After suffering from possibly one of the most enduring cases of seconditus ever witnessed during a single season, Lancashire rider Megan White’s 10-year-old Connemara Thunderbolt Fairy Robin Bambi (Robin) changed his luck by coming up to win not one but two of the UK Ponies and Horses (UKPH) classes on route to the young rider supreme at the 2021 Royal International Horse Show.
Megan, 19, and the dun gelding were initially pulled in second after the go-round in the amateur ridden final but a characteristically foot-perfect performance by the impeccable pairing saw them top the final line up, which had Connemaras taking up five of the eight spots.
“We’ve tried so hard with him and we’ve done him completely by ourselves from the beginning,” said an emotional Megan, who has produced Robin through the ranks since he was a four-year-old. “He’s had about 16 seconds in qualifiers this year so far between myself and his junior jockey, Grace Litherland; I guess he just really likes blue, and I’ll happily take a blue here.”
Following this victory, Robin returned with 16-year-old Grace to secure the large breeds class and subsequent championship in the sun-filled Longines International Arena. Grace started riding Robin last summer and kicked off their campaign in young rider classes at the start of the 2021 season.
“We were pulled top in the class and he gave me a lovely ride,” said Grace.
Robin is HOYS bound in both junior and open ridden ranks with both riders, achieving his tickets at Cheshire County and the Great Yorkshire, respectively.
“I don’t really ride him at home; as he’s so established he just lives in the field and comes out to show,” Megan added.
Reserve for the UKPH young rider supreme was Chester university student Caitlin Hamilton and her super-typy Dales Nipna Invictus. The 10-year-old is entering his third season with Caitlin, who fits shows around her degree in early childhood and her part-time job at Sarah Parker’s native showing yard. It’s a real team effort for Caitlin, her mother Kirsty Hamilton and Sarah, who teaches Caitlin and qualified for the gelding for the open ridden final.
“We bought him entire but had him cut as he wasn’t happy,” said Caitlin, who rode Invictus to fifth place in the same class here two years ago. “He’s a character at home to say the least but I wouldn’t have him any other way. He felt phenomenal all day today.”
Caitlin’s granddad has been on standby waiting at home for all the results:
“He’s looking after everything at home and he’s been constantly on the phone as he doesn’t know how to work the live stream,” said Kirsty.
The on-form Welsh section A Thistledown San-Siro triumphed in the small breed class for Lucinda Leeming.
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