‘I knew I wanted that pony’: four-year-old stallion bought at auction becomes a HOYS winner

  • A four-year-old bought at auction last October cemented his owners’ belief in him as he was crowned National Pony Society/Baileys Horse Feeds M&M ridden Welsh section C pony of the year at the 2023 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).

    Vikki Smith rode Kyle McClements and Christopher Tait’s eye-catching stallion Blaencila Rhodri into the top spot. The triumph marked the Kyle and Christopher’s first-ever HOYS victory.

    Rhodri, who was bred by Claire Pearce-Morgan by Donys Dick Turpin out of Blaencila Ruby, has only attended a handful of shows under-saddle and he qualified for the HOYS final on his second attempt at Denbigh and Flint in August.

    Rhodri was bought from last year’s Welsh Pony and Cob Society sales. Christopher admitted that he thought the pony ‘wasn’t for him’ when he saw a photograph of him ahead of the sale:

    “But when I saw his former owner, Simon Charlesworth, walking him down to the pens from the car park I said to my partner [Kyle] ‘I want that horse’,” Christopher said. “I was determined to bring him home with us.”

    “We backed him over winter and just hacked him about for a while,” Christopher added. “We took him out as a novice at the beginning of the year and because he took to it so well and he was unbeaten in his class, we decided to try a few HOYS qualifiers.”

    Vikki took Rhodri’s reins at the back end of this year, as Kyle had already qualified another Welsh section C pony for HOYS.

    “Sometimes your own ponies have to take a back seat and we never ever expected him to come out and do this,” Christopher said. “Rhodri is the kindest stallion ever; you would not believe he’s an entire.”

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