In this week’s showing special, H&H visits producer, breeder, judge and all-round show ring legend Jerome Harforth and his team at the Stanley Grange Stud in the picturesque North Yorkshire countryside.
Founded in 1975, the Stanley Grange prefix has produced a multitude of show ring champions which have won titles at all major championship shows.
1. Jerome got his first pony aged two. On Christmas morning, Jerome was taken out to the cow byre by his uncle Arthur and on the end of a line of 11 cows was a little black pony, which had come from the local riding school.
2. His first show pony was grey 14.2hh called Pinchinthorpe Midnight. After a couple of successful seasons, the pony injured his knee so was retired from the show ring and began a dressage career. They competed at the riding club championships at Stoneleigh together. Jerome competed up to medium level in the dressage arena.
3. Jerome is a keen baker. It is customary for anyone who visits Stanley Grange to have one of Jerome’s famous scones.
4. The first pony the team qualified for the in-hand final at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) was Sally Coles’ Connemara mare Ballydonagh Misterina. She was placed third at the final (then the Lloyds final) and holds the equal record for the highest placed of her breed to date. The Stanley Grange show team has since taken dozens of ponies to the final both in-hand and under saddle, winning on several occasions.
5. The last time they won the Cuddy in-hand championship was in 2018 with Mark Buckley’s broodmare Crafton Blithe Spirit. Jerome led this grey broodmare to victory who was shown with her foal at foot.
6. Jerome last rode in the ring at Ponies UK spring show (held at Gleneagles) where he took the ride on the coloured Merrigan in the supreme. Usual jockey Simon Charlesworth was due to ride a novice. Jerome had to borrow some boots and a jacket for the occasion.
7. Stanley Grange is often dubbed the ‘groom’s academy’ on the show circuit, as several successful showing stock — including Simon Charlesworth, Ian Boylan, Lucinda Elliott, Craig Elenor and James Crockford — have began their careers there.
8. Jerome has judged all over the world at shows including Melbourne Royal, South Africa HOYS and the National Pony and Hunter show in Australia.
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9. Despite having 10 resident stallions at present — of all types and sizes — stud manager David Dixon says that eventing sire Up With The Lark rules the roost.
10. Current show horse rider Myles Cooper, 18, got his first HOYS championship with a Stanley Grange-produced pony in 2009 with the first ridden Cosford Chartreasuse. 10 years later in 2019 and Myles continues to ride for Jerome in the horse ranks.
11. David, who is the current chairman of SHB (GB), also breeds and shows dogs and was placed second at Crufts last year with a Lakeland terrier.
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