Tales from Hickstead: Covid-19 isolation won’t hold back Royal International-bound junior

  • DESPITE having to isolate for 10 days, 11-year-old Holly Dilks pulled it out of the bag to land a 2021 Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) qualifier for the Pretty Polly Heritage first ridden at the BSPS Heritage championships riding her pony Rookery Boomerang.

    “This is Holly’s first ever time qualifying for a major show, and it was a really special achievement as she had only come out of isolation a day before the show,” said Holly’s mother Fae Dilks. “Holly’s dad was diagnosed with Covid-19 the week before, on Holly’s 11th birthday, and we had to isolate right up until the day before the Heritage championships. We weren’t going to bother going, especially as Holly hadn’t been able to ride the pony for the whole time she was isolating, but we decided to go and have a nice weekend with our friends, and not worry about the showing.”

    Fae realised it was a big ask when Holly and Dilks parted company in the working hunter class on the first day of the qualifying show.

    “I thought I’d made a huge mistake – it was a big ask for Holly and ‘Boomy’, having not been able to practice at all,” said Fae. “However, we kept going, and went in the RI qualifying first ridden class on the Sunday morning. We didn’t hold out much hope as the class was full of HOYS ponies, but to our huge amazement and delight, they won the class and stood mini champion. It was one of the best days ever. Boomy is a pony in a million and we can’t wait to get to Royal International.”

    Holly got Boomy, a Welsh A gelding, for her eighth birthday and he has brought her off the lead-rein and introduced her to first ridden classes.

    “Now she is also doing open classes and workers on him,” said Fae. “He’s an absolute superstar.”

    You may also be interested in

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...