‘I’ve worked with so many special ponies’: top showman retires after career spanning 50 years

  • Leading showman Colin Tibbey officially retired from the show ring at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair (27-28 November) after a career spanning over 50 years.

    Colin marked his final outing as an in-hand professional in fine style, by finishing reserve Welsh section B champion handling Sandy Anderson’s yearling colt Thistledown Kingfisher.

    “It did feel a bit surreal, after showing for some 50 years,” said Colin, who runs the Lacy Stud with his family, including wife Sarah. “I decided it was time to go out while I was still able to make that choice. I still have a huge amount of enthusiasm for Welsh ponies, and I hope to carry on breeding — my first love and main passion — as well as judging.”

    Colin has reigned over the Welsh pony circuit for decades. He first joined the Welsh Pony and Cob Society in 1965 and he has since handled dozens of Royal Welsh winners and multiple section champions. He has qualified 25 times for the in-hand supreme final at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) with either Welsh section A or B ponies. He won the HOYS in-hand supreme final with Welsh section A Pinewell Bucks Fizz two years on the trot, in 2008 and 2009, and in 2016 with Welsh section B Moelgarnedd Stadross.

    He produced a host of other prolific ponies during his career, making legends out of many of them. One such pony was the late Welsh section A stallion Blackhill Picalo, a two-time HOYS finalist himself and the sire of Pinewell Bucks Fizz.

    “It’s so hard to pick the most special pony as I’ve worked with many, but if someone had a gun to my head I’d pick Picalo,” said Colin. “He was a very good friend to me and he won everything there was to win. He has also been a tremendous sire, leaving his mark on the breed as a stock-getter. He’s a legend and I’m lucky that our paths crossed.”

    Like many Welsh enthusiasts, Colin cannot doubt the occasion of the Royal Welsh, but he is equally fond of HOYS and the Royal Highland.

    “The atmosphere at HOYS is like no other, but the Highland is also a favourite of mine from an enjoyment point of view,” he said. “I feel lucky to have experienced the shows I have done, and I’m grateful for all the special moments along the way with the ponies.”

    You may also be interested to read…

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...