A top in-hand pony enjoys one last centre-line moment during the evening performance supreme at the National Pony Society (NPS) Great British In-Hand Show at Kelsall Hill EC in Cheshire
IT was a momentous day for the world of in-hand showing, as the prolific Welsh section B stallion Paddock Rio bowed out from the show ring after clinching the supreme pony/horse of the year accolade at the inaugural Great British In-Hand Show, hosted by the National Pony Society (NPS).
Owned by Lynne Wilson of the Walseker Stud, Rio – who was shown as usual by his producer Colin Tibbey – was presented with his flower sash and it was announced that he would be retiring to stud. Lynn and the rest of the Walseker team, including her sister Sheila Knight and nieces Rachel Buckley and Rebecca Knight, were there to watch.
“He’s done everything he’s needed to do,” said Rebecca. “He’s 11 now and stallions can live quite a lonely life, especially when they’re showing, so he’ll now enjoy time running out with his mares.”
Rio has appeared in-hand at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) three times.
“Rio first went to Colin when he was a yearling and he’s been home several times to cover,” Rebecca added.
“He has something you can’t teach. He’s a showman and while he’s only 12.3hh, he grows as soon as he comes into the ring and loves his job. His flare comes from the Paddock bloodlines; his sire Eyarth Rio was also a big winner.”
During the Welsh section B breeding championship, Rio’s two-year-old son Walseker Roca Roja took reserve.
“We have Rio’s other son, Walseker Colorado, too, so it’s time for the other boys to move up and take over,” Rebecca said. “It was an emotional day, but we knew it was the right time.”
Another member of the Team Tibbey yard clinched second reserve, in the form of Welsh section A Thistledown Becky Downie. The grey filly was a class winner and section reserve at both the NPS summer championships and the Great Yorkshire, and was youngstock supreme at Tudor Rose and South Yorkshire Welsh Pony and Cob Society shows.
Reserve for the supreme was David Hodge and Julian Walters’ nine-year-old Dartmoor stallion Shilstone Rocks Rain Man. The breeders also took the Shetland honours with the home-bred Sharptor Silver Skyline.
THE home-produced title was awarded to Alice Bennett leading her mother Clare Highnam’s Strinesdale Matador nine-year-old, Moluccas Sumac Serenade (Suzy). The lovely dun broodmare headed a mammoth championship and the title was a fitting end to a successful season. Suzy was bought by Clare of the Hightopps stud as a yearling.
“I’d always wanted a dun broodmare to bring some colour into the riding pony lines,” said Clare, of the mare who has bred four foals to date and was shown here with her Wycroft Apollo colt foal at foot, who also won his class.
Suzy’s 2021 tally includes home-produced riding pony breeding championships at both the NPS summer championships and Midland Counties.
“She’s had her best season to date,” added quality assurance manager Clare. “We show as a family. We all work full-time, but every hour we’re not working we’re with the ponies.”
Ian Graham’s home-bred three-year-old Exmoor filly Kebroyd Darini, by Barhill Danny out of Kebroyd Cleopatra, took the supreme owner/breeder title.
The British riding pony show pony semi-final championship went to Mandy Godden and Jennifer Newnham’s Moor Hall Peter Pan. The stallion’s show record includes riding pony championships at the Great Yorkshire, NPS summer championships, Bath and West and Bucks County.
- This exclusive report will also be available in H&H magazine, on sale Thursday 30 September
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