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Royal International supreme pony wins on eventing debut age 21

A former show ring champion has made a triumphant debut at the age of 21 in yet another new career.

The Eddis family’s prolific nursery stakes and open 133cm working hunter pony (WHP) Beat The Boss — supreme pony at the Royal International (RIHS) with Susie Eddis in 2015 — had already excelled in three other disciplines, but contested his first one-day event on 4 July at Elmwood, Oxfordshire.

He won the 75cm section in convincing style with a 29 dressage and double clear, partnered by new jockey Dorothy Mallinson, 12.

The event was run by Fran Corkhill’s Horse Events as part of the schools equestrian games series.

Dorothy’s mother Tiggy, who has Boss on loan, was understandably delighted with the unexpected win at the first time of asking.

“This has made up for Dorothy losing their last nursery stakes season together [owing to Covid],” she said. “She thought that Boss would love eventing as he adores his hacks all over Salisbury plain, near where we live. After taking him to Larkhill as soon as they opened for schooling after lockdown, and popping him straight round the BE80 course, she realised he has all the talents required for eventing.

“She begged me to squeeze him on the lorry with the others for their first weekend eventing — ‘he’s only little,’ she kept telling me!

“She kicked on for time the whole way round the cross-country as Boss is renowned for choosing his own leisurely pace, but they came home dead on the optimum time.”

Boss was originally bought at Puck Fair by a family in Ireland, who wanted a jumping pony. “But apparently, Boss had no such plans for himself and didn’t take to jumping,” said owner Polly Eddis. “Instead, he was broken to harness and used to pull Father Christmas’s sleigh in Killarney, which he loved.

“When their other pony went lame, the family decided to have another crack with Boss at the jumping and were rather more determined about it — he went on to become a successful 12.2hh JA jumping pony.

“Once they decided that he’d had enough of that, I bought him unseen on the recommendation of Shirley Moore in Belfast when he was 14. He had a very long journey from Ireland which did not go well, and he was not in great shape by the time he arrived.

“At his first nursery stakes with my daughter Susie, he pulled himself up at fence 3, but they quickly formed a great bond and went on to win the nursery stakes at the RIHS that summer.

“The following year they won the open 133cm WHP there, and went on to become only the second working hunter pony in history to be crowned supreme champion at RIHS.

“They were also on the English British Show Pony Society home international WHP team in both years, winning their section by a large margin each time. Boss repeated this feat the next year with Xanthe de Wesselow, who also had many big WHP wins with him over the next two years.

“He even appeared in an episode of ITV detective show Vera.”

Boss also competed successfully with Jemima Leavesley and Holly Ashley before becoming the third Eddis pony to go to the Mallinson family — this time for Dorothy.

“He still looks fabulous and has retained his floating movement,” added Polly. “He is the funniest, quirkiest, safest pony and is very, very much adored.”

Dorothy is now poring over the calendar, adding events wherever she can.

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“She keeps telling me that it’s like taking a Labrador, because he’s so easy,” added Tiggy. “However she does admit that he is as troublesome at picnic time as your typical Labrador!

“At the next event he will be squeezed in with her brother’s hunter, her own 14.1hh pony Medicine Man and her sister’s Nicely Dun.”

“Dorothy has a lot of ingenious ways of persuading me that she can afford to have a ‘second string’ eventing this season, which involves pocket money, a lot of laundry and a lot of volunteering for Horse Events, which is of course a way of paying back for all the super competitions they hold, especially for the schools.”

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