‘He led Valegro and rode Uthopia’: young rider meets equestrian legends

  • Young rider Harry Edwards Brady, who lifted the inaugural Robert Oliver showman’s award at the 2022 British Show Pony Society (BSPS) summer championships, got the opportunity to meet legends of the equestrian world, equine and human, as his prize.

    Harry, 12, and his mother Emma Edward’s home-produced 122cm show hunter pony Gryngallt Page Too (Billy) were judge Claire Oliver’s choice to take the new accolade at the summer championships, in August.

    During his show, Harry rode two gallops and a walk to canter, the presented Claire with a red rose.

    “He really is a little showman – he had so much character and charisma, and rode to win,” Claire told H&H on the day. “I’m sure Robert would have been very happy with my choice.”

    Part of Harry’s prize package was a visit the yards of Claire and Olympian Carl Hester:

    Harry and 2022 HOYS winner Shanbally Legacy

    “We firstly went to Claire’s yard and she showed us the horses and the tack room, which was full of wonderful pictures of her and Robert’s many Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) winners,” said Emma. “Harry also had a ride on Claire’s 2022 HOYS-winning small hunter, Shanbally Legacy (Lego). He loved riding Lego and thought he was just like a bigger version of Billy.”

    Harry and Emma then drove to Carl’s yard, where they met Carl, Charlotte Dujardin and supergroom Alan Davies, as well as the team’s other grooms and horses:

    “Valegro had just been washed down so Harry led him round and had pictures with him,” said Emma. “Someone had just finished a lesson on Uthopia and Carl asked Harry if he’d like to have a sit on him. Of course, Harry said ‘yes please.’ Carl then asked Harry to try some moves with Uthopia. Harry has never done dressage before and he was completely amazed to ride an Olympic horse; he said he’s never felt power like it. He had a dream day and everyone was so welcoming. Harry was a bit starstruck but he had so much fun.”

    The award was introduced this year in honour of the late showman Robert Oliver, who died aged 80 in March 2021, and it will now become an annual feature at the championships. Finalists, who must be under 25 years old, were selected by members of the BSPS council who were talent-spotting competitors at shows across the country.

    “Harry was so determined to win the final at the championships,” said Emma. “There were six riders in total, and they were all incredible. It is lovely for Harry to win the first one and have his name on the cup.”

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