‘He’s really stepped into himself this year’: working hunter star gives rider a first Windsor championship

  • Working hunter pony contenders did battle on the final day of Royal Windsor Horse Show, but it was Ruby Ward and Kelly Ward’s winning 143cm Noble Ronan who were selected to take the Royal Windsor working hunter pony crown.

    Their cracking clear round was duly followed up with an eye-catching championship performance, including a storming gallop.

    “We’ve had Ronan since he was a youngster,” said top working hunter jockey Ruby, 15, who has won three Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) qualifiers with seven-year-old Ronan this year. Ronan was winter and summer novice and restricted champion at the 2021 BSPS championships, and he was also RIHS section champion at this year’s show.

    “He’s really stepped into himself this year and has come into his own,” continued Ruby, for whom this was a first Royal Windsor championship.

    Ruby’s former ride, 12-year-old mare Noble Peppermint, joined them in the championship after winning the nursery stakes class with new rider Elsie Lynch.

    “Peppermint jumped so well and Elsie is getting on really well with her,” said Ruby, who rode Peppermint to be working hunter pony champion at HOYS in 2018. “The whole course was a great, fun challenge. The atmosphere here is second to none, and Ronan was perfect. This is such a result, plus, we get a lovely trophy.”

    Ruby will now aim Ronan for the RIHS final, Burghley and HOYS qualifiers.

    William Pittendrigh jumped another clear round and took section reserve on his intermediate, Silver Lough, who had taken second in the open lightweight working hunters on the first day of Royal Windsor.

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