From Pony Club games to team Tom Jones: rider stars in The Voice

  • A former Pony Club member has been chosen to join Tom Jones’ team on The Voice.

    Eliza Gutteridge, 17, fittingly performed Wild Horses during the blind audition stage of the ITV show.

    The judges cannot see the performers during this early stage of the competition and they have their back’s to the contestant.

    If a judge likes what they hear, they can spin their chair around.

    Welsh singing legend Tom chose Eliza for his team after hearing her performance of Birdy’s single.

    Eliza was an active member of the Cumberland Farmers Hunt South branch of the Pony Club until recently — and it here she found her love of singing to an audience.

    “My first performance in public was a karaoke night at my Pony Club branch’s presentation evening,” Eliza told H&H.

    “I was about eight or nine years old and I sang Brown Eyed Girl!”

    Eliza, who is now through to the “battles” phase of the show, rode on the branch’s mounted games teams and took part in all Pony Club activities.

    After outgrowing her loaned pony, Buttons, her family bought her a Welsh Section D named Toby, who she would sing to.

    Eliza added she has very found memories of Pony Club and especially enjoyed cross-country and hacking out with friends.

    “It is similar to the feeling I get from singing — when you hit one of those high notes you feel free, like when it is just you and the horse, it is just you and the music,” she said.

    The battles phase is where each judge’s contestants are pitted against each other in order to stay in the competition. Winners will go through to the live shows.

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    “It was the most terrifying thing I have ever done,” said Eliza of her blind audition.

    She added being chosen by Tom — of whom she has a cardboard cut-out in her room — was “so exciting”.

    “It is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she said.

    The Voice is on ITV at 8pm on Saturday (3 February).

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

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