Celebration over sadness as classes run to remember H&H reporter Penny Richardson

  • Classes held in memory of former H&H showjumping editor and showjumping reporter Penny Richardson at Pyecombe were a “celebration” of Penny’s life.

    Penny, who was a familiar and much-loved face at shows across the country, covering classes at all levels, died last November shortly after she was diagnosed with cancer.

    The team at Pyecombe, a venue Penny loved and whose shows she frequently reported on, ran two power and speed classes at the August championship show (5-8 August), one at 95cm and one at 1.2om.

    Pyecombe’s Caz Light told H&H: “When Penny passed, her family didn’t want flowers at the funeral, which was during Covid, they wanted something more memorable for her, and that she would have enjoyed.

    “We were talking with everyone on Facebook, and started a JustGiving page to run some classes, and some of the riders came up with the suggestions.

    “Power and speed was one of Penny’s favourite classes; she loved the height and power, and then the speed of the jump-off. And because she was as much for the amateur rider as she was for the professionals, we decided to run two, so everyone could have a go at jumping in a class to remember Penny.”

    The money raised meant a significant prize fund; Hannah Tiley, who won the 1.20m course on her own Amaryllis III, took £500, and the seventh and eighth-placed riders took £100 each. The 95cm class on the Sunday had a £120 first prize, which went to Chloe Ancill and Okehurst Diamond.

    “It went well,” Caz said. “It was quite emotional on the Saturday because Penny’s mum, sister and other family members were here, and her mum gave out the rosettes; it was sod’s law that it was pouring and we had to do the presentation in Ralph’s Bar!”

    Caz added that Penny’s family saw the roses that have been planted in Penny’s memory, at the top of the main Paris arena.

    “That’s where she used to stand, ready to nab anyone who walked past!” she said.

    “It was a jolly day; not tinged with sadness but a celebration, everyone remembering Penny in a good way.”

    Hannah, who also came second and fourth in the 95cm class, on Vicki Morton’s Mojave and Dun Over respectively, told H&H it is fun to compete in unusual classes.

    “I thought [the 1.20m class] would more suit my other horse as it was fast, and ‘Pepper’ is a bit fat!” she said. “But she managed to turn short, which is where she must have made up the time.

    “Penny interviewed me a few times and always wrote lovely things; it was nice to win a class held in memory of her.”

    The results topped off a successful show for Hannah, who also came second in the young rider grand prix on her own Capistelle JX and won the mini major on Dun Over, as well as a host of other wins and placings on her own and Vicki’s horses.

    “It’s great to do something different,” Vicki said. “We go to so many shows that are pretty much the same and it makes it good fun. Penny loved this sort of class so I think it was apt, and it’s great to have something in her memory.”

    Penny’s sister Mandy said Penny’s great-nephews Caspian, four, and two-year-old Kit Leigh enjoyed meeting some of the horses at the show, adding that the Light family was very kind and welcoming.

    “Ruby [Light], who Penny always saw as an up-and-coming star of the future, had no airs and graces about it being her family stud and grounds,” she said. “[The Lights] really looked after us and we look forward to seeing them all again when we return to bring Penny’s ashes.”

    Penny is to be laid to rest at Pyecombe, as she requested.

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