‘We never thought he’d be a HOYS pony’: success for former shepherding pony bought at auction

  • The lead rein show hunter pony Penllech Sid and his rider, six-year-old Florence Milczarek, are off to the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) final for the first time after winning their ticket at the British Show Pony Society (BSPS) summer championships.

    Penllech Sid, who is affectionately known as Super Sid at home, joined the family last September. He was purchased from Brecon Horse Sales and he has been home-produced ever since.

    “My husband, Jonathon, who leads Sid in the ring, saw him advertised on Brecon’s social media page,” explains Florence’s mother, Sophie Holder. “We thought he looked a nice type, and Jonathon does have an eye for a good pony. It was a bit of a gamble as although we had seen a couple of videos of him, we couldn’t really try him on the day aside from walking him up and down the pens with Florence on board.”

    Prior to his lead rein career, Sid had been used as a shepherding pony.

    “He’d been schooled to be a bit of an all-rounder type, but he’d not been ridden by a small jockey much; we definitely took a plunge in hoping he’d be suitable for Florence. And never did we think he’d be a HOYS pony,” Sophie continues.

    During the first part of the 2023 show season, the trio contested Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) classes, but they had some unfortunate luck after winning an early qualifier, as Sophie explains: “Our high was short lived as the next day we realised that Sid was required to have a valid Joint Measurement Board (JMB) measurement certificate before the qualifier; as we are novices we genuinely didn’t know this was a necessity.

    “After our disappointment we had to go out there and prove we could do it all over again. Sid got better and better as the season went on and he won a strong class later on in the year to regain his RIHS qualification. We had a great time at Hickstead, although we didn’t place.

    “We then started thinking about our HOYS campaign. This is Sid’s first year showing, so as much as we thought it would never happen, we decided that we should at least give it a go. We were pulled in top at The Showing Register’s summer show, however Sid had an uncharacteristic spook in his show and we were dropped to second.

    “By the time the BSPS championships rolled around we only had two chances left. Sid, Florence and Jonathon were just exceptional throughout the obstacles, though it was a super-strong class.

    “It’s been Florence’s dream to ride at HOYS after seeing her friends compete there. There was no better feeling than seeing her hard work pay off. They had won on a final mark of 96/100 and the judge just loved Sid. Florence is beyond excited to ride in that arena of dreams and I’m so proud as her parent to see her do it on a pony she’s made so amazing herself.”

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