‘He was a lovely person’: prolific show pony dies after illustrious career

A prolific show pony who won a host of titles during his fruitful ridden career has passed away aged 16.

Devon Touch Of Class, a 13.2hh gelding bred by the late Betty Skeet, died on New Year’s Eve after suffering a bout of colic.

“Touchy” was unbeaten in his three outings as a foal and was supreme in-hand champion at Ponies UK summer championships as a youngster.

“There was something special about him from those early shows,” said Mrs Skeet’s daughter, also named Betty. “He was never going to be a hunter pony or a worker, he was an out-and-out show pony.

“It was very unusual for a gelding to have such a consistent in-hand record but we could take him to most shows throughout his life without a saddle and he’d stand up. He had all the same charisma in-hand as he did under saddle. He won many in-hand championships with us.”

As a four-year-old, Touchy joined John Harvey and his team to start his ridden career, later moving on to Vanessa and Henrietta Windsor-Phillips. Piloted by Henrietta, Touchy racked up several championships.

“They had 14 wins in a row,” continued Betty. “He won overall titles at BSPS, Ponies UK and NPS championships and was placed several times at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).

“People would comment on his terrific action; he was just such an amazing mover.

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“After returning home, he continued his winning ways with Georgina Reik. They competed at HOYS together and Touchy was was also twice champion at Cherif.”

His last show ring appearance was in 2015.

“He was an all-round lovely person who was very much loved by all. When he went away to be produced he stayed exactly the same; a kind, gentlemanly pony who you could do anything with him. He touched many people and he will be greatly missed.”

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