‘She always had a twinkle in her eye’: farewell to leading rider and judge

  • The showing world has mourned the death of leading show producer, rider and esteemed judge Stella Harries, who passed away aged 85.

    Stella Harries rode and produced show animals alongside her late sister, Christine Harries. She began her career riding show ponies and her most successful rides of the 1940s included multi-garlanded Kavora Mr Chips and Kavora Dubarry, who was reserve riding pony champion at the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS).

    As a producer, she was responsible for several Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) and RIHS show pony champions, including Pollyanna, a 138cm mare out of the famous show pony Pretty Polly, who was champion at HOYS in 1963 with Aly Pattinson before she was exported to America. Arden Tittle Tattle, also a 138cm contender, took the HOYS championship two years on the bounce in 1959 and 1960 with Mary Rose Peddie in the saddle, while 138cm Shandon stood HOYS champion in both 1965 and 1969.

    Miss Harries and Christine produced animals from their base, Little Barn, which was located in Berkshire.

    Miss Harries, who was a pupil of Count Robert Orrsich was also known for her production of hacks, including the legendary Brown Buzzard, HOYS hack of the year in 1982 under Catherine Cooper, and Nobility, HOYS hack of the year in 1994 with Lisa Friswell. Ridgewood Venture lifted the hack championship at the RIHS in both 1971 and 1974.

    In later years, Miss Harries was a leading judge who officiated at all the major shows. She was also the president of the British Show Horse Association (BSHA) from 2009 to 2011.

    In their tribute to Miss Harries, the BSHA referred to her as “the most elegant of all ladies ever to ride a hack in the show ring” and as a “true ‘doyen’ of the showing world.”

    Anne Hood joined Miss Harries’ yard in 1972.

    “I’d trained with Jennie Loriston-Clarke and then went to work for Stella as head girl,” said Anne, who was based with Stella for three seasons. “She was an absolutely fantastic mentor, but she was also great fun. She was a marvellous showman, but she always had a twinkle in her eye and was up for a laugh.”

    “She was so knowledgeable and she was always happy to teach you. She had time for everyone and if anyone would approach her for help, she would be willing to provide it. She will be greatly missed.”

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