Final farewell to superstar showjumping pony

  • Oakhurst In The Spotlight, one of the most prolifically successful 138cm show jumping ponies of recent years, has died at the age of 20.

    The memorable appaloosa gelding first came to prominence ridden by Ella Curley, and his later partnerships included Darby Ward, Robert Murphy and Olivia Poole, with whom he won the Royal International 138cm title in 2012 and also finished runner-up at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).

    His last major victory was in 2015 when he won the national 138cm championship with Tahnia Jordan Jones.

    “You always knew if you got him to a final you wouldn’t just be taking part, he was always a contender,” said Tahnia’s mother Julie Jordan.

    “He was an amazing pony and went like a mini horse, with such great length of stride — although you could ask him to shorten to almost nothing. He wouldn’t take any prisoners though, if you weren’t spot-on he would let you know about it.”

    More recently, “Spot” was ridden by Codie McGowan, before 12-year-old Sophie Campbell took on the ride six months ago.

    The new partnership were finding their feet at pony premiers when lockdown halted play but had been making the most of the downtime to get to know each another.

    “He didn’t feel his age, that’s for sure, he was a real powerhouse of a pony,” said Sophie’s mother Lucinda. “We’d been doing lots of training and grids and fun things at home and he was fit as a flea.”

    “It was all very sudden,” she added. “He’d been fine last thing at night but the next morning we found him wobbly and we think he’d had a stroke.”

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    Lucinda, whose husband Tom is a vet at Bourton Vale, said Spot was a “cracking pony” with a lovely personality.

    “He would always yell for his breakfast and was lovely to do everything with,” she said. “He was a great character to have at home.

    “When it came to jumping he was a right old clever boy — he had a bit of cheekiness though and certainly taught you how to ride properly.”

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