‘He touched so many people’: farewell to former games pony turned showing star

  • The Bowles family’s prolific Welsh section B Cottrell Riverdance (Ronnie) has put down aged 26 after a bout of colic.

    Cottrell Riverdance, who was known as Ronnie at home, was best known for his results as a veteran contender achieved with his rider and handler, Millie Bowles.

    Ronnie was home-produced for the duration of his career by Millie and her mother, Selina Bowles.

    “We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the showing community,” said Selina. “It’s been so comforting and it’s lovely to know that he touched so many people.”

    Ronnie was a member of the Bowles family for nine years. Prior to his showing career, Ronnie was a successful mounted games pony, but he also evented and competed in British Dressage.

    “We got him when he was 18 from a close family friend,” said Selina. “He came to us for a quieter life, but he ended up starting a career in the show ring and doing more than he’d ever done in his life.”

    Millie, who was 11 when she first sat on Ronnie, had never shown at affiliated level before she met the characterful grey gelding.

    “We took Ronnie to a showing clinic with Sarah Chapman who suggested that we try him in some veteran classes as she thought he could be exceptional,” said Selina. “We thought she was maybe just being kind, but he ended up qualifying for the veteran finals at Olympia on his first attempt.”

    Ronnie attended the London Senior Showing And Dressage Ltd (SSADL) finals three times, finished reserve in the ridden SSADL finals at the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) and was a two-time Veteran Horse Society (VHS) veteran of the year.

    “He was the first pony to win the VHS supreme twice,” said Selina, adding that Ronnie also won at Royal Windsor three times on the trot, and won the SEIB veterans’ supreme final twice in a row.

    “Ronnie was the ultimate showman,” she said. “He was a joy to watch and his partnership with Millie was something else. You couldn’t help but smile when you watched him at a show, and I think that’s what made him do so well; the joy just shone out of him. Many people have commented over the years at what a pleasure he was to watch and that’s what showing is about. Sometimes he could be over-excited but he’d make you smile and laugh, even when he was a terror.

    “Everyone who met Ronnie loved him and he has brought so many friends into our lives.”

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