Tales from Hartpury: meet the pony dreams are made of

  • One of the smallest ponies competing at this week’s NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships is Newoak Truffel, who stands at just 13.1hh.

    This superstar pony has many wins to his name, particularly when it comes to Pony Club. His rider is 13-year-old Holly Clarke, and she has been having fun with ‘Joby’ for the past three years.

    “Last season we won all but one Pony Club 90cm one-day-event we entered,” says Holly. “He is a dream pony and always tries his hardest.”

    Holly did her first dressage test when she was 10 on a different pony.

    “I competed at the Pony Club Championships in the dressage to music competition and that was it — I’ve been wanting to improve ever since,” says Holly, who hails from Burton-upon-Trent and studies at Denstone College. “I don’t mind school, but I’d much rather be riding all day!”

    When Holly got Joby, who is now 16, he hadn’t done any pure dressage.

    “With my trainer, Jane Crichtley, we’ve been working hard on getting Joby to become more supple,” she explains. “He can come out different every day and you can’t make him do anything. He’s also partial to squealing in the arena if he misses his friends!”

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    Joby isn’t just a one trick pony, and on top of finishing ninth in the Baileys Horse Feeds novice freestyle silver championship, he is known as being a superstar on the hunting field.

    “I’ve taken him out a lot with the Meynell & South Staffordshire, and he’s well-known for being able to skip across wet and muddy ground as he’s so light on his feet,” says Holly, who has been working to medium level with Joby at home. “He jumps anything too, including hedges.”

    For a full report from the British Dressage Winter Championships and Area Festival final – as well as news, views and expert comment – don’t miss Thursday’s (19 April 2018) issue of Horse & Hound

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