Pint-sized Irish eventing superstar Portersize Just A Jiff has retired from competition “fit and well” aged 18.
The 15.1hh part-bred Connemara competed at Badminton five times, two World Equestrian Games, an Olympics, two senior European Championships and four Nations Cups during his glittering career under Camilla Speirs.
During his 12-year affiliated career, the son of Crosskeys Rebel notched up 1,106 national points as well as wins at international one-, two- and three-star level.
“Jiffy” was bought as a four-year-old from Richard and Deidre Bourns when Camilla was 15.
“Mum was looking for a pony for me, I started on horses and we decided to get a pony while I still had a couple of years left [eligible for pony classes],” Camilla told H&H.
“We went down and they pulled out about seven ponies, before they very reluctantly brought out Jiffy — we just knew straight away.”
He measured 14.2hh as a four-year-old, but a year later had put on a couple of inches.
The pair competed at the European Championships for juniors in 2006 and 2007, making the Irish young rider team at the 2008 and 2009 championships.
Their career continued its ascent and they made their four-star debut at Badminton in 2010, when they finished 14th.
“My first Badminton was incredible,” said Camilla.
“I was so young and he was so young — it was my first four-star and like entering the complete unknown, and he just blitzed around the cross-country.”
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The pair’s best Badminton result came in 2016, when they finished ninth, before going on to secure their personal best CCI4* finish with a sixth place at Pau.
Camilla and Jiffy represented Ireland at the London 2012 Olympics and were travelling reserves at Rio 2016.
“He is like my partner in crime,” said Camilla, adding she “owes him so much”.
Jiffy’s size and achievements have made him a popular horse to follow for eventing fans.
“Because he is so unconventional, people really appreciate what he has done,” added Camilla.
“On paper he shouldn’t be physically able to do what he has done — I’m lucky to have has that opportunity to ride him.
“He is the Pony Club to Olympian dream.”
Camilla said Jiffy still “looks and feels amazing” and will be spending the summer looking after youngstock at home.
He will also be taking part in the Eventing Demo Tour this week (2-4 February) as a farewell to the sport.
Camilla said she wants this to be a chance for people who have supported them throughout Jiffy’s career to meet him.
The horse will appear at every stop of the tour — Maryville Stables, Cork, on 2 February; Spruce Lodge, Wicklow on 3 February and Portmore Equestrian Centre, Antrim on 4 February.
Horse Sport Ireland chief executive Ronan Murphy thanked Bridget and Camilla for making Jiffy available for selection over the years.
“He was a rising star from day one,” said Mr Murphy. “He has left his mark in the history books of Irish eventing and we wish him all the best in his happy retirement.”
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