Road to HOYS: Sisters set to ride in four finals on three different ponies

  • Two sisters will be riding in four classes at the 2021 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) on three different ponies. More incredibly, two of their coveted qualifications were bagged in just four days during the show season.

    Their Dartmoor, Feldons Red Kite (Tonto), will take to the TopSpec ring twice at HOYS, in the first ridden with nine-year-old HOYS first-timer Evie Walker, and the open Dartmoor, Exmoor and Shetland class with 12-year-old Lilly Walker.

    The six-year-old gelding was bought by Lilly and Evie’s mother, Sam Walker, at the start of the season and he is currently based with Lauren Brill, who has produced him through the ranks. He was bought on a chance visit to Lauren’s yard.

    “We were visiting my Welsh section B pony who was based at Laurens, and as Evie didn’t have anything to ride, she asked if she wanted to try Tonto in a first ridden class,” says Sam. “On their second outing together they qualified for the Royal International (RIHS).”

    Lauren was back on board Tonto in the HOYS qualifier at the Dartmoor Breed Show, where the pair won and were also crowned supreme of show. Four days later at NPS Area 7, Evie piloted him to her first ever HOYS first ridden ticket, before standing section reserve.

    “We’re blown away at his results,” adds Sam.

    Lilly and Amilas Clicquot

    Lilly and Amilas Clicquot

    Not to be outdone by her younger sister, Lilly — who last rode at HOYS on the lead rein in 2015 — qualified her Welsh section A Amilas Clicquot, who is known at home as Perfect Colin, to win the mountain and moorland (M&M) HOYS junior small breeds qualifier at The Showing Register summer show.

    “We bought Colin from Lauren 12 months ago and had him gelded,” says Sam, who produces Colin from home alongside Lilly. “He’s the ideal all-rounder and he’s recently picked up jumping, too.”

    Lilly then stepped up to ride Anneli Daniels and Tony Fill’s Dales mare Tarbarl April Showers in the M&M junior ridden large breeds qualifier at Royal Norfolk, where they won and qualified on their third attempt, adding another pony to Lauren’s HOYS bus.

    “Lilly will be one of the youngest riders in this class,” says Sam.

    Preparation for the Walker family involves weekly visits to Lauren’s yard and lots of hacking and variety for Perfect Colin, who resides at home in Shropshire.

    “We’re set for a busy couple of days, but hopefully everyone’s on track,” Sam concludes.

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