‘I’ve always been a bit of a wheeler-dealer’: Top show rider on how she created opportunities as a young jockey

  • We know her today as one of the leading native pony riders in the country, but Rebecca Penny actually hails from a non-horsey family and started her showing career on plaited ponies.

    From the very beginning of her journey in the saddle, H&H columnist “Becki” has displayed a winning mindset which has helped her garner opportunities and take leaps to ensure she’s always furthering her career.

    Becki ended her 2021 show season by standing supreme in the BSPS LeMieux supreme Heritage mountain and moorland (M&M) ridden championship aboard the Scott family’s outstanding Welsh section C Lynuck The Showman, and she’s set for an equally busy 2022 with several exciting faces waiting in the wings.

    “I actually fell into horses,” said Becki, as she chatted to H&H’s showing editor Alex Robinsons on episode 88 of the Horse & Hound podcast. “My mum, who works in fashion, used to go to meetings in Halifax every week and it transpired that the gentleman who owned a factory owned some show horses and kept them with Janet Ambler. Mum took me over to see the horses and I had a couple of lessons with Adam Kemp, before Janet persuaded Mum to buy me a pony.”

    During her childhood, Becki spent a lot of time riding show ponies at the yard of the late Bob Templeton. She started her love affair with M&M ponies when she was 15 years old after attending the Royal Lancashire Show.

    “I’ve always been a bit of a wheeler-dealer and I’ve always looked out for situations which can eventually create an opportunity,” she said. “One year while at Royal Lancs, I’d done my show pony class and one of the owners had a Dartmoor who had been naughty earlier that day. One thing led to another and I arrived home with a 12hh Dartmoor called Rossway George, who was my first native. I bought him myself with my pocket money — it was a sum in the 100s — and he went on to fund the others.”

    Becki’s commitment to furthering her showing career continued. She qualified George for the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) at the Scottish Horse Show before selling him with the ride and buying her Fell stallion Hesket Willow, who reigned in breed classes throughout his career under saddle.

    “I’d been to HOYS on plaited ponies before but George was the first one of my own I qualified,” Becki said.

    Hear more from Rebecca Penny as she talks about her new faces for 2022 and how you can prepare your novice pony for a successful term in the ring on episode 88 of The Horse & Hound Podcast – listen here or search “The Horse & Hound Podcast” in your favourite podcast app.

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