‘She tried her heart out’: farewell to 30-year-old pony who took a host of riders to the top

  • Catherston Nutsafe, the superstar pony who won multiple medals and shone across disciplines, has died in retirement aged 30.

    “Snoopy” was bred in 1995 by Catherston Stud, by Catherston Nightsafe and out of Catherston Dauntless. As a six-year-old, she joined the Baird family in Aberdeen, where she was produced by Harriet (now Harriet Allen), her sister Tabitha and their mum Catie.

    “In the early days she was pretty sharp, and tried a lot of tricks! We did a lot of Pony Club, and in 2005 won the Urky Newton bursary for our cross-country round at the national championships,” Harriet told H&H.

    “Another big highlight was taking her to Ballindenisk that year where we were second in the British Eventing pony trial.”

    Snoopy also turned her hooves to showing, winning a working hunter final at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) in 2006, following a spur-of-the-moment decision to enter her in a qualifying class.

    “At the last minute we registered Snoopy for a class, and we won it. I didn’t know it was a qualifier, then my mum told me ‘You’ve qualified for HOYS!’” said Harriet.

    “The plan had been to do a couple more working hunters before the final but we didn’t get round to it as we were busy with eventing, so we just went to HOYS – and we won.”

    As it was Harriet’s last year on ponies, Snoopy went on to the McEwen family and became a prominent name on the pony eventing circuit. She was ridden by Tom in his final year on ponies, then by his sister Ella, then 14, who enjoyed much success in pony trials with her. Ella and Snoopy won team silver at the 2008 pony Europeans in Avenches, Switzerland, and were part of the silver medal-winning team at the 2009 Europeans at Moorsele, Belgium.

    In 2010 Snoopy was sold to the Ecroyd family for 13-year-old Sam. The pair clocked up seven wins in their first season and won team gold at the pony Europeans at Bishop Burton. Snoopy then went on to continued success with Chelsea Pearce, and later Molly Faulkner.

    “We took a long time to produce her so she understood everything, and it was amazing to watch her go on with all those riders and do what she did. She was a princess when she arrived with us, and was still a princess when she left but a bit more of a hardcore princess!” said Harriet.

    “She just tried her heart out. She had a heart of gold and did everything for you that she possibly could. She loved her job and once she understood what the question was, that was it.”

    Snoopy retired from eventing in 2016 and continued in showjumping with Molly Faulkner, before the late Kenneth Pritchard bought her for Kathleen Doyle in 2018.

    “We did HOYS and Hickstead qualifiers, JC/JA classes, and took her to Home Pony shows. She took me to the top, she was such a great pony,” Kathleen told H&H.

    “She would be quiet in the warm-up then at the gate waiting to go into the ring she’d be bouncing on the spot with excitement. She just loved it, she acted like a six-year-old.”

    Snoopy retired sound from competition in 2020 aged 26, and continued to enjoy hacking. She died in her field from natural causes on 19 May aged 30.

    “She was my best friend and we had so much fun together,” said Kathleen.

    “She meant an awful lot to our family, especially because Ken passed not long after he bought her for me, she really was so special.”

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