‘He has a date later today’: famous Fell stallion returns to Royal Windsor as a senior

  • One of the most successful Fell ponies of all time made a glorious debut in veteran classes as he captured the 2024 Royal Windsor in-hand senior championship, qualifying for Hickstead in the process.

    The 15-year-old stallion Townend Schubert, who was handled by his long-term leaser Ellena Thomas, proved there is nothing he cannot do.

    Under his long-term owner, H&H columnist Rebecca Penny, “Bert” was a multi-garlanded ridden pony. At the age of six, he lifted the 2015 M&M supreme championship at Olympia, and he also won at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) and the Royal International (RIHS) during his career.

    When Bert bowed out of flat classes, he forayed into the working hunter scene. Three years ago, Ellena began leasing him and the pair have appeared at all the major finals over fences. This year, Bert is unable to attend the RIHS as a working hunter due to a connection to the judge so Ellena decided to try for a senior ticket.

    “He’s old enough so we thought why not give it a go,” said Ellena, who owns the reigning London International Senior Showing and Dressage Ltd supreme in-hand champion Gwenllan Birt.

    At home, Bert has an all-round life, as Ellena explained: “He hacks regularly and he’s pampered every day. He also serves mares; he might have a date lined up for later today! Thankfully, he’s such a straightforward pony who is so easy to show.”

    Bert has performed at Windsor several times, including when he was the star of The late Queen’s Birthday Pageant in 2016 when he was partnered with then 13-year-old Kinvara Garner, who was portraying The Queen as a young girl. The duo also performed in the 2019 Pageant that was held to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria.

    “He won here under-saddle quite a few years ago, too, so he knows the ground very well,” said Rebecca.

    Reserve for the 2024 Royal Windsor in-hand senior championship was the winner of the final age category, the 26-year-old gelding Sir Loxley, handled by his owner Helen Jones.

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