A pony bought for £200 as a companion swept the board at the British Riding Club’s (BRC) National Championships, winning three individual and two team titles.
Melanie Lustead and her 17-year-old 13.2hh Keeshen Jazmine took home three winners’ rugs, seven sashes and rosettes, £140 in NAF vouchers and a selection of trophies from the finals at Lincolnshire Showground (10-11 September).
They scored wins in their riding test arena; the 75cm style jumping; team of six dressage, and their individual arena, team and overall for prelim dressage.
“I bought her as a two-year-old from a local breeder,” Melanie told H&H.
“She was only ever meant to be a companion to my other pony, Sydney, the intention was never to ride her.”
Melanie, who works as a freelance groom, decided to break the Welsh section C in as a four-year-old.
“She is very, very naughty — she has been extremely naughty over the years — but she is talented and has turned into a bit of a superstar,” she added.
“It had been a dream of mine to win one individual title.
“Last year we qualified for the championships and I was placed in the top four in everything we did.
“To win three individual titles like that is unbelievable really — it takes a while for it to sink in that we have actually done it.”
Melanie and her “pony of a lifetime” have enjoyed a successful year, with top-four placings at the BRC novice and intermediate winter championships, Festival of the Horse and horse trials championships.
“I absolutely worship her, I really do — I worship the ground she walks on. She is not everybody’s cup of tea but I absolutely love her to bits,” added Melanie.
“She is such an ordinary little pony and yet she does these extraordinary things.”
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She said the Elstead Riding Club, of which she has been a member for “many years”, is “so supportive” and “caters for everybody at every level”.
The 44-year-old was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and had her final operation in November last year.
“Being ill has had a positive impact on my life as it has really given me that extra drive to do my absolute best in everything and live life to the full,” she said.