A 12-year-old show rider from North Yorkshire has fulfilled her dream of qualifying for the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) on her home-produced working hunter pony.
Isabelle Wilmot from Skipton and her super star 13-year-old 133cm worker May Day Lad (Sparky) qualified for the coveted final at British Show Pony Society Wales summer show at the beginning if August.
“Isabelle needed a new pony at the start of 2016,” explains her mother, Liz. “Up until then she hadn’t done much jumping. Upon trying Sparky we soon realised that there was something very special about him. This is where their incredible partnership began.”
In their first season together, Sparky and Isabelle began competing in nursery stakes ranks and the following season, the duo qualified for the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) in both nursery and show hunter pony classes.
“This has already made Isabelle’s dreams come true, but this year she decided she wanted to go one step further and try and qualify and compete at HOYS,” continues Liz. “This would be her ultimate achievement and she knew she wanted to try and get her first ever ticket with Sparky.
‘Twelve months ago I collapsed at the yard and stopped breathing...’
“After qualifying and competing at the RIHS in open 133cm classes in July, we then turned our attention to the remaining HOYS qualifiers. With Sparky being a home-produced pony, Isabelle had to make time and work incredible hard with her riding instructors, Heather Airey and Samantha Chadwick throughout the summer season during the chase for a ticket.
“We couldn’t believe it when they were called in first at BSPS Wales and had qualified. She is so excited to compete at HOYS for the very first time. Sparky is a one in a million pony and truly is her best friend.”
For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday