Pony hit by car at Christmas wins showjumping hat-trick

  • A pony who was hit by a car after escaping on to a main road has won three showjumping championships this season.

    Golden Liberty — known as Ziggy — escaped from her stable last December and made her way on to the A272 in West Sussex, trying to find her fieldmates

    Julia Martin, who bought the 23-year-old mare three years ago for her 11-year-old daughter Briony to compete, said the first she knew of the accident was when she got a call from police.

    “I broke my back out hunting on Boxing Day and on 28 December there was our Pony Club Christmas show, so I asked someone to take Briony and the pony for me,” Julia explained. “Because it was dark when they got home, I told Briony to put her in a stable rather than walk her alone down to the field.

    “The stables click shut [rather than have a slide bolt] and Briony must not have quite shut the door properly. Ziggy went for a walk down the drive and across the road to the field to where her friends were but she couldn’t get in. She must have walked round the boundary of the field and ended up on the A272.”

    At about 6.15am the Irish palomino was hit by a car which was written off in the accident, and left her with her cuts and bruising to her head.

    “The police had posted a picture of her on Twitter, trying to find out who the owner was. Someone must have recognised her as I got a call at 7.45am saying they had her,” Julia said. “I told them I couldn’t do anything as I was lying in bed with a broken back, so I told them to get a vet out to check her over and got Briony and one of the girls who worked for me to go and walk her home.”

    The car driver had told police that the pony had appeared in front of him, but he had been going slowly and was able to stop quickly.

    “He must have been going slowly or she’d have been killed, as that’s a fast road,” Julia said. “I was worried there might be internal injuries but there were just grazes and some bad cuts to her face by her nostrils and above the eyes, and her left eye was swollen shut.

    “She had January off but then came back into work as luckily all the injuries were superficial.”

    Julia says she has now had kick bolts added to the stable doors for extra security.

    “Briony was mortified when it happened as she thought it was her fault and she’s definitely very careful now,” she added.

    Ziggy and Briony mainly compete at showjumping, at both affiliated level and for school and pony club teams.

    None the worse for her ordeal, the veteran mare went on to win this year’s area 11 Pony Club championships, both as an individual and as part of the Crawley and Horsham PC team.

    Briony and Ziggy were also individual and team winners at the Southdown Hunt West showjumping competition on 6 August at Hickstead and also on the winning team school (Handcross Park) of the Hurstpierpoint College National Schools and Pony Clubs jumping championships.

    “I bought her from a friend of mine and she’s definitely with us for life,” said Julia. “She’s very quiet to handle but when she jumps she’s very fast, so not everyone’s cup of tea but it does mean if she goes clear she tends to win!

    “She gets to her limit at around 1m, so my son who is 10 will probably take her over at the end of this year.”

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