She defies physics’: tiny showjumper with a ‘need for speed’ dreams of winning at Hickstead – or the Grand National

  • A tiny showjumper who “defies physics” dreams of one day winning at Hickstead – or riding in the Grand National.

    Six-year-old Ivy Thomas-Cook only came off the lead rein, and had her first solo canter, last August, but the young rider has since secured double clears in 70cm British Showjumping classes and developed a “need for speed” with her 128cm pony Whatever Trevor.

    Ivy’s father Ben, who owns the Ivy Stud in Herefordshire – named after Ivy – told H&H his daughter has been around horses since she was a baby and she quickly developed her parents’ passion. Ivy’s mother Leah teaches her, and she is also a member of the North Hereford Hunt branch of the Pony Club.

    “When Ivy came off the lead rein she started with poles on the floor and then some unaffiliated competitions, then moved on to British Showjumping club and schools competitions,” he said.

    “She’s very impressive, I almost don’t know how she does it because she’s so small – it’s like she defies physics because her legs don’t go past the saddle flaps!”

    Ben said Ivy is a “very determined” rider.

    “We have to remind her sometimes that she‘s often the youngest in the class and she might not always win – but she will always try. She’s also had some falls, but she wants to learn from it and get it right the next time,” he said.

    “All she wants to do is her best. She was recently taught by Oisin Murphy at a Pony Club rally and he was very impressed with her and gave her some good tips about bridging her reins, which was really helpful.”

    Ivy takes a keen interest in the stud and also enjoys the occasional jump on 16.3hh cremello stallion Crown’s Ace of Pearl.

    The young rider dreams of showjumping at Hickstead

    “We wouldn’t let her do it if we thought it wouldn’t go well, but we completely trust Ace. His temperature is second to none, which makes him such a good stallion,” said Ben.

    “She has also met Big Star. We were at Stallion AI Services one day and she asked ‘Is this where Big Star is?’. The staff very kindly let her meet him and give him some treats. She was absolutely delighted.”

    Ivy has high hopes for a career in both showjumping and racing, with dreams of winning at Hickstead and riding in the Grand National.

    “Ivy loves watching the racing and knows all the jockeys’ names, she especially likes Rachael Blackmore. She wants to compete in the Shetland Pony Grand National but she has to wait until she’s eight to be old enough,” he said.

    “She also likes showjumpers Holly Smith and Laura Renwick, because they ride fast! Whatever path she chooses to follow we’ll support her all the way.”

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