‘She’s a bit of a tomboy’: Irish rider jumps her Connemara mare to 153cm title on her first trip to NEC

  • A pure-bred roan Connemara mare was crowned the winner of the 153cm working hunter pony of the year final at the 2021 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).

    Glenmore Miss Mirah (Marley) and her rider Emily Mcpolin made the long trip from Northern Ireland to compete at the famous show for the very first time. Just the day before, Emily and Marley had stood sixth in their M&M working hunter pony of the year final, further proving the mare’s quality, scope and versatility.

    “We’ve had her a couple of years,” said Emily, of the Westside Mirah nine-year-old who is out of Citywest Heather Bell and was bred by Jean Mcclancy. “This is the first year we’ve really tried for the HOYS qualifiers, and we’ve tried so hard. We didn’t manage to get our ticket until the BSPS summer championships in August.

    “I was delighted to come sixth the day before but could never imagine she’d do this well today.”

    Emily and her family have travelled over from Ballynahinch to compete at HOYS. They were also on UK soil in July competing at the Royal International final, another show which was on Emily’s bucket list.

    “We get the boat across for shows and then my dad is very good; he drives us up and down the country,” said 20-year-old Emily, who notes that 2021 is her last year in 153cm working hunter classes. “Marley will jump the moon for you; she really goes all out and tries hard. She’s not marish at all and is actually a bit of a tomboy. She can be boisterous in the field at home.

    “This is my last year in 15hh classes so I really wanted to do well. I’ve been trying to get to HOYS for years so I was just happy to be here.”

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