A young handler made her in-hand class debut a winning one as she scooped the supreme accolade at the North West Championship show with her Welsh section A pony.
Six-year-old Honey Ohara led out her grey gelding Gilfac Zac to perfection to be called top of the 25-stong young handler class before landing the supreme accolade.
“She was the smallest in there by a long way,” said Honey’s mum Chloe, who produces their small team of ponies from their home in Rochdale.
While she is a super keen young horsewoman, Honey’s early years have certainly not been without difficulty. At age two she was diagnosed with hypoglycaemia and has been in and out of hospital ever since.
“This means she can’t tolerate a lot of food and often has to go on a drip,” explained Chloe. “I’ve nearly lost her twice.
“Last June, she was rushed to hospital and had to have a bolt put through her skull as she has chiari 1 malformation [where the lower part of the brain pushes down into the spinal canal].”
“She is on daily medication but despite all this she is so dedicated to her ponies and she has so much enthusiasm. She does her ponies every single day unless she’s in hospital.
‘If something does happen, I know I’ve had a fulfilling life; that’s all anyone can ask for’
With Dublin Horse Show, which was meant to take place this week (15-19 July) cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic,
“When she was in hospital last summer she kept telling the nurses to hurry up and get her out as she had a Horse of the Year Show qualifier to ride in. Three days after she was out, she rode in that very class. She is just incredible.”
At North West Champs, Honey also picked up two fourth places riding her lead rein hunter pony, before netting the top in-hand title with Zac in the evening performance.
“She declared a few weeks ago that she wanted to have a go at in-hand so she’s been practising non-stop,” added Chloe. “The judge told her that she has never seen anyone run a pony out so straight. Honey now wants to compete at the Royal Welsh next.”