Welsh part-bred champion to scoop the supreme accolade for his breeder Jocelyn Price. He was also the first foal bred by his Hereford-based breeder since the loss of her husband four years ago. He was shown by Jocelyn’s granddaughter, Gemma Morris.
“He’s the seventh generation down from my foundation mare, Criban Activity, whom my father gifted to me as a wedding present,” said Jocelyn.
Producer Philip Ward-Burton landed both pony and horse supreme accolades as well as the overall title at the British National Foal of the Year Show.
“This is my absolute favorite show of the year,” said Philip. “I’ve been going for years and I’ve always wanted to win the supreme here.”
Philip’s front-runner was the coloured colt Frontier (Edward), who also gave his breeder Stephanie Fitt her first supreme here. The riding pony Ducketts Dilemma landed the pony accolade for his owner Debbie Foster.
Tips we took home…
Also at the British National Foal of the Year fixture, Welsh section B filly Elmbridge Mayflower (Mavy) landed the amateur and home-produced title for her small-scale breeder Heidi Clarke. Heidi, who works as a self-employed cleaner, keeps nine ponies at her home with her postman husband, Roger. The pair proved that team work really does make the dream work if you’re dedicated to your craft.
“We try to do as well as we can as a small stud; Roger is my partner in crime,” said Heidi. “He was actually non-horsey when I met him. Mavy has a lot of sparkle but also has a lovely temperament for a child’s pony — she’s worth her weight in gold.”
What a month!
We wind the clock back to July 2019...
The horses we wanted in our stables…
Gemma and Melanie Stanford’s ultra-consistent Highland stallion Benbreac Of Croila (Matt Cooper) stood reserve in the M&M supreme final at Olympia. There are few titles this incredible pony has not won.
“He’s done everything — and more — that we could ever have hoped for,” said Gemma on the day. “I can’t ever thank him enough for the amazing memories, but now it’s time for the next chapter which includes him having a quieter life making some more beautiful babies.”
The Senior Showing and Dressage Ltd (SSADL) ridden supreme went to Gracie Catling aboard Helen Christie’s Silvano KR (Saman) who’s better known for his successes in the dressage arena; Saman also won the elementary at the dressage national championships in April 2019.
“He’s so chilled and takes everything in his stride,” said Gracie.
Would you like to read Horse & Hound’s independent journalism without any adverts? Join Horse & Hound Plus today and you can read all articles on completely ad-free