‘He was the clumsiest pony I’d ever met’: Connemara finds his stride and jumps to reign over sticks

  • Up-and-coming native pony producer Vicki Casey had her own Connemara stallion Frederiksminde Volcano right on song to win over sticks and clinch the NPS/Supreme Products Supreme M&M working hunter pony accolade at the 2021 Royal International Horse Show. 

    The final reckoning was a wonderful display of the native breeds, each combination producing outstanding gallops to ensure they were in contention for the top title. But it was Vicki and her 143cm winner who stole the hearts of the judges.

    The 10-year-old, by Lissroe Hurricane, has already proved himself on the flat, winning at HOYS in 2019. This was his first major worker victory, as it was Vicki.

    Vicki, who started producing full-time last year, has owned “Barney” for five years.

    “He arrived and just never left,” said Vicki. “I was gutted as the year he won HOYS the man who sourced him from Ireland, Henry Kelly, sadly passed away so never got to see him compete there.”

    Barney started his jumping career as a six-year-old but has taken time to learn his trade.

    “He’s been a slow burner,” Vicki added. “He was the clumsiest pony I’ve ever met. While he’s very intelligent he can be backward thinking so we’ve taken our time with him. He’s got quite a long list of quirks, and his answer when he doesn’t like something is to go backwards. I actually bought him to event, but soon after he arrived he took a massive disliking to water so that plan went out of the window. I was slightly concerned about the water here, but he was no problem.”

    Vicki knew Barney had potential to make it in the worker ring when he won the open final at Equifest as a seven-year-old:

    “At this point I thought he could be a bit special,” she said. “He’s my best friend; I do everything with him.”

    Former dressage rider Vicki currently has 12 show animals at her base in York.

    “Barney has been the one to put me on the map,” she added.

    The Richardson family continued their winning streak with their 122cm debutante Elberry Suilen. The 11-year-old Welsh section A was piloted by Emma Atkins on route to standing section reserve.

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