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Heading to HOYS: young rider lands first HOYS ticket after being out of action due to operation

While it’s most young show rider’s season-long campaign to compete at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS), 13-year-old Molly Rice had only been back in the saddle for three weeks when she bagged her dream ticket to the final, aboard her Welsh section B gelding Cadlanvalley Valegro (Syd).

Owned by Molly’s mother, Gemma, Syd was bought directly from Cadlanvalley Stud last April.

“We knew he was special the moment we saw him,” says Gemma. “We decided to let him have the rest of the summer in the field before bringing him home.

“Syd had quite an interesting start to life. He was sold and exported to the Netherlands as a yearling, with a view of being used as a stallion. Unfortunately only one of his testicles descended so Cadlanvalley brought him back home to be gelded.

“We instantly fell in love with Syd’s enormous character and beautiful movement. You can see why he was named after the ‘big man’ himself. He’s the most affectionate pony, who loves being around people. He’s also a big fan of his mid-morning, morning and afternoon naps and simply refuses to get up if interrupted, even if there’s a class to get ready for of mucking out to be done.”

Despite going into the 2019 year with the intention of competing in the Royal International Horse Show young rider qualifiers, Molly and Syd’s start to the season was delayed as Molly was called to have an extra toe removed.

“After the operation she spent six weeks on crutches and wasn’t allowed to bear weight on her foot,” continues Gemma. “While Molly was out of action, Joe Watson and Rob McIvor produced Syd from their yard in Lancashire, so he was ready for the last few HOYS classes as soon as Molly was fit to ride.”

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Just three weeks after coming off her crutches, they won their golden ticket, qualifying for HOYS for the very first time on their third attempt.

“Molly has been riding since she was three years old and got her first pony when she was six. After competing at riding club level for years she has worked her way up the levels and only started riding in HOYS and RIHS classes last season. Molly will literally be living the dream when she is riding at the NEC.”

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