Festive stars: Vicki Casey – ‘Making an owner’s dream come true is why I do it’

  • Over this festive season, we’re getting the scoop on a few up-and-coming riders across the equestrian disciplines. These are a select few individuals you really need to keep an eye out for during 2022. Here we meet Vicki Casey…

    York-based show producer Vicki Casey has enjoyed a super successful 2021 term in the show ring, culminating her season with two exhibits in the British Show Pony Society mountain and moorland (M&M) supreme at the London International Horse Show.

    Vicki credits her mum, Clare — a first generation horsewoman — for her role in ensuring she was never without a pony growing up.

    “When Mum got married she bought her first horse and decided that I needed a pony when I was 18 months old,” Vicki explains. “She sold her car and bought me a pony out of someone’s back garden. My first pony was a typical Welsh section A, but she was amazing and did everything we needed.”

    Vicki’s riding journey never stopped and she was involved with her parent’s riding school, which they bought when she was a horsey-mad teenager.

    “We would regularly go to Melton Mowbray and York auctions and buy four or five ponies at a time,” Vicki continues. “My best friend, Jodie White, and I would back the horses and get them going before either keeping them for the riding school or selling them on; I’ve never had anything ready-made. I hadn’t even stepped foot in a show ring until Mum bought a Connemara gelding who gave me the bug. While he never won anything major, he successfully moved me from Pony Club to county level showing.”

    After learning the ropes in the show ring, Vicki moved into the eventing scene. She evented for a number of years up to intermediate level on the 14.2hh coloured Take the Mickey, and the 15.2hh Appaloosa, Dallas Stardust. She then sourced the event horse Brendonhill Giltedge (Chips), but later switched the gelding to dressage .

    “I loved dressage and represented England twice with Chips,” says Vicki, who has trained up to grand prix. “I then decided to try some SEIB Search For A Star riding horse classes with him and qualified him for Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) in 2013.”

    One of Vicki’s current stars is her Connemara stallion Frederiksminde Volcano (Barney), who came over from Ireland from Henry Kelly and gave Vicki her first major championship win at HOYS in the Connemara pony of the year final in 2019.

    “He came to the yard and never left,” says Vicki, who notes that Clare and Jodie later bought Barney for her as a surprise. “I intended him to be an event pony, but he was quite difficult when he was younger; he was gangly and was very backwards thinking, but when I sat on him I knew there was a special pony in there.

    “At HOYS (2019) all I wanted was for Barney to behave; I set myself a small, achievable goal of staying on in the ring! He pinged round and didn’t put a hair out of place, and I couldn’t believe it when he won.”

    Soon after, Vicki decided to make the switch to become a professional show producer.

    “I’ve delved into each of the disciplines and I love to show. I’ve had some great animals over the last few years and I’ve met some amazing people; showing is like one big family. I get so much joy out of bringing ponies on and selling them to new homes. I like to stay a part of their lives and follow their careers.”

    Barney, M&M working hunter supreme at the 2021 RIHS, qualified for London’s M&M supreme final alongside his stable mate, Exmoor Sweetcombe Sunmaker. Vicki had four ponies through to HOYS in five finals, including Barney, Beth Naylor’s Highland Lagalgarve Brian, Danielle Thelwell’s Fell Elmsbank MJ, and her own Highland gelding Whitefield Lord Underwood, who finished second in the junior ridden final with Polly Fisher in the saddle.

    “Making an owner’s dream come true is why I do it,” says Vicki. “When I qualified two of my rides for HOYS this year it made it all worthwhile; I was able to achieve things the owners never thought possible.”

    Vicki’s current base is a traditional yard in east York with indoor and outdoor stabling, an arena and a solarium, all set in eight acres of land.

    “I have some exciting faces ready to pop their heads up in 2022, with a nice mix of different types and breeds, to be aimed at both working hunter and flat classes. I take each season as it comes, but I’m delighted to be going into next year with a strong team.”

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