Victory at Equifest was particularly sweet for showing campaigner Angela Hesketh, whose season in the show ring nearly ground to a halt when her horsebox burst into flames.
Firefighters were called to Angela’s Staffordshire yard to put out the blaze in the early hours of Thursday 9 June, but the lorry was destroyed.
“The whole thing burnt to the ground in front of my eyes,” said Angela.
“It was caused by an electrical fault — we had been driving it two hours earlier but fortunately there were no people or horses inside when it caught fire.”
Angela, a business development consultant for a health and safety solutions company, had bought the lorry three months earlier and recently installed a new living area. She was also saving to have the vehicle repainted.
She was due to travel to an Northern Counties Pony Association show the following day and had packed all her tack, equipment and show gear in preparation.
“Gutted is not the word — I lost everything. Thirty years of memories, all my hand-made jackets, hats, boots, rugs, lucky tie and much more. None of the contents were covered by insurance.”
The mother-of-one was still able to take her six-year-old mare, Fielding Fairytale, who was home-bred by Angela’s mother May, to Equifest (17-21 August) in a lorry borrowed from a friend.
“The fire was devastating — I loved my lorry — but I looked forward to having a fun time at Equifest. I never dreamed of the results my wonderful mare achieved,” Angela said.
Her mare’s prize haul included six firsts, two championships and standing reserve overall part-bred champion, as well as overall supreme champion in The Showing Register section.
“She’s in her first season and totally home-produced; I work very hard to get everything and do it all myself,” Angela said.
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Her good friend, Jenna Goodwin, set up a donation page to help fund replacing the items Angela lost in the fire.
“The support was overwhelming,” Angela said. “My friend’s raised over £200, which bought me a new hat, jacket and tie-pin. Although I was very upset by the fire, I have been so touched by the support and messages.”