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32-year-old pony takes supreme in-hand title at Olympia

A 32-year-old gelding proved he really is the ultimate senior star as he took victory in the Senior Showing and Dressage Ltd (SSADL) supreme in-hand championship at Olympia, the London International Horse Show.

Hot Fuss, who is known as Charlie at home, and his owner/handler Laura Oughton-Auker were making their debut at the Christmas finale after just missing out on a coveted ticket last term.

Although he is 17 years older than the required age of a veteran show horse, Charlie, a New Forest-thoroughbred cross, topped the field by 10 marks.

Charlie, who was also shortlisted in the pony of the year category of the 2019 H&H Awards, has a mass of fans, in and out of the show ring.

Charlie was originally bought by Laura and her family as he had been branded as unsuitable as a riding school pony, and he continued to challenge Laura with his cheeky personality,  under saddle and when travelling.

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He made Laura’s dreams come true when he qualified for Olympia this summer.

“People ask me when he will retire and I honestly don’t know,” said Laura. “One day he just won’t want to go on the lorry and until that time comes he’ll continue to have outings. He just loves it.”

Taking reserve for the in-hand supreme was last year’s ridden victor, the Welsh section B gelding Laithehill Pasha (Buzz). His handler Phillipa Dawson-Coates — who has Buzz on loan — was also having her first taste of the Olympia spotlight.

Do you own a veteran horse or pony? Let us know what you think older equines have to offer by emailing hhletters@ti-media.com with your thoughts, plus your name, nearest town and county, for the chance to be featured in the letters page of a future issue of Horse & Hound magazine…

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