Shetland pony show revitalised for 2012

  • The show that held the first Shetland pony Grand National is to be revived after 30 years, with the help of one of its original supporters – former jockey Bob Champion.

    The Shetland Show Highland Fair ran from 1980-82 in the grounds of the charity for which it raised money – the Sue Ryder Nettlebed Hospice in Henley-on-Thames, Oxon.

    It was started by Marlene Simpson – who came up with the idea for the Shetland Grand National in her kitchen.

    Now, her daughter Sarah Buckner – with friend Charlotte Snowden – is relaunching the show, in memory of Mrs Snowden’s sister Sophie, who died in the hospice.

    Mrs Snowden (pictured competing against Sophie and Bob on Grand National winner Aldaniti) told H&H the shows had been “an amazing time of our lives”.

    “We’ve followed the exact schedule and timetable of the old show, so we hope it will be just as successful,” she said.

    A cutting from an edition of the Henley Standard at the time reports that one show attracted 5,000 people.

    Bob Champion returns to this year’s event, on Sunday, 27 May, to start the Shetland Grand National.

    Bob recovered from testicular cancer to win the 1981 Grand National on Aldaniti and has since raised millions of pounds for cancer research.

    “I am very much looking forward it,” he told H&H.

    “This photo is one of my all-time favourites. Aldaniti was a joy that day, he behaved perfectly.”

    The show will have a range of Shetland showing classes as well as fancy dress and a gymkhana.

    For more information visit www.shetlandshow.co.uk.

    This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (29 March 2012)

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