‘She’s done it again’: ‘perfect’ mare is crowned RIHS supreme for the second time

  • For the second consecutive year, Mia Donaldson and her family’s delightful show pony mare Wilderness Early Bird took home the Supreme Products RIHS supreme pony championship and Dick Saunders trophy at the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS).

    Just a short while after they’d clinched the show pony championship for the second time, Mia and 13-year-old Birdie, also part-bred Arab champion yesterday, returned to Hickstead’s International Arena to vie for the supreme crown.

    It was evident that the pair had been here before and they knew how to impress judges Michael Maryan, Martin Clunes and Sue Bunn enough to achieve a winning score of 28, one more mark than they received last year.

    Mia’s flowing show displayed Birdie’s manners, paces and star-quality. The mare oozed charisma, while proving her suitability as a children’s riding pony by not batting an eyelid in the electric atmosphere.

    Remarkably, Birdie now stands unbeaten at the RIHS for two years on the trot.

    “I’m in shock; she’s done it again,” said Mia. “She did exactly the same last year; went champion part-bred and show pony and now supreme. After last year, I felt a bit more pressure as we were trying to get the title back.”

    Mia said she rode the same show as she has previously, adding: “Going in with a plan makes it easier, then you can nail it when you’re in there. Birdie always gives a good performance; she’s perfect. She loves her job and always wants to please, and will do anything for you.”

    Mia added that the feeling of galloping round the International Arena, sash in place, to the cheers of the crowd, was undimmed for feeling it a second time.

    “It’s an amazing feeling,” she said. “It’s so good to be in there.”

    The last pony to win the RIHS supreme pony title two years on the bounce was Dance All Night, who won in both 2012 and 2013 with sisters Lucinda and Sammi Elliott.

    Zara Brookes nearly did a RIHS supreme double for Team Walker with her show hunter pony champion Merrycorner Mister Bui. The pair finished on 26 after a lovely account, pushing them into reserve.

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