All riders yet to find their horse or pony of a lifetime dream of the day they come across that equine star who will change things forever.
Showing producer Vicki Casey reflected on her wonderfully talented Connemara Frederiksminde Volcano, a Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) and Royal International (RIHS) winner, when she chatted to showing editor Alex Robinson on episode 81 of The Horse & Hound Podcast. Vicki admitted that she gets emotional when she speaks about “Barney”, who has been the pony to transport her into the spotlight.
“Barney is my absolute world and my best friend,” says Vicki, who turned professional during lockdown in 2020, after winning the Connemara pony of the year title at HOYS with Barney in 2019. “Our first big win was at Equifest a few years ago. While it’s an unaffiliated show, it was a massive thing to be able to ride down that centre line. It gave me a boost and I realised how much I absolutely loved it.”
Before he was a ridden star, Barney came over from Ireland from Henry Kelly and Vicki had intended for him to be an event pony, but found that he had potential as a working hunter. Barney was backwards thinking at the beginning so Vicki just hacked and played around on him at home before dipping their toes into competition.
“At the time I was focusing on the dressage horses and liveries,” Vicki continues. “My best friend, Jodie White, rang me up and asked if I would take this pony on sales livery. I panicked a bit, as we’d never had a stallion on site. When Barney arrived he just ended up sticking around and I got really attached to him.”
Vicki was “distraught” when she found out Barney had been sold.
“I thought someone must have bought him from a picture, but it soon came out that Jodie and my mum had bought him for me from Henry, who is sadly no longer with us,” she continues. “Barney hasn’t been the easiest; he’s opinionated and can be stubborn at times, but I wouldn’t have him any other way. He gives me everything on the day.”
Barney’s tally also includes the 2021 RIHS mountain and moorland working hunter pony supreme and he will be heading to the London International Horse Show on Monday 20 December to contend in the British Show Pony Society supreme ridden Heritage final, alongside his stablemate, Exmoor Sweetcombe Sunmaker (Spike).
“I will be taking the ride on Barney; truthfully, I couldn’t bear to see anyone else on him,” Vicki confirms. “My good friend Liam Priestly will take the ride on Spike.”
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