“For such a small pony, he didn’t half cover some ground” — Prolific Connemara passes away aged 18

A previous Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) winner and Olympia Best of Breed has passed away aged 18 after a short illness.

The Connemara gelding Sydserff Lord Of The Dance (Dancer) was one of the most successful ridden Connemaras of his time.

Owned by Joan MacCallum, Dancer was partnered by show horse producer Kirstine Douglas and together they won at every major county show in the country. His tally includes four Royal Highland Show wins and three championships and three Great Yorkshire Show wins and three championships. He also won at the Royal Show.

The grey, who was by Cocum Camelot, stood at just under 14hh

“I had ridden ponies for Mrs MacCallum for a while and I first met Dancer when he was two,” said Kirstine. “He came directly from his breeder, Eileen Simpson, but he didn’t start his ridden career until he was five.”

The geldings destiny was cemented on his first outing where he won and took champion.

Kirstine added: “If you actually went through everything he had won you would be there for hours, he had amazing success.

In his first season, the pair qualified for HOYS. They took second at the final on two occasions and ended up winning the class in 2007. He was also Best of Breed at Olympia.

“Judges would say that they just couldnt take their eyes off him and that he just owned the ring; for such a small pony he didnt half cover some ground. He was a proper pony.

“He was always such a good boy but I do remember, on the morning of his HOYS victory, he threw me off in the warm up arena before the class; he was piaffing around and as I gave him a small smack on his neck he proceeded to put me right over his head, before going onto win the class — we still laugh about that to this day.

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“He was just the most fabulous pony and we had a great partnership.

When Dancer was retired from the ring he spent two years at Kirstines yard in Dumfries before returning to Joans yard when he spent his final days.