QUANTITY surveyor Ellena Thomas took time out of her busy work schedule to ride New Forest pony Hilltop Ned to victory at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) 2021.
She and Karyn Thomas have owned the eight-year-old stallion by Brookshill Mustang out of Hilltop Daisy for three years.
“I wasn’t expecting that at all,” said Ellena of her win. “This was his first open season as last season was pretty disrupted due to Covid, so this was both our first time at HOYS in the arena. We came here with no expectations. With it being his first year out, we just wanted him to go well, take it all in and enjoy himself.”
Ellan qualified the stallion, bred by Lucinda Lang, at Stoneleigh Horse Show.
“He’d done some in-hand showing as a youngster and then we got him, backed him and produced him on,” added Ellena. “He really hasn’t done too much. As a novice, we were careful not to overdo it with him in the showring and it’s helped to keep him fresh and keen.”
Outside of showing, and when she’s not working Ellena enjoys hacking Ned.
“I work during the day and then come back and ride the horses in the evenings,” she said. “It’s long hours but I have a good team behind me working hard at home to keep it ticking over during the day.
“It helps that he’s really laid back and very good at home – he’s 100% to deal with it,” she said. “He hasn’t bred yet, but he will do in the future. He’s going to the Heritage championships next week so fingers crossed for a Liverpool ticket – you never know!”
Runner up spot went to Vikki Smith and Lovelyhill Folklore, while third place was awarded to Doorage Olympic Boy and Amy Smith.
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