Working hunter stands supreme at Moreton-in-Marsh

  • A working hunter jumps the only clear round of the class before being crowned supreme, while a veteran Shetland bags his return trip to HOYS, reports Rebecca Haywood

    A WORKING hunter who was bought by the late Jon Phillips paid tribute to his former owner by clinching his first Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) ticket and heading the overall supreme championship at Moreton-in-Marsh in Gloucestershire.

    Jeubantos (Rupert) and Matteo Gallucci made it a show to remember for Jon’s wife Penny Ryder-Phillips, who was overjoyed to watch the pair jump the only clear round from the lightweight and heavyweight sections.

    “The supreme was probably the greatest surprise of my showing career,” said Penny. “I would have put money on it being one of the flat horses.”

    Jeubantos, a seven-year-old by Charisma, was found by Andrea Verdina three years ago.

    “Jon said to me, ‘I want that horse,’ and we went to see him. He had the most amazing temperament,” added Penny, who lost Jon in October last year and explained that her son Jamie does the flatwork and jumping with the horses at home.

    “Matteo was working for Andrea and has been Rupert’s competitive rider from the start. We didn’t go anywhere last year as I was worried about Covid. I was still nervous about going out at the start of this season so we haven’t chased the qualifiers and have only done the shows we love.”

    Matteo and Rupert’s last outing was at the Royal International (RIHS) in July, where they finished fifth, and since then Matteo has got married and welcomed a baby boy.

    “Before the RIHS we practised with a smaller Hickstead-style bank, ditches, dyke and I built a hedge and a bullfinch before Moreton,” added Penny. “Katie [Gilsenan] and I said we could both hear Jon and Rory looking down on us shouting unmentionable expletives.

    “I split the supreme prize money between them and gave the class prize money to Soccer Aid for Unicef as I knew that’s what Jon would have done.”

    Penstrumbly Maid Me Smile

    Libby Grota and Kath Hall’s Penstrumbly Maid Me Smile (Smiley) headed the HOYS mountain and moorland (M&M) junior championship.

    “Libby rode Smiley in one qualifier in 2019 at South of England which they won, but she’s been out in the field for at least 18 months due to Covid,” said Libby’s mother Hayley.

    The eight-year-old bay mare is home-produced by Rebecca Lamb, who brought her back into work in the summer.

    “Libby rode her the week before at the Mid Wales summer show where they stood junior champions and reserve supreme, but Moreton was their first HOYS qualifier,” said Hayley.

    Reserve in the M&M junior championship went to second-placed Drummersdale Black Diamond and Charlotte Tuck, who also picked up a winning HOYS ticket in the exceeding 143cm M&M working hunter pony qualifier riding Jamie’s Lad.

    Mandy Burchell-Small’s Rowfantina breeding was at the forefront again with wins in both the HOYS M&M lead-rein and first ridden classes.

    Jessie Barleycorn, eight, and her mother Zoe’s Rowfantina Our Vintage have been knocking on the door in the qualifiers this season. The six-year-old grey gelding was bought from Mandy last year and is produced by Oli and Jo Burchell.

    “I had my eye on him for a while,” said Zoe. “This is Jessie’s first proper year in first ridden classes so they are both novices. He’s been so straightforward and taken to the ring really well; I couldn’t have wished for a better pony to take Jessie into the ring off the lead-rein.”

    Here, the new combination of Emily Cooper and Rowfantina Hideaway Harry won a strong M&M lead-rein class to gain their ticket to Birmingham and take the M&M mini title. The seven-year-old grey gelding has recently been sold to by Becca Stone to the Carter Family.

    Shetland pony Carmilo Magician will make his return trip to HOYS for the 122cm M&M working hunter final after winning his class and the championship with rider Beatrice Shepherd.

    “I think it’s the 10th year that he’s going to HOYS,” said Beatrice, who first rode the 21-year-old in first ridden classes and won at HOYS with him in 2019.

    “I got him in 2009 and after learning to jump together he’s taken me to HOYS in the workers seven times,” Beatrice added.

    “I had planned to retire him this year, but he’s still so full of life and he loves his job too much. His breeder passed away earlier this year and I know she would have loved to see him go around HOYS one more time. He’s incredibly special and, after all these years, qualifying never gets any less emotional.”

    Kirstie Harris rode her own Carrwood Head Of State to take the hack title after clinching the small class. The six-year-old Stanley Grange Stateside gelding was bought last July when Kirstie was expecting her first baby.

    “Katie Jerram found him for me and I had him at home at the start of the season and qualified him for RIHS,” said Kirstie. “He then went up to Katie’s in July this year for the rest of the season to gain some more experience and mileage. He’s the sweetest little horse and we are all very excited for his future.”

    A maxi cob who remains unbeaten in his class this year won the overall cob title. Country Seat, an 11-year-old chestnut gelding, has won at Windsor and the RIHS this term with owner Caroline Mackness, but here he was partnered by producer Phil Shield.

    “The only reason I didn’t ride him was because I was watching my home-bred pony compete in a working hunter class at another show,” said Caroline. “Courage, as he’s known at home, has been fantastic for me this season but I owe it all to Phil as he’s made him the ride he is today.”

    The day proved monumental for Llandderfel Prince Richard, who took home his first-ever ticket to HOYS. The six-year-old Welsh section D was ridden by Dannii Thexton for owner Anne Wilson, who runs a riding school where Dannii has worked for the past 12 years.

    “Anne bought him as an unbroken four-year-old and he’s been lightly shown due to Covid,” said Dannii. “He qualified for RIHS and finished eighth in the final and also took reserve supreme in the £1,000 Plevin family M&M final at North of England. He’s only done around 10 shows this year. He also loves to jump, so hopefully we’ll do some workers classes next year, too.”

    • This exclusive report is also available to read in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 16 September

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