‘He epitomised style, showmanship and true sportsmanship’: BSPS announces new award in honour of late showman

  • The British Show Pony Society (BSPS) has announced the introduction of a new award in honour of the late showman Robert Oliver.

    During the 2022 showing season members of the BSPS council will be talent-spotting competitors at shows across the country.

    Riders, who must be under 25 years old, will be selected for their display of “flair, showmanship and presence in the ring”.

    The following categories will be assessed: show ponies, show hunter ponies, working hunter ponies, Heritage working hunter ponies, mountain and moorland ridden and intermediates.

    “Robert loved being president of the BSPS; it was a role he really valued and enjoyed,” said Robert’s wife Claire Oliver. “He would be thrilled that young riders who display real showmanship are being recognised and rewarded by this award given in his honour.”

    Paul Cook, BSPS national chairman said: “We are delighted that this award not only spots talent in show riders of the future but in doing so honours one of our greatest ever showman and producer. Robert epitomised style, tradition and showmanship with charm and manners and true sportsmanship. This is something I hope our young riders can emulate and aspire to.”

    The winning riders will have the opportunity of competing in a final at the BSPS summer championships at Arena UK, with a prize package that includes an afternoon tour of Carl Hester’s yard.

    Robert, who was known industry-wide as the ‘greatest showman’, died aged 80 in March 2021. His career spanned seven decades and he was champion in every category of horse class at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) and the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) numerous times, and his animals have stood supreme multiple times at both shows.

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