Tales from Hartpury: the ‘definition’ of a family pony

  • Hunting, pony rides and topping 70% at the Winter Championships — there’s not much this family pony can’t turn his hoof to.

    Arvorek Pilgrim, owned and ridden by Emma Dance, scored 70.42% to finish fourth in the preliminary silver Winter Championships.

    The 14.1hh palomino is only six years old and was bought by Emma two years ago to produce for her daughter Isabella, also six, and has turned out to be a bit of a saint.

    With the help of instructor Gemma Porter-Rawlings, Emma has been training “Quinn” to be suitable for her daughter to ride – while also enjoying competing him herself.

    “He just takes everything in his stride,” said Emma. “He is special — really special.”

    Emma hunted him with the Sandhurst Draghunt and later this weekend he is off to take part in a pleasure ride.

    “He has always been very forward thinking,” she said. “He just does everything I want. We are taking him slowly and building his core strength, while focusing on making him very rideable. He is very quiet and very easy.”

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    Quinn, who behaved impeccably in Hartpury’s atmospheric arena, was sporting a golden-bling browband to match his colouring.

    Emma added they have been teaching him to go forwards from a squeeze using the very top of her calf, to mirror where Isabella’s legs reach when she rides him.

    His preparation for the NAF Five Star Winter Championships has involved “giving pony rides”.

    “He is the real definition of a family pony,” smiled Emma.

    “He is like Valegro in that he will do anything for food. He just wants to be around you, he is very friendly.”

    For a full report from the British Dressage Winter Championships and the Area Festival final – as well as news, views and expert comment – pick up a copy of Thursday’s (20 April) Horse & Hound

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