The most consistent native pony on the circuit? HOYS championship for star Welsh and new jockey

  • First-ridden contenders dominated the line-up in the Colne and Sweet Dreams Show Confectioners mini mountain and moorland pony of the year championship at the 2023 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). Champion was the Leeming family’s home-produced Welsh section A Thistledown San-Siro (Rocky), a 12-year-old by popular sire Blackhill Picalo, who was ridden on this occasion by his first-ridden jockey Lola Carabine.

    This is the first season Lola has ridden Rocky in the show ring. Lola certainly has form at HOYS; last year she was a double winner in both show pony and M&M working hunter pony ranks.

    Rocky made the Leeming’s dreams come true in 2022, when he took home the open ridden Welsh section A title with his owner Diana Leeming’s daughter Lucinda Leeming in the saddle. Rocky will return to the TopSpec ring to contend the open ridden Welsh section A and junior ridden small breed finals with Lucinda’s younger brother, William, later in the week.

    “He’s stepped up and down the gears for my children,” explained Diana, who has owned Rocky since 2019. “He’s a true child’s pony. William will fly around the field on him and do mounted games. One minute he’s doing that, the next he’s jumping, the next he’s on a hack. He’s a once in a lifetime pony.”

    Reserve behind Lola and Thistledown San-Siro was the second placed first ridden combination, Victoria Neachell riding Siwan Ward’s Welsh section A Brynrodyn Danielle. This palomino mare, who is based with Jill Rushton, has previously been placed on the lead rein at HOYS with Victoria.

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