Tilly Bamford made the most of her first time at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) by taking her first win, in the 138cm championship on Carole Bamford’s Dizzy Rascal.
With a host of top talent in the eight-strong jump-off, including defending champions Tabitha Kyle and Playboy Van De Zoetewei, and two more rides for Tabitha, Tilly and the 14-year-old mare dug deep to take the title by the best part of a second.
“It feels amazing,” said 12-year-old Tilly. “I got a bit close in a few places but she really helped me out and tried her hardest for me.
“I was a bit nervous but I think they were good nerves, and as soon as I was in the arena and everyone went quiet, I forgot the crowd was even there.”
Tilly was given Dizzy as a birthday present last year.
“I had another amazing pony who is quite old and sadly went lame,” she said. “He looks exactly like her so when she arrived, I looked out and thought it was him! Since then, she’s done the best she could for me.”
Cate Kerr and Dunbarover IV made HOYS history as they became the first combination to take the 128cm championship twice.
The 12-year-old rider and Lisa Kerr’s 10-year-old gelding gave a superb polished performance to win their second title, with national title-holders Hollie Gerken on Black Jack II second.
Cate took last year’s win at the HOYS replacement show at Aintree International Equestrian Centre, and she said although that was very special, the real thing came out on top.
“I was quite nervous but I just put that behind me and got on with it!” she said. “I knew Hollie’s pony would be really quick so I just had in my head to keep going. He can be quite strong but he was very relaxed today.”
Cate said “Yogi” is a very gentle pony, whose favourite place in the stable is by his feed bowl, and who “always has a floppy lip!”
And the last piece of advice she was given before she went into the arena? “‘Enjoy it!’” she said.
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