‘No smile, no entry!’: farewell to showing steward who will be missed by many


  • Mike Hannigan, the British Show Pony Society (BSPS) steward, whose ring policy was “no smile, no entry”, died on 12 April, aged 67.

    Mike was born on 5 December 1956, in Flint, Michigan, USA. He was from a large family, with 10 siblings. Mike came to England, aged 15.

    As the years passed, stewarding became a significant part of Mike’s life, and he particularly loved being with the children in the working hunter ring. He would calm them and fill them with confidence before their ride and would always be on hand to help out.

    He would also actively encourage smiling. This was something that Mike knew was important, not only to allay nerves before a ride, but to cultivate positivity and friendliness, something he knew was vital in life among people, not just for pony competitions.

    He put a sign on the outside of the collecting ring that read, “No smile, no entry!”

    This sums him up perfectly. Always upbeat, no matter what the situation. Supportive, caring and loving, whether to an animal, a child and most certainly to his family.

    Mike had been a stalwart steward for the likes of the National Pony Society, the BSPS and the Northern Counties Ponies Association at their various shows over many years and will be greatly missed by them for his warm smile and presence.

    He was known for his quiet authority, expertise and willingness to help out – particularly for the working hunter pony classes – which everyone knew that he much enjoyed. Not having Mike to help in the future will leave a big gap in the stewarding fraternity, and he will be missed by many members, judges, stewards and show officials alike.

    Mike is survived by his partner Jean Cartwright, his sons Steven and Gary, his grandchildren Megan and Harper, and great granddaughter Orbery, and Jean’s children Vanessa and George, and Jean’s grandchildren Benedict, Lauran, Alex and Georgie.

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