Tales from the H&H Festival of Eventing: meet the 13.2hh pocket rocket with an impressive CV

  • Racing at Cheltenham, hopping Leicestershire hedges and competing at a three-day-event — while it reads like a bucket list, this is actually the CV of star 13.2hh Little Sundance.

    The pint-sized equine is contesting the 90cm class at the Horse & Hound Festival of Eventing (26-28 May), run in association with KBIS, with owner, 13-year-old Poppy Field.

    Known as “Sunny” to his friends, the pony’s arrival was a complete surprise to the owners of his dam, a riding school pony, who was not known to be in foal.

    “One morning, his then owner looked out into the field and he was there — skipping around in the August sunshine, which is how he got his name,” said Poppy’s mum, Fleur Field.

    The family bought Sunny, who they fondly refer to as a “British sports pony”, as a recently started four-year-old and he has turned his hoof to everything they have asked of him.

    Poppy took part in a Pony Club race day at Cheltenham racecourse aboard Sunny in March, finishing sixth in the novice 138cm and under division.

    Poppy, a member of the Meynell Hunt branch of the Pony Club, said the feeling of speed and galloping past the world-famous winning post was “brilliant”.

    She added cross-country is her favourite phase and is particularly looking forward to tackling Keysoe’s water complex.

    The pair compete in all Pony Club activities and are looking forward to camp this summer.

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    Poppy and Sunny made their British Eventing debut this year and finished ninth at Solihull BE80(T) in April.

    The pair jumped double clear, but picked up 4.8 time faults for going too fast, so are hoping the move up to 90cm — and a stopwatch — will help with their timing.

    The also pony hunts with both Poppy and Fleur and over the winter can be found following hounds with the Readyfield Bloodhounds as well as the Quorn and Meynell.

    “He is the boss of the yard,” added Fleur.

    “Out hunting he thinks he can keep up with the 17hh horses — and he does — he has also been known to give leads to them as well!”

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday

    The full report from the H&H Festival of Eventing in Horse & Hound will be in this week’s issue of the magazine — on sale Thursday, 7 June and follow online at www.horseandhound.co.uk

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