A pony who was rescued by the RSPCA as a two-year-old has qualified for the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) pony newcomers final.
Heather Foss’s Ilston Brave Dancer and Darcy Foss came third in the newcomers masters at the British Showjumping national championships (6 to 11 August).
Heather told H&H “Buster” was part of a neglected herd taken in by the charity six years ago, and one of four bought from the charity and backed by Georgia Leader-White.
Darcy and mum Heather saw him advertised as a five-year-old.
“The picture was just of him jumping at home, over old jumps, and Darcy wasn’t sure,” Heather said.
“We’d arranged to go and see him but the night before we were due to go, I fell off in the woods and broke my leg. I got Darcy to ring up and say: ‘Please don’t sell him, we still want to come!’
“My husband ended up driving us up there in the lorry, with me lying on my back in the living. Darcy tried him and we took him home that day – and we haven’t looked back.”
Darcy started jumping British novices on Buster in 2017 but by this year, had jumped their four newcomers double clears to qualify for the second rounds.
“When she entered the second round [at Arena UK on 12 May], she’d jumped one or two Foxhunters but we’d planned on keeping him in the bronze league as he’s only little so she’d never jumped that height, even in training.
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“We were just going to see what it’s all about but she took him in and he tried his heart out and came fourth – and qualified for HOYS. He’s just a superstar.”
Darcy said she is looking forward to her first HOYS, on her “amazing” pony.
“He always tries so hard,” she added.
And Heather said: “We’ll never sell him. Just to get to HOYS is amazing and whatever happens there, he’ll always be the best pony in the world.”
For the full report from the British Showjumping national championships, don’t miss next week’s H&H magazine, out 15 August.