‘He gets quite excited!’ Super 128cm pony’s unscheduled trip up Hickstead Derby bank

  • One super pony obviously has top ambitions when it comes to Hickstead — as he took himself to the top of the Derby bank at the Royal International Horse Show.

    Moyralla Bob and Christina Cotton had started the Pro Ponies UK BS winter 128cm championship in top form and were flying round the 1.15m track but things went awry when 12-year-old gelding Bob took a mighty leap at a big oxer near the entry.

    Christina was unshipped — and unhurt — and Bob took it upon himself to gallop round the International Arena, expertly evading capture. He then decided to emulate the likes of Shane Breen’s 2022 Derby winner Can Ya Makan and trotted happily to the top of the bank.

    As attempts to catch him continued, he eyed up the Derby descent once or twice but evidently decided better of it, and was eventually caught and returned to his rider.

    “He gets quite excited!” Christina told H&H. “He’s quite strong but he really tries, and he’s really friendly.”

    Christina said she was told to leave the ring so did not see her pony’s exploits in full, but there is no doubt this talented partnership, who have only been together about eight months, will be back in the International Arena in future.

    Picture by Peter Nixon

    The 128cm ponies are always speedy when it comes to jumping off but Nya Harriman and April Star V knocked nearly five seconds off their nearest rivals’ time to take the class.

    The first-round course had proved to be testing, as only four of the 16 starters jumped clear to contest the jump-off, and it was the tiny 16-year-old chestnut and her 11-year-old rider who triumphed, jumping clear in 38.86 seconds to take the win ahead of Dunbarover IV and Agnes Kerr.

    “I can’t believe it,” Nya said. “That felt amazing.”

    Nya has been riding Ian Harriman’s mare since September 2019, so the pair have built a great partnership, coming sixth in this class at the Royal International last year.

    “That helped me to wait a little bit, because she was quite forward, and sit and wait for the stride,” she said. “She’s normally quite fast and she looks quite strong, but she just really enjoys her job. It’s good because I’ve had her a while so I know what she likes; she can be a bit moody but she’s so good. This is a dream come true.”

    Nya is heading to the Welsh Home Pony at the David Broome Event Centre this week with April Star and her 138cm pony Astral Ruben.

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