While we were thrilled with the feature wins for the likes of Henrik von Eckermann and Robert Walker at Royal Windsor Horse Show this week, the victory that really caught our eye came from mini marvels Harley Walker, aged 10, and his utterly adorable partner A Pint Sized Pumpkin.
On Thursday (9 May) the pair were in action in The Queen’s “back garden” and, despite the fact they were far the smallest of the 12 competitors in the class, they came away with a fantastic win in the driving for the disabled competition.
As observed by the commentator, who announced, “I think this young man is rather pleased with his win!” — Harley’s smile said it all about what it means to triumph in this prestigious location.
Harley was representing the Alkham Valley Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), part of the Alkham Valley Community Project (AVCP) from near Dover, Kent. He has been learning to carriage-drive with the group since November 2017, under the tuition of RDA coaches Amanda Glasspole and Charlotte Hughes, and it was Charlotte who acted as co-driver for Harley and Pumpkin in the competition in the Copper Horse Arena on Thursday morning.
Take a look at this incredible pint-sized jockey
The young rider wowed the judge at her first show, on Shetland Super Splash
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The pair had been practising every week for the past year and Harley was said to be really looking forward to “the big show in The Queen’s garden”. The obstacle course of cones had to be completed at trot, with a change of pace regarded as disobedience.
Harley and Pumpkin produced a fantastic clear in 74 seconds — one second off the optimum time, on which the class was judged — early on in the class and held the lead throughout. Harley is said to have squealed with delight when his name was called.
“It was a great day, a fantastic result, well done to all the team,” said Jo Murrell, AVCP project manager and chairman of trustees.
Don’t miss our bumper report from Royal Windsor in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound, out Thursday 16 May.