‘His time to go to heaven’: farewell to tiny superstar who showed the big boys how it’s done

  • Catherston Stud has paid tribute to tiny superstar Littledale Bright Star, who has been put down aged 26.

    The 12.2hh Catherston Nightsafe stallion had been at Catherston since he was a weanling, siring about 100 progeny in the UK, US, New Zealand and Australia. He is the only pony stallion to have achieved elite status owing to the international achievements of his offspring in all three Olympic disciplines.

    “If he’d been a horse, he would have been an absolute world-beater,” Catherston stud manager Anne Dicker told H&H. “‘A horse in a pony’s outfit’ was one way he was described. He was great; cheeky, but brilliant fun and a lovely temperament – a lovely pony.”

    Anne said it was hard to find riders the right size for “Titch”, but he showjumped, including with “one of the young Whitakers” 10 years ago. He was also driven.

    “Mum [Jennie Loriston-Clarke] would harness him up, take him two miles down the road to Dene Farm, where he’d take Charlotte [Dicker] round the cross-country course [under saddle], then he’d be harnessed back up and trot home again,” Anne said. “Charlotte rode him in a few stallion shows, and did some vaulting on him, which he loved.”

    Twitch’s progeny include Catherston Bit Of Gold, who evented to two-star (now three-star) level, and Beaurepaire Frodo and Prairie Star, who jumped and evented internationally respectively.

    “When we used to take the three-year-olds down the jumping lane before the Futurity, Titch was renowned for going down afterwards and showing them how it was done,” Anne said. “He’d ping down over 4’6”, get to the end and have a roll.

    “He had a wonderful temperament and great personality, exceptional paces and an expressive jump.”

    Anne said Titch’s last achievement was teaching six-year-old Alf Corlett how to ride last year, “creating a very happy partnership”, but that he had started to show his age recently.

    “He wasn’t quite the happy person he was,” Anne said. “Mum and I firmly believe in ‘Better a day early than a day late’; we don’t believe in keeping them alive for alive’s sake, and it was his time to go to Heaven. And he’s probably having an absolute ball up there.”

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